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Air Force's Operations Line Up With Defense Priorities

March 18, 2020 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

Air Force people, missions and partnerships are in line with Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper's priorities as the nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said.

"Secretary Esper's priorities have been crystal-clear for us," Goldfein told reporters at a Pentagon briefing today in which he detailed how the Air Force is responding to the situation.

"We're still conducting global missions around the globe, which is Priority 1," he said. "We've got fighters, bombers [and] maintainers deployed, working to keep Americans safe, and we're still flying global mobility missions and conducting global space operations. With the global missions that we as an air force support in the joint force, all those missions continue."

A four-star general stands near other military officers in camouflage uniforms.
Goldfein Meeting
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visits Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to observe and discuss current operations surrounding COVID-19, March 11, 2020.
Photo By: Sarayuth Pinthong, Air Force
VIRIN: 200311-F-GY993-018M

The Air Force's top officer said the service is also focused on nuclear missions and managing two-thirds of the nation's nuclear triad, in addition to nuclear command and control in support of Navy Adm. Charles "Chas" A. Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. The Air Force is also keeping its training pipelines open and it is making adjustments to keep them open, he added.

"As Secretary Esper has reminded us, our focus first and foremost is on people, and that's not only our active, Guard, reserves and civilians, but also the communities in which they live," Goldfein said.

The chief of staff said the Air Force communicates with all echelons of commands, and noted that he emphasized in a letter to commands issued last week that communicating "is as important as anything else we do."