The listening tour
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The moment he enters a room, his top priority is shaking hands with any Airman he encounters.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein visited Kadena’s Airmen Nov. 4 and 5.
Goldfein spoke with Airmen throughout his base tour and at an all call he hosted. He talked with them about his priorities as the Air Force Chief of Staff.
“I’m four months into this tour as your chief, and this is what I call my listening tour,” said Goldfein. “It’s getting out and getting a chance to really listen to Airmen, see what you’re doing, get a sense of what’s on your mind, reconnect with the operational force, and what we’re doing here around the globe.”
Goldfein discussed issues concerning Airmen, such as reducing additional duties, computer-based training, revitalizing squadrons, total force size, aging aircraft, mission readiness and strengthening joint leaders and teams.
“I want to talk you through some of the key focus areas, or big rocks, as I call them, where you’ll see me focused over the next four years,” Goldfein said. “I call them big rocks because all of us together are going to have to work to lift these things across the line over the next four years.”
He said he believes the squadron level is where we succeed or fail as an Air Force. Squadrons full of Airmen freshly graduated from basic training, technical training school and First Term Airman Center are infiltrated with the culture of being an Airman.
“It’s where Airmen and families thrive; it’s where innovation occurs,” said Goldfein. “I just got a briefing today about some incredible work done right here on the flightline, in terms of innovative maintenance that’s saving us man-hours and money. It happens at the squadron level. It’s where we gain and sustain readiness and where we make the mission happen.”
The general discussed another focus area – strengthening joint leaders and teams – with the idea that no Airman should be deployed as an individual Airman, but with a team.
“Strengthening joint leaders and teams is about how we present forces to a combatant commander,” Goldfein explained. “It’s also how we look at our development as Airmen, in terms of when we get exposed to the business of joint combined arms and joint planning, and how to optimize all of the components together in a campaign.”
He expressed his vision of the future of combined arms to where our joint force is so agile an adversary is unable to counter our pace.
Kadena Airmen had the opportunity to ask the general questions and meet him after the all call was over.
“I couldn’t be prouder of what you’re doing here at Kadena,” said Goldfein. “I couldn’t be prouder of your wing leadership – I couldn’t be prouder of each and every one of you for what it is you’re contributing to this fight and this joint team. All of this leads up to one thing in my mind, and that is joint war-fighting excellence.”