Former Secretaries Speak Out

The Air Force is still struggling with officer development, said James Roche, who served as Air Force Secretary from 2001 to 2005. “Officer development is terrible,” he said on Sept. 17 during the panel discussion of former SECAFs at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. Roche said the Air Force still lags behind the other services in joint leadership positions “because we don’t prepare them” for these positions. He praised the enlisted force for having “very good” training. Michael Wynne, SECAF from 2005 to 2008, said: “Our Air Force needs to coalesce against a few things. We must go fifth generation. We must go to a next generation bomber. We must fill as many tankers as quickly as possible. And we must continue to train airmen to the best of our ability.” Whitten Peters, who led the Air Force from 1999 to 2001, called for embracing change. “If you don’t adapt, the place calcifies,” he said. As an example of this, he cited the Air Force’s acquisition office, which has not had an assistant secretary in charge for years.