JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
The Air Force’s top general stressed the installation and mission support community’s role in the National Defense Strategy when he kicked off the 3rd Annual Installation and Mission Support Weapons and Tactics Conference, or I-WEPTAC, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland April 8.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein addressed more than 200 mission support group leaders and later received a preview of the four briefings I-WEPTAC teams will present at the conference outbrief April 10.
At the conclusion of the briefings based on this year’s theme of “The Installation Weapons System,” Goldfein said he was excited about the information the teams presented.
“That was spectacular,” he said. “It’s the kind of thought and innovation we need to design the Air Force of the future in alignment with the National Defense Strategy.”
Hosted by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, I-WEPTAC is the Air Force’s only installation and mission support, or I&MS, innovation forum during which teams develop solutions for current and future agile combat support challenges. The outputs are actionable recommendations that deliver agile I&MS capabilities in support of national defense and major command operational plans.
Goldfein told more than 150 members of the four I-WEPTAC mission area working groups and senior Air Force leaders in attendance he would be back next year and would bring the commanders of the major commands with him.
“I couldn’t be happier and am leaving as a believer in this process,” he said.
In his earlier opening remarks to more than 200 commanders and senior enlisted members assembled for a Mission Support Leadership Summit held in conjunction with I-WEPTAC, Goldfein said focusing on readiness and innovation keeps the Air Force more lethal and ready for the fight of the future.
“No matter which adversary or what location, in any fight, the Air Force will be central to that fight. As a land-based force, we actually don't accomplish anything until we first ‘fight the base.’ That's where you come in,” Goldfein said of protecting Air Force people and resources on the installation.
He said the National Defense Strategy Commission calls the Air Force the “halting force.”
“By virtue of the speed that we can get to the fight, geographic combatant commanders expect the Air Force to be able to arrive first to halt enemy activity so our joint and allied partners can take the attack to the enemy," he said. “That means we have to train every day back home and have our joint battle rhythms established so that when I give you the call to go forward, you have all the tools you need.”
He emphasized the commander’s role is not only in the fight itself, but in preparing Airmen.
“I know with absolute clarity that we have from right now, this moment, until that next war starts to get ready,” he said. “As commanders, you have one mirror check that is nothing short of a sacred duty: to ensure every Airman we send into harm’s way is properly organized, properly trained and properly equipped so they can get the nation’s work done.”
Goldfein said the Air Force has "complete trust" in group and squadron leaders, encouraging them to innovate and make decisions at their level.
“Don't wait for me,” he emphasized. “There are things you can get after on your own without waiting for me or the secretary of the Air Force. I'm going to keep fighting to make sure we have the resources we need, but I completely trust every one of you in this room. You know what your organization needs, what your wing commander needs and you know where to place resources. I trust you to get after the things you can get after.”
For attendees, the opportunity to hear directly from Goldfein was an encouraging way to begin I-WEPTAC week.
“It was good to hear the chief’s priorities, specifically as it relates to our warfighting capabilities and our ability to establish the air base,” said Col. Rockie Wilson, 628th Mission Support Group commander at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. “It's good to hear what the strategy is from an Air Force perspective so we know how to target our efforts going forward.”
Capt. Alex Pagano, an Ogden Air Logistics Complex logistics career broadening officer at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, presented his team’s I-WEPTAC briefing to the chief of staff on the topic of “Logistics Under Attack.”
“He’s a really incredible person to brief because he allows you to have a conversation with him,” Pagano said. “So to be able to talk about what’s on our minds with him and then get that direct feedback is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we can take back to our units and help execute the mission of the Air Force.”
For more news and information about I-WEPTAC, visit https://www.afimsc.af.mil/iweptac2019/.