The portrait unveiling for the former Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett hosted by The Honorable Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Air Force.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, today the men and women of the United States Air Force pay special tribute to the honorable Barbara M. Barrett on the occasion of her portrait, unveiling the proceeding official for today’s ceremony is the Secretary of the Air Force, the honorable frank Kendall. Ladies and gentlemen, please rise. Ah, mm hmm. Okay. Yeah, yeah, please be seated. Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary Kendall. Mm hmm. Good afternoon everybody. So it’s a pleasure to welcome Ambassador Barrett and all their family and friends. Craig dr Barrett. Uh this is our first event that I’ve attended anyway since I came back about a year ago in the auditorium. So it’s just great to be able to stand here and see all of you and enjoy doing this with you together. I wanna welcome some of our special guests. I think we have Senator McSally with us. Sarah McNally. Right. Uh secretary Esper you make it empty chairs down there for General Brown, Good to have you with us, Shereen, mm hmm. And hard to recognize and civilian clothes but Dave Goldfein down there as well. Former Stevenson. Yeah, well, thank you all for being here for the unveiling of Ambassador Barrett’s portrait As the 25th Secretary of the Air Force Dr Barrett. Thank you also, of course for being here with your spouse and for your family and friends to all join us as well for this for this moment. We’re gonna hear us celebrate uh Ambassador Barrett’s accomplishments and we’re going to a few minutes, see the portrait that will grace the halls of the pentagon in perpetuity to all the honored guests here today. Thank you for joining us. As I walked down the Arnold corridor, I see previous secretaries who looked distinguished, contemplated and focused. They all serve their country as the highest ranking civilian in the Air Force Since the National Security Act of 1947, established the Department of the Air Force 75 years ago. They’ve seen numerous wars, nuclear brinksmanship, acute national security crises and many years of conflicts that our airmen and now our guardians have had to engage in and sacrifice for the secretaries of the Air Force were the ones who led those service members by providing them with the training and resources required to execute their missions. Ambassador Barrett fits him perfectly with these honorable civilian leaders. Let’s look back and see how the department changed during her tenure. She provided the country with the department that added a new military service, kept us on a necessary path of modernization, focused on its people and is valued by our allies and partners foremost. Perhaps ambassador will always have the legacy of being the secretary who created the United States Space Force. No one had created a new service since the air force separated from the army 75 years ago, there was an army officer. I sort of regret that that ever happened, but nevertheless, the second of the Air Force, I’m delighted that it happened. However, she and her team had to build the Space Force from the ground up. Now look at where we are semper supra john Raymond with his guidance general Thompson Have grown the space force to over 7000 active duty guardians and as many civil servants. The Space Force’s budget has grown large enough to execute their own research and development capabilities and to absorb the space development agency agency officially this coming October In addition to standing up a whole new service which is a full time job by itself. Ambassador Barrett led numerous modernization initiatives, including an initial development of something I care deeply about the next generation air dominance platform, advanced battle management systems and a number of other things which will integrate into a joint all domain capability that will serve our nation well. She oversaw these initiatives and molded them into a program that will create an architecture and capabilities that will service as the far distant future as we as we deal with our pacing challenge. She also focused on relations with our allies and partners, something she had been working for many years, especially during her tenure as Ambassador to Finland. There’s just a few of the things that Ambassador did during her tenure as the Secretary of the Air Force. All of these lines of effort required new thinking, innovative processes and superb airmen and Guardians to follow through with her vision. Ambassador Barrett, I hope that you can see how your work has increased the capabilities of the Air Force and the Space Force over a year after you have left your office Between October of 19 when you began your services secretary and now I see enormous positive changes in air force and space force capability and resources. Thank you also for being a people first leader for skillfully leading the stand up of the Space force for starting us on a necessary path of modernization and for engaging with our international military partners and allies. Your leadership and actions provided those who followed you with a department that was ready for its critical role in the Defense Department and that truly cared for its people. After my remarks, we will unveil your portrait. This will hang on the wall next to the Office of the Secretary’s large conference room and I will see you every day as I walk into meetings there and I will be inspired by that. Thank you. I know the crowd will see Ambassador Barrett’s priorities in this portrait and that they are similar to the parties I’m moving ahead with on my own now and thanks to Barbara’s leadership and setting me up to be able to do that. We will modernize our capabilities, we will build the space force, we will inspire and support our families, we will strengthen our relationships with our allies and partners. Your priorities advance the Department of the Air Force, you accelerate the modernization of the department to what we will need for the future and a focus on enduring capabilities that will contribute to integrated deterrence for many years to come. Thank you. Mhm. And now it’s time to unveil the portrait. Barbara, could you join me? Yeah. Mm hmm. Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Barbara and Barrett. Mm hmm. Thank you so very much. And thank you. Secretary Kendall, thank you for hosting this event and for kind words, what a treat it is to see General C. Q. Brown thank you so much for the leadership that we shared and that you’ve continued. And I have to say that without General Chief Chief of Staff of the Air Force Dave Goldfein, I would never have been able to make this transition as smoothly as we did. Dave Goldfein, thank you for traveling from Texas to be here for this occasion. Thanks so very much. And D t Thompson. General Thompson, thank you for being here representing the Space Force’s Vice Chief of Space Operations. We are deeply appreciative of your leadership, your involvement and your presence here today. Thanks so very much. I think I’ve outrun the time that I’m allowed to speak. The lights are off. Well, I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved in producing this portrait. It’s the first that I’ve seen it rather than commissioning a painting. We use the digital photograph, a composite process to create this portrait. This is my first time seeing it and I have to say I’m very pleased. Ladies and