News Search


CMSAF visits Vance Airmen, addresses concerns

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. James Bolinger
  • 71st FTW Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody and his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody, spent two days addressing the concerns of Vance Airmen Oct. 14 and 15.

"This is not our first visit to Enid and to Vance, but it is our first visit in this capacity," said Cody. "(This visit) was an opportunity to spend time with our Airmen and families and some of the community leaders. It was a chance to thank them for all that they do for our Air Force and for our nation."

Cody spent the majority of his time speaking to Airmen in their work centers and held an Airmen's Call at the Armed Forces Reserve Center.

The majority of the questions Vance Airmen asked visited were about the changes to the enlisted evaluation system.

"I think we will bring some confidence and credibility into this evaluation system as we move forward and introduce the different aspects," said Cody. "The current system is inflated; I don't think anyone would debate that. It doesn't give credit to our top performers in the way it was designed to do. It gives credit to everybody - even if you are not performing at the highest level."

"The new evaluation will give credit to the Air Force's best," he said. "It will ensure Airmen know they are valued, and give them the promotion advantage they deserve."

Another popular topic was the recent force reduction.

"The military budget has to be part of the discussion about how the nation will tackle our fiscal challenge," said Cody during the Airmen's Call. "The Air Force has to fit its mission of total air dominance within the constraints of a shrinking budget. To accomplish this, we had to make some tough decisions about our force structure and unfortunately had to lose some very good Airmen."

"It wasn't just that anybody and everybody who wanted to the leave the Air Force could," said Cody. "We had established criteria, and it was based on the capabilities we needed to retain in our Air Force, and the capabilities we needed to divest ourselves of or had excess of in terms of people."

For uniformed Airmen concerned that the jobs they lost will be filled by contractors or civilians, the chief said the reduction programs were not designed to take responsibility from one component only to give it to another.

"We had to be smaller at all components ... with a minimal impact on the mission," said Cody. "Every uniformed Airman we lost didn't mean we were creating an opportunity for a civilian Airman."

"The American people expect the military to be able to do more with less," he said. "That doesn't mean what is being asked of today's Airmen is not reasonable or sustainable. This is the smallest Air Force America has ever had, yet today's Airmen have persevered and succeeded during the longest continuous combat operations in the nation's history."

"If it ever gets to the point that what the nation needs Airmen to do is not reasonable or sustainable, then military and political leaders need to have that discussion and decide what it is the Air Force will and will not do in the future."