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September 16, 2009—In one of his first major addresses as the service's new top enlisted airman, CMSAF James Roy tackled subjects ranging from the need to remain focused in combat operations to improving childcare in the Air Force.

Perhaps most importantly, the new Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, speaking Wednesday at AFA's Air & Space Conference, exhorted airmen to "think and act like we're at war" and, particularly urged them: "Don't take shortcuts."  

"What we cannot afford is to lose an individual because of a shortcut," said Roy. He recalled  that it had already happened in the case of a civil engineer specialist who attempted to shortcut work in defusing an improvised explosive device.

Talking about career building and improving joint operations, Roy encouraged enlisted airmen to take advantage of joint and coalition professional military education opportunities. He said, "We don’t do anything by ourselves anymore, so that PME is very important."

Roy noted coalition PME courses held recently in Singapore and in Canada, saying, "I want to open those doors some more; I think you airmen are ready for it."

Roy also outlined the four key areas of emphasis for the Air Force's Year of the Family program: Airmen and Family Support; Education; Health and Wellness; and Employment. Central to family support, he said, is child care.

"A 24-hour child care center is not going to happen," he said, but the service is considering some form of enhanced care. USAF has been successful, he said, in getting a few more child care centers on bases.

Roy noted, too, that USAF has not overlooked the single airman. The service plans to hold a symposium on the care of single airmen—both enlisted and officer—in the near future.