Air Force Secretary visits Barksdale Air Force Base - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James visits Barksdale Air Force Base

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BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -
Air Force Secretary, Deborah Lee James, visited Barksdale Air Force Base for the first time Thursday, wrapping up her week-long tour of bases nation-wide, focusing on nuclear forces.
"I'm a new secretary of the Air Force, I wanted to hit the road quite early on, to get myself more informed and educated and talk to people on all levels," said Secretary James. 
     
Part of James' vision for the future, is a smaller Air Force, with fewer personnel. Thursday afternoon, KSLA News 12 asked the Secretary what this could mean for Barksdale Air Force Base, one of the largest employers for the region. "So we cannot get into specifics at this point about what a smaller Air Force means for individual bases, but I can tell you this, the importance of the bomber mission is very strong," she said. 

The secretary also commented on the recent scandal, where 16 nuclear launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana are accused of cheating on a proficiency test, while 17 other officers reportedly knew and didn't do anything about it.  
 
The Air Force is now re-testing all officers in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force as a result. James calls the incident a failure of integrity. "That actual investigation is ongoing and we are going to get to the bottom of it, my promise is within weeks, not months but weeks, we will have a plan of action, about what we are going to do about this very important matter," said James. 

Throughout her tour, Secretary James has openly commented on the low morale problems at other air force bases. But as far as Barksdale is concerned, morale isn't a problem, "My sense here at Barksdale is morale is strong, I get no indication that there is any difficulties here with morale. I anticipate as we go forward, as we are able to increase our readiness levels, I think as we move forward with that, morale will be even better."

James was sworn in as the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force on Dec. 20, 2013. According to her U.S. Air Force biography, she is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 690,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families. She also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of more than $110 billion.

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