STUTTGART, Germany – Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James met with senior leaders and Airmen during a visit to U.S. Africa Command on Nov. 18.
The visit to AFRICOM was the culmination of a week-long trip that saw James make stops in Morocco, Egypt and Djibouti among other locations.
Throughout the day James met with AFRICOM senior leaders and was briefed on a variety of missions and programs. But it was a luncheon with about 30 Airmen from across the Stuttgart community that gave James the kind of opportunity she enjoys most about her job – a chance to be engaged with the men and women with whom she so proudly serves.
“It’s an honor to be here today so I can thank you for all you do in support of our military – because what you’re doing is making a difference,” said James.
Following the luncheon James met with about 150 Airmen from AFRICOM, U.S. European Command, and Special Operations Commands Europe and Africa during an “Airmen’s Call” where she addressed questions from the attendees and talked Air Force priorities.
James took time to bring the Airmen up-to-date on the accomplishments and insights she gleaned during a fruitful trip that included visits with senior leaders in Morocco, a first-ever stop at Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in Djibouti, and completion of the delivery of F-16 aircraft and an Apache gunship to Egypt, she based the rest of her discussion around her top three priorities – “taking care of people, getting the right balance for what we need today and for tomorrow, and making every budget dollar count.”
“It’s challenging when you don’t know what your budget is going to be,” said James, “but we are now fairly certain that we will soon have a two-year budget agreement… and this means stability.”
Despite the fiscal challenges James highlighted during her talk, she praised the Airmen for keeping the Air Force strong despite being the smallest it has ever been.
“We’re the smallest Air Force we’ve been since the 1990s, and the average age of our aircraft is 28 years – and still, we remain a global power.”