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NCO Leadership: Critical to our success

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- I recently attended the Air Force Senior Enlisted Leaders Conference, where CMSAF Rodney McKinley gathered all the command chiefs, Professional Military Education commandants, and career field mangers to discuss the current state of the Air Force as well as the strategic goals shared by senior policymakers.

The biggest take away from the conference that I want to share with you is how important NCO leadership is to the future of our Air Force. We are in the midst of transformation in almost every functional community. We are operating in a fiscally constrained environment, and we are drawing down the size of the Air Force. And most importantly, we've been engaged in the Global War on Terrorism and sustained combat operations for seven years. It will take strong NCO leadership to help commanders manage transformation initiatives and work through all the challenges we are facing.

NCOs are the guardians of Air Force standards, enforcers of discipline, role models for Airmen, and advisors to officers... basic NCO leadership responsibilities. Fortunately, the Air Force has the strongest NCO corps in the world and there is no doubt our NCOs are up for the many challenges we face. NCOs like Tech Sgt. Richard Edginton, Staff Sgt. Jud Magat, Staff Sgt. Marisa Luke, Tech. Sgt. Antonio Cooper and Tech Sgt. Paul Poplawski are great examples of the many hundreds of outstanding NCOs we have assigned to the 45th Space Wing.

NCO leadership will be the key to tackling the many challenges we face while still insuring we get the mission done, and take care of our Airmen. Some will say the NCO corps is the back bone of the USAF, and others will say it's the heart and lungs of the Air Force, but regardless what analogy you use, one thing is for sure, the mission doesn't get done without NCO leadership.

I am proud that our NCOs here at the 45th Space Wing make it possible for us to support global operations, and assure our nation has access to the high frontier to provide the war fighting commands with increased combat capability.

Go Sharks!