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Jumper new AF chief of staff. (Airman'sWorld).

WASHINGTON -- Gen. John P. Jumper, former commander of Air Combat Command, was recently sworn in as the Air Force's 19th chief of staff. He succeeded Gen. Michael E. Ryan who retired last month.

The general, during confirmation hearings, said his priorities for the force -- transformation, readiness, retention and recapitalization -- will mirror those of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of the Air Force James Roche.

"Transformation is, and always will be, a key issue because the Air Force is inherently transformational -- constantly adapting ourselves to new threats and leveraging new technology in order to posture ourselves to face the challenges of an uncertain future," he said. "Our greatest challenge remains the requirement to advance new capabilities while maintaining the robust readiness required to meet day-to-day warfighter requirements. The general said readiness -- being ready to kick down the door if and when the requirement comes to do so -- is critical to any combat force.

"Readiness is the heart and soul of our ability to perform our mission on a day-to-day basis and is the hallmark of our combat capability," he said.

Unfortunately, he added, the readiness of today's force is the lowest since June 1987.

"We are capable of winning today, but we're concerned about trends in readiness indicators such as aging aircraft, constrained resources and parts, and retention."

Improved retention rates, Jumper said, are key to the future of the Air Force.

"People are our most vital resource, he said. "We can only be successful through the energy and dedication of skilled and motivated personnel."

A number of factors contribute to retention, the general said.

"Wages, the high operations tempo, quality-of-life issues and leadership are key issues our people consider when making the decision to re-enlist," he said. "In addition, more must be done to improve not only quality of life for airmen, but also quality of service."

Jumper said this is why recapitalizatlon is also a key issue to today's Air Force.

"Quality of life issues are terribly important to attract and retain great people, but so is quality of service," he said. "Quality of service addresses the need to ensure we give our airmen the proper tools to do the tough jobs we ask them to do. We must recover from a decade-long spending hiatus to provide the tools our airmen need to fly, fight and win. Therefore, I will ensure an effective balance between quality of life and modernization spending is maintained."
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Title Annotation:general John P. Jumper
Author:Bumham, Master Sgt. Rick
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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