Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (4/26/10) – Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted a town hall meeting with members of the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard here.
Mullen is the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. armed forces and the president's principle military advisor. He also advises the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
"Our Wing is honored that our chairman took the time to thank us and answer our questions,” said Brig. Gen. Trulan Eyre, 140th Wing commander. “For many, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I feel like he gave us a good sight picture on what the future of the military may look like."
Many of the questions during the town hall meeting focused on the rapidly aging fleet of F-16s in the Air National Guard as well as future missions.
"Although Adm. Mullen's experiences in the Navy are different from ours, I felt that he understood what our future needs are, and that essentially, it's a question that will have to be answered within the next year or so," said Lt. Col. William Orton, 140th Operations Support Squadron director of operations.
Mullen also discussed the future of the armed forces, the challenges ahead and how the armed forces will continue to grow. "We live in a time of extraordinary change," he said.
Mullen discussed how each military service has become "much more joint, much more dependent on each other, much more transparent and collaborate in ways we could not have imagined a few years ago."
He spoke about the skills that will be needed for tomorrow and how the armed forces will be operating in places it has not anticipated.
"I depend on each and every one of you for leadership," said Mullen as he specifically addressed the mid-level noncommissioned officers and company grade officers present. "Leaders step up to make a difference and leading in a time of change is difficult, and yet (it’s) the most exciting kind of leadership. I am betting on you."
Mullen thanked members of the 140th Wing for their service and the opportunity to spend time with them before his departure.
"We could not have been successful in Iraq and could not be succeeding in having the positive kinds of outcomes we are starting to see in Afghanistan. In these wars, and in cyber and in defending our homeland, we can't succeed without the National Guard. It is dramatically different from what it was pre-9/11 and I commend the leadership and the people in the National Guard. They are such a vital part of our military and our national defense. It is such a privilege to be here and to know how much they and their families have contributed," he said.