Air Force Chief of Staff Nominee Pledges Support to Warfighters
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2008 The four-star general nominated to be the Air Force’s next chief of staff today told Capitol Hill legislators that if he’s confirmed he’ll continue to support warfighters deployed around the globe.
The Air Force serves as the cornerstone of America’s defense, Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing.
The Air Force, Schwartz said, is “capable of delivering combat power and support to joint warfighters any time, any place.”
Schwartz is commander of U.S. Transportation Command based at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. On July 10, President Bush nominated him to succeed former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, who resigned on June 6 along with former Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne over missteps in the Air Force’s handling of nuclear materials.
“I truly believe that the Air Force is still, fundamentally, a healthy organization comprised of dedicated professionals,” Schwartz told committee members.
Schwartz pledged to support the Air Force’s 700,000 active duty, Guard and reserve servicemembers and its civilian employees.
“These men and women are a national asset, and together we will recommit ourselves to our core values and uphold the highest standards of excellence that have made our Air Force the best in the world,” Schwartz said. “Our nation deserves nothing less.”
Schwartz also pledged to improve and transform Air Force processes, organizations and systems and maintain demanding performance standards to achieve the highest state of military efficiency and combat readiness.
“We will be ready if called upon,” Schwartz vowed.
At the same time, he added, the Air Force will be “mindful of cost” as a good steward of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Defending America and supporting U.S. joint warfighters “is our No. 1 priority,” Schwartz said.
Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, who accompanied Schwartz at the confirmation hearing, was chosen by President Bush to succeed Schwartz as commander of TransCom. McNabb is currently the Air Force’s vice chief of staff.
“I believe our global mobility is one of our nation’s true crown jewels; it gives us the strategic ability to move,” McNabb told committee members. No other nation can match the U.S. military’s ability to deliver troops and equipment to any place on the globe in time or war or for humanitarian missions, McNabb pointed out.
U.S. Transportation Command’s success depends upon the strength of the total force, McNabb said. “We are a nation at war, and supporting our warfighters will be my No. 1 priority,” McNabb vowed.