MacDill, 6th ARW echoes CSAF’s message

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

During a commander’s call at the base theater, Nov. 6, 2020, Col. Benjamin Jonsson, the 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, doubled down on an important Air Force message and call to action.  

“We need to foster urgency and excellence to accelerate change in order to deter adversary powers that have outpaced paced us with their technology and capability advancements in recent years,” said Jonsson.

The word urgency is critical because it reflects Gen. Charles Q. Brown, the Chief of the Staff of the Air Force’s call to action.

Brown expects his Air Force leaders to confront the modern day challenges that the U.S. Air Force faces and to do it, “with the sense of urgency they warrant.”

“For change to take hold, we need Air Force level buy-in on the nature of the problems we are trying to solve,” stated Brown. “We must develop material and non-material solutions that are affordable and ready on competition-relevant time lines.”

In order to succeed, Brown emphasized that we must be willing to work differently to make timely decisions through innovation.

Whether it’s an F-108 maintenance stand to overcome serious constraints during aircraft maintenance, integrating Airman Leadership School tablets to seamlessly implement lesson plans and save on cost of resources or even live-streaming base events such as the commander’s call, innovation is absolutely vital in accelerating change.

“I am responsible, as your Chief, for articulating why change is necessary and for directing what we must achieve in order to address the significant challenges facing our Air Force,” stated Brown in his memorandum to air staff leaders dated Aug. 6, 2020.

Jonsson delivered Brown’s accelerate change or lose message to the wing in four separate calls to maximize participation while performing social distancing. Even while confronting COVID-19, the Air Force is facing other global challenges.

“We have to be ready to train our mission essential tasks across a spectrum of conflict: whether uncontested or up until nuclear war,” said Jonsson. “We cannot consider our bases as sanctuaries anymore and we expect to fight in order to get to the fight in future conflicts.”

MacDill AFB passed a Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection in March 2020, but with the growth in the space and cyberspace domains as well as the developing capabilities of near-peer adversaries, the wars of the future may take place across multiple domains.

Jonsson emphasized this is why the USAF must be open to change while maintaining readiness because not only is this a national defense issue, it’s a win-or-lose situation that demands urgency.