Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, who became the branch’s top civilian in May, sat down with Staff Writer Barrie Barber recently for an exclusive interview on topics ranging from the size of the Air Force to what bases like Wright-Patterson need to do to avoid losing in the next round of base closures.
Here are five things that jumped out from that interview.
1. On base closings: “The Air Force and all the services will be very clear about what really matters, and what matters is the mission and those kinds of things are going to make more of a difference. Every community, or almost every community, supports the base that is near them and this community is no different.”
2. On technical glitches involving the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: “We’re going to get to the root cause of this and I’m confident that the engineers and scientists here at Wright-Patt” and others coming from around the nation will fix the problem. On the stealth fighter itself, Wilson said: “There’s nothing like it.”
3. On the shortage of fighter pilots: “There’s no single solution to this. We’ve got a task force focused on pilot retention and it’s going to be a hundred swings of the ax to chop this tree down.”
4. On her first priority: “We’re wearing out our people and our readiness has gone down, our readiness for all kinds of fights. We’ve got to restore the readiness of the force. That’s job one.”
5. On Green Dot, a program that urges airmen to intervene in dangerous interpersonal situations: “We are going to implement that and try and see if we can reduce the incidents of sexual assault.”
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