“Straight from the CEO” Roundup

This bulletin was cross-posted from HQAFSA.org, the official website for the Air Force Sergeants Association Headquarters. It has been posted here for your convenience. Visit HQAFSA.org for more updates!

Rumors Vs. Facts! (11/6/2012)

Last week Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta identified his top four legislative priorities for the Lame Duck Congress: averting sequestration, passage of the annual defense authorization and appropriations bills and approving a new cyber security measure. Today, Capitol Hill media outlets up here are suggesting the secretary may only get some of what he wants; a recurring theme AFSA heard during recent congressional office visits. Although a deal on blocking sequestration is possible, an agreement to delay the deep cuts is more likely to succeed. Action on the FY 2013 funding bill is not out of the realm of possibility either, but could prove difficult if questions on sequestration go unanswered. By far the best bet in town is the NDAA because we have had one for 50 straight years now. House and Senate staffers have been prepping for conference committee meetings on this important legislation and confidence remains fairly high that lawmakers can complete it by years end.

Meeting with Senator Webb (11/7/2012)

Your AFSA Military & Government Relations team participated in a meeting with senior staff of Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) and partners in The Military Coalition.

Webb, you may recall, was a huge proponent in getting the Post 9/11 GI Bill done and is openly opposed to changes in benefits for military retirees. The main purpose of yesterday’s meeting was to discuss Veterans status for the 288,757 retirees without that designation as addressed by bills HR 1025 (Walz, D-MN) and S 491 (Pryor, D-AR). Of that total number DoD-wide, Air Force affiliated numbers are 65,724 – primarily in the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command. Additional topics covered included: holding the line on raising TRICARE Pharmacy co-pays, considerations on the methodology regarding reform of the current retirement system, and of course the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

With obvious attention on the General Election this week, and with Senator Webb retiring at the end of this term, you might wonder why bother with such a meeting. A senior Senator still has great influence even if it’s known that he’s retiring and staffers from both houses of Congress likely won’t have time to engage fully once the Lame Duck begins. Bottom line: given the current political climate this is how business must get done and your AFSA team is in the mix.

Business as Usual? (11/8/2012)

That’s the unanimous opinion from a panel of former congressional members who now lead in the private sector. AFSA is with the former lawmakers this morning to discuss what associations can expect from Capitol Hill in 2013 & beyond.

They tell us little will change in the composition of the House and Senate and much of its current leadership will remain intact for the next two years. Because of this, we should expect the current pattern of stall and crawl now seen on Capitol Hill to continue.

That doesn’t mean the next two years will be void of meaningful legislative activity. The former lawmakers strongly believe that a fix to sequestration WILL happen…but not before its January 2013 start date and not until negative market forces spur Congress to action. Be careful of the definition of a “deal” they say, and expect to see a two-step process that addresses the problem. Initially, a short-term deal with questionable offsets to mitigate the defense portion of the sequester, followed shortly thereafter with a second effort again in response to adverse market forces. All agree that sequestration will damage the economy if left unchecked and a grand bargain though difficult, is possible. Just don’t expect one right away.

New CMSAF Announced (11/9/2012)

USAF Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh announced that after interviewing five strong candidates, he has selected the next Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. CMSgt James A. Cody will assume the service’s top enlisted position effective February 1, 2013. AFSA would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Chief Cody and his wife Athena!

Here is the official announcement in its entirety:

To the Airmen of the United States Air Force 

After over 30 years of service to our great nation, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy has announced he will retire at the end of January. During their tenure, CMSAF Roy and his wife Ms. Paula teamed to tackle our biggest challenges and cheered our greatest accomplishments. We owe them a huge thank you. I hope you will join Betty and me in wishing them “blue skies” as they begin the next chapter in their lives. 

Being CMSAF is a big deal, and finding the right Airmen to be our next one was a little bit intimidating. It’s also the most important decision I’ll make as your Chief of Staff…and probably the hardest. I reached out to our former CMSAFs for guidance and took nominations from senior leaders throughout the Total Force. I reviewed the records of the best and brightest CMSgt’s in our Air Force and personally interviewed five of them here in the Pentagon. I’m very comfortable that I’ve made the right choice. 

I’m pleased to announce CMSgt James A. Cody as our Service’s 17th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, effective 1 Feb 2013. CMSgt Cody and his wife Athena, a retired CMSgt herself, have a very unique understanding of the Air Force family and they share a passion for Airmen—their son also happens to be one. If you know Chief Cody, you’ll be excited about this selection. If you don’t know him, you’ll get excited as soon as you do meet him. He’s smart, talented, engaged and driven to make our Air Force a better place to live and work…and I’ll be proud to have him as my partner in this job. 

Please join Betty and me in welcoming CMSgt Cody and Athena to their new roles. They’re eager to represent you and to better understand those things you care most about. I look forward to introducing them to you in just a couple of months. You’re gonna love ’em! 

MARK A. WELSH III
General, USAF
20th Chief of Staff

This bulletin was cross-posted from HQAFSA.org, the official website for the Air Force Sergeants Association Headquarters. It has been posted here for your convenience. Visit HQAFSA.org for more updates!

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