CMSAF visits Las Vegas-area Air Force bases

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ariel O'Shea

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force David Flosi and the Honorable Alex Wagner, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, toured both Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, May 7.

Nellis AFB, located in the northeast Las Vegas Valley, is renowned for advanced air combat training, weapons and tactics development, and aggressor training. Creech AFB, nestled in the Nevada desert, is the premier installation for remotely piloted aircraft operations. 

Flosi and Wagner witnessed the daily operations, training exercises, and innovations driving Air Force capabilities forward. From interacting with maintenance crews ensuring the airworthiness of cutting-edge aircraft to engaging with remotely piloted aircraft operators conducting precision missions, every encounter offered invaluable insights into the dynamic landscape of modern warfare. 

However, beyond the operational aspects, such visits serve another critical purpose – that of listening. Flosi and Wagner had the opportunity to engage in candid discussions with airmen of all ranks, understanding their concerns, aspirations, and suggestions. These conversations form the bedrock of informed decision-making, ensuring that policies and initiatives resonate with the realities faced by those on the ground. 

In visiting both Southern Nevada air force bases, the two Department of the Air Force officials underscored a commitment to understanding the needs, challenges, and triumphs of the airmen who serve on the front lines of defense. Additionally, it demonstrates that the Air Force is taking significant steps in reoptimizing for the Great Power Competition

The Great Power Competition refers to the strategic rivalry and competition between major global powers for influence, resources, and dominance in various spheres, including political, economic, military, and technological domains. Historically, it has often been used to describe the dynamics between powerful nations seeking to assert their interests on the world stage.

The character of war has changed; we are faced with aggressive challenges in a rapidly evolving battlespace,” Flosi said. “The Air Force is adapting to counter threats like the PRC’s military advancements and unconventional tactics across all domains. To achieve this, we are building a more ready and unified force, prioritizing agile and rapid response, while emphasizing mission readiness over functional competence.”

“Change is a major priority in preparing the total force for the future fight. Since assuming his position, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin has focused on his Case for Change message, and these visits from Department of the Air Force leadership demonstrate his continued commitment to that message. 

“Today, a new key inflection point is upon us,” Allvin said in a message to Airmen. “We cannot afford to be complacent, holding on to outdated structures. The Air Force built for the previous era is no longer optimized for the current strategic landscape. History has shown that we can successfully navigate these turning points — now is the time to do so again. Our motivation is crystal clear: change is not an option but a necessity. We must adapt to effectively demonstrate our readiness and capability to deter, and, if required, to prevail in conflict.” 

Leadership has made it clear: the Air Force must adapt to a new era of competition and must not settle into business as usual. When Creech obtained Installation Command Authority from Nellis in 2019, the bases maintained their autonomy and carried on with their own identity. This does not mean, however, that one cannot rely upon the other in any contingency. During his visit to each installation, Flosi emphasized the need to work together and maintain readiness. 

“We need to all understand what it means to be an Airman in the Profession of Arms,” Flosi said. “The sense of teamwork we all share, and a sharp focus on our mission as Airmen, are what make us part of a winning team. We must also maintain a high state of readiness, both personally and professionally.”

Furthermore, these visits strengthen bonds not only between military leadership and government officials but also among the Airmen themselves. By witnessing the solidarity, professionalism, and camaraderie that permeate every aspect of base life, Flosi and Wagner confirmed that the cohesive spirit of the Las Vegas-area bases corresponds with Air Force values and challenged them to channel that into a warrior ethos.

"Gen. Allvin's 'Case for Change' emphasizes the Air Force's need to adapt to a new era of competition,” Flosi said. “Airmen should understand this means sharpening their warfighting skills and staying flexible to confront evolving threats. As leaders, we owe it to our Airmen to set the conditions for them to be successful in this new environment."