MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. shared his vision for the Air Force and Air University and stressed the importance of developing critical-thinking Airmen during his first visit to the university in his current position Aug. 26-27, 2020, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
During his presentation to Air University’s senior military leaders and faculty, Brown explained the importance of the university’s mission and the need to focus on the leadership development of Airmen, calling them the Air Force’s “most important weapon system”.
“We have to drive a mindset that when you come here, you’re preparing yourselves for the next competition, the next conflict, because we’re competing right now,” he said. “If you don’t think we are, you’re missing something.”
The general warned of the growing military capabilities and resources of the nation’s adversaries, specifically pointing to China and Russia, saying the service needs to counter this threat with more than just money.
“We will not buy our way out of this. We’re not going to buy enough missiles, weapons and tankers or have enough logisticians to do all the things we need to do against the [People’s Republic of China], in particular, and Russia as well,” said Brown. “We have to out-think them.”
Brown underlined the merits of delegating tasks to the lowest level, explaining that it prepares Airmen for competition and builds their confidence to take charge and lead in challenging times.
He called for AU to find innovative ways to empower Airmen and to test their skills and abilities.
“What I encourage you to do is... challenge our students as they come through here,” said Brown. “Ask them the hard questions. Ask them the questions that you don’t even know the answer to, to build our strength as a team.”
While at Air University, Brown also spoke with students and engaged with Leadership Development Course, Blue Horizons and Wing and Group Commander Course staff and faculty. He was accompanied by his wife, Sharene, who met with the Public K-12 Education Working Group to discuss the work of ongoing education initiatives and increased opportunities for military families stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex.