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NEWS | Nov. 20, 2014

Secretary of the Air Force Visits Andersen during PACAF Engagement

By Tech. Sgt. Brok McCarthy 36th Wing Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James visited here Nov. 19-20, to meet with Airmen and gain a better understanding of the central role Andersen plays within Pacific Command as part of engagements at Pacific Air Force bases.

During her visit, members of Team Andersen briefed James on some of the unique missions found at Andersen, including the continuous bomber presence and theater security package programs, the U.S. Army's terminal high altitude area defense battery site, and the Pacific Regional Training Center.

Members of Team Andersen also had an opportunity to attend an all call where the secretary discussed her priorities and expressed her appreciation for service members.  James was impressed with the 36th Wing based on the Airmen she had met so far.

There are a lot of very fine individual contributors and a big team effort going on here at Andersen," James said. "I have just begun to skim the surface, but I can see how busy you all are and how vital your missions are, and I just want to say thank you for your selfless service."

She went on to talk about her three top priorities as the secretary of the Air Force -- taking care of people, balancing today's readiness with the modernization needs of tomorrow and making every dollar count -- as well as the fiscal environment that has created some of the challenges the Air Force is currently facing.

She also talked about the rebalance to the Pacific and the region's importance in regard to U.S. strategic policy.

One of the primary reasons emphasis is placed on the rebalance is because approximately 60 percent of the world's population lives within the region, along with five of the largest economies, seven of the largest militaries and five of the eight nuclear powers.

These conditions create opportunities for economic and political gains that can be made within the region for the U.S., but the same reasons also create some challenges for the U.S. and its Asian-Pacific partners. James said that Andersen plays an important role in maintaining stability within the Pacific.

"You are truly the front line defenders and responders in a very large, complex, important and volatile neighborhood within our world," she said. "There is lots of activity going on here right now, and even more is projected to occur in the next few years.  But for all that activity, it all comes back to people. You have a lot riding on your shoulders but I am certain you are up to the task. Just like your wing motto says, I have no doubt that you are truly 'Prepared to Prevail.

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