Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall has been on the job for a week, but on Aug. 4, he made his ceremonial entrance to the office, getting sworn in by Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III at the Pentagon.
Kendall was administratively sworn into the position July 28, two days after the Senate voted to confirm his nomination, ending a drawn-out process that included three legislative holds from senators. His arrival gives the Department of the Air Force its first permanent leader since January, replacing former acting Secretary John P. Roth.
In a letter addressed to Airmen and Guardians released shortly after he arrived on the job, Kendall revealed his mantra as “One Team, One Fight.”
Kendall wrote that his “overriding priority” as Secretary is to deter and, if necessary, win a conflict with a peer competitor, specifically China or Russia.
“I know first-hand what it means to face a capable, well-resourced peer competitor,” wrote Kendall, an Army veteran. “For over a decade, I have been sounding alarms about the threat to U.S. interests and U.S. military superiority posed by military modernization programs of China especially, but also of Russia.”
Kendall also emphasized joint force responsibilities and cooperation as part of his “One Team” mantra.
“All team members deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and to serve in an environment in which they can grow and thrive,” Kendall wrote. “We must all do everything we can to help our fellow teammates be successful—our Nation’s defense requires it.”