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Up to the Challenge: There is no doubt that airmen possess the creativity and inventiveness, coupled with bold leadership and commitment, to help overcome the challenges that the service faces in reshaping itself during a time of fiscal austerity, said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz Tuesday. "Fortunately, y'all, thinking is free. It is not threatened by growing debts or shrinking budgets," he said in his address at AFA's Air & Space Conference. "History," he continued, "is replete with examples of the most brilliant creativity and inventiveness flourishing during lean times." The Air Force continues on the path of transforming itself to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. "As in the last few years, we will not shy away from difficult decisions. We will work through them and any uncomfortable repercussions to do what is necessary to make our force more versatile and more likely to succeed," he said. He noted that it was during the rough economic times of the post-Vietnam War era that the Air Force, and US military overall, began to conceptualize the changes "that astounded the world in Operation Desert Storm and since."