NEWS | Oct. 8, 2015

Air Force Secretary Visits Offutt and Provides Keynote Address at USSTRATCOM’s Birthday Ball

By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. – In her first official visit to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, the Honorable Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF), met with military members and senior leaders from USSTRATCOM and the 55th Wing, Oct. 1-2.

While here, she also conducted a joint media availability with U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander, and provided the keynote speech during the 13th annual USSTRATCOM Birthday Ball in downtown Omaha.

Speaking to reporters, Secretary James discussed a variety of issues, including the effects of the continuing resolution and a potential government shut down, the Air Force’s role in current and potential future conflicts and USSTRATCOM’s role in the nuclear, space, cyber, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) domains.

“We have to invest in all of them,” she said. “In our people, in our readiness [and] in our modernization. The future of [U.S.] Strategic Command is very much the future of the military.”

The SECAF also highlighted the need to invest in “full-spectrum readiness,” which she described as the ability to “fight in a high-end fight environment…on the ground or in the air,” should U.S. forces be called upon to do so.

Adm. Haney said he agreed with Secretary James’ statement and pointed out that USSTRATCOM works closely with the service components and other combatant commands to execute his command’s strategic deterrence mission.

“We work as one team,” he said. “The Secretary has been instrumental in ensuring the readiness of our strategic forces.”

Following the media event, Adm. Haney hosted the13th annual USSTRATCOM Birthday Ball in downtown Omaha. More than 450 military members and civilians assigned to the command and its components, as well as members of their families and community members attended the event to celebrate the establishment of the organization in its current form, which occurred in 2002.

“Over the last 13 years, U.S. Strategic Command has provided an array of global strategic capabilities to the joint forces that has made them more agile, more flexible and more effective than ever before,” Haney said in his opening remarks.

He also thanked the family members, veterans, elected officials and community leaders in the audience for their support of the command.

“Thank you all for being great teammates,” he said. “We couldn’t do our mission if it wasn’t for the wonderful support you provide.”

During the keynote speech, Secretary James said, "Americans all across our nation are able to rest and sleep soundly knowing that we are secure thanks to the efforts of the men and women of [US]STRATCOM."

She went on to describe how the Air Force and USSTRATCOM are closely tied through their mutual interest in key mission areas, specifically the space domain, calling USSTRATCOM "the tip of the spear when it comes to maintaining space situational awareness."

“[US]STRATCOM is critical to the joint world and everything we do in the military, but it is also very critical to me and our Air Force,” she said. “You are the very best that our country has to offer, I want to join Adm. Haney in saluting all of you on your birthday.”

Secretary James concluded her remarks by thanking “the men and women who have made strategic stability their life’s work - past, present and future.”

“As long as I’m privileged to hold this position, I will stand with you always,” she said. 

As the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force, James is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its nearly 664,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families.

The Air Force partners with USSTRATCOM to support the combatant command's vital Unified Command Plan (UCP)-assigned missions that enhance the nation's security, such as strategic deterrence, cyberspace and space operations, global strike, ISR and integrated missile defense. The Air Force also operates strategic bombers and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force, two legs of the nation's nuclear triad for which USSTRATCOM is responsible.

One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM's UCP-assigned responsibilities also include joint electronic warfare, combating weapons of mass destruction and analysis and targeting.

Photos available here