Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramón “CZ” Colón-López, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman took part in a virtual panel on leading in a time of change during the Air Force Association’s 2021 Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium, Feb. 24.
During the discussion, the senior leaders took the opportunity to identify what must be done for the United States to stay ahead in the great power competition.
“The current (noncommissioned officers) watching this today, or the current (company grade officers) or (field grade officers) are going to be the same people who are perhaps sitting on these panels in AFA in 2030 and beyond, and we have a lot of work to do when it comes to making sure that we are modernizing all things,” Bass said. “We have an opportunity now, more than ever, where we are at an inflection point, that we’ve got to get this right.”
Towberman agreed with Bass’ sentiments and emphasized the importance of equipping Guardians with the tools needed to support the mission.
“We’re looking at wearable technologies, we’re looking at different ways to monitor the mental health, spiritual health (and) physical health of the force,” Towberman said. “As you come in and raise your hand and give a commitment that extends to death, the institution has to earn that level of commitment every day, so we really see these as institutional obligations to take care of folks.”
As the senior enlisted person in the U.S. Department of Defense, Colón-López discussed what it takes to identify issues around the joint force and how to develop the best solutions.
“The overarching theme has always been the same: Collaboration without encroachment,” Colón-López said. “I see myself as a sensor, a synchronizer, and an integrator for the total force, and a lot of that comes with understanding the issues that are exclusive to the services. Everything that we do is with one ultimate goal, and that is to influence and to energize the force, to take the right course of action and make a difference for our service and the Department of Defense.”
Several senior leaders and experts from across the Air Force and Space Force will appear during the Aerospace Warfare Symposium, which runs until Feb. 26. To view the symposium, register at https://www.afa.org.