gentlemen, this marks the end of a journey for me that began with my swearing in as the 25th Secretary of the Air Force in October of 2019. I started by breaking a tradition instead of being sworn in on the steps of the pentagon, as is the usual case, I chose to be sworn in at the United States Air Force Academy where many future United States Air Force and Space Force leaders are shaped. The event was held in Polaris Hall, the the Air Force Academy Building dedicated to character and leadership, two qualities that are core to our Air and Space forces. I saw these qualities at all levels of the Air Force, from the newly enlisted airmen to our top officers and civilian leaders. We celebrated character, leadership and courage One special day in December of 2020 when I had the opportunity I presented to two airmen air force crosses, the highest recognition within my responsibility as secretary. One of the crosses went to Staff Sergeant Alexey German Novich who exemplified courage, character and leadership at the highest order. In 2017, I’ll tell you the story about staff Sergeant Germano Vich. In 2017, Staff Sergeant Jovanovic was on the ground with a team of Army Special Forces working to clear an Afghan valley That had 450 ISIS fighters in that valley. Suddenly an enemy ambush occurred More than eight hours of brutal fighting took place during that fight. Sergeant Germano Vich displayed enormous courage again and again, he exposed himself to a sniper attack and machine gun fire to mark the position of the suicide bombers so the health so that hellfire missiles could neutralize those targets. He abandoned the safety of protective cover to crawl across open terrain to a fortified enemy bunker. Then he engaged in close combat and also directed fighter attacks and air strikes against that enemy bunker. He then traversed 700 m seven football fields for those non metric minded, carrying a casualty on his back up a mountain to a helicopter landing zone while still directing fire. Staff Sergeant Germano, which is just one example of the character, leadership and courage of the men and women that I had the privilege of serving alongside here in the United States air and Space forces. Their job is to protect America. My job was to empower them with the tools, training and leadership to get their job done with that mission in mind. As Secretary Kendall has indicated, I set four priorities for my tenure which were depicted here in the portrait in the quadrants behind me. First, we sought to modernize the tools our men and women use. We have improved our acquisition system to ensure that we could get the right equipment in a timely manner. On the air side, we commissioned a new rescue helicopter. We advanced a new bomber and we designed a new fighter while debugging the existing fighters and tankers. On the space side. We enhance the capabilities of our satellites hardening them to be less vulnerable for jamming capture an attack. My second priority was to build a space force as you’ve heard since. George Washington was president. No, only one other service has been created and that was the air force established in 1947 and now the space force in 2019. Both of those new services were logically created to accommodate new technologies. Space operations have been a part of the Air Force for decades. But by establishing a dedicated branch, Congress gave space independent staff, budget and strategy. We endeavored to build a branch that like space exploration itself is innovative in every way the Space force is different from traditional services in that it is especially talent heavy, not manpower heavy. It is less about physical power such as upper body strength or running fast or carrying a rucksack. And it’s more about brain power, engineering and technology undeniably space is now a war fighting domain. The Russians and Chinese have demonstrated their willingness to take out satellites and weaponize this new frontier. We must be ready to defend our assets and our people in space. Space also enables navigation, information and communication in the Army, Navy Air Force Marines and Coast Guard and that they use that space capability to do their work and to stay safe. This value is proven in early 2020, less than a week after the us strike on Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian military commander you may recall the Iranians responded with a retaliatory ballistic missile. A strike on two American air bases in Iraq. Well, space officer, a world away in Colorado observed the missile launch, calculated the trajectory, notified her superiors and they immediately alerted both bases in Iraq. The bases sounded their alarms and within minutes everyone sheltered. It turned out to be the largest ballistic missile attack ever against Americans, causing billions in property damage. Yet not a single life was lost. All thanks to attentive space officers and fast action. It’s no wonder that last year the space budget I was raised a hefty 40%. My third priority was caring for and investing in our people. This meant modernizing our promotional process to move the best talent up the chain of command. It meant sharpening our focus on education, training and character development. It also included caring for our Air Force families by improving their health care, education and housing. While visiting an airbase, I met an Air Force spouse who had moved her Children into a temporary house while black mold was removed from her permanent residents. This was the third time she had been moved into a temporary house. Each time she was told that it would take a couple of weeks and each time it took months before she was able to move back home. This time it was just before thanksgiving. She shared her dilemma with me. Her kids wanted to put up a Christmas tree like her. Like those students in their class would be doing she was left to decide do we put up a tree in the temporary house when they are saying that she’d be moved back and within two weeks or should she wait on that promise or take the, endure the cost of two Christmas trees and have the kids celebrate with two well worse. Her ex husband was suing for custody of the kids on the grounds that she was in an unstable housing situation because of the moves, heartbreaking stories like these were why we urged congress to budget for improved Air force housing. It took a while but that funding finally passed. Thank you, Secretary Kendall. My 4th priority was strengthening relationships with our Allies and partners. Drawing upon my diplomatic experience, we work closely to build greater strategic alignments. We issued a first of its kind arctic strategy. The arctic region is of significant strategic importance as china and Russia have both been able to attest. We worked to coordinate coordinate development of our air force capabilities to a region where it isn’t cold, uh isn’t just cold, but it also has physics of space complications. We tightened our participation in the arctic accountants counsel. So despite the constraints of Covid we built closer relationship with dozens of nations around the world with direct personal contact, increased equipment, coordination and coordinated space operations recently. Much has been made said about the prospect of Finland joining NATO. As a member of NATO. It already is a NATO partner, but not a member. We worked to strengthen interoperability, which means ensuring that tools and processes are in place to allow us to work together. After much analysis and meetings with their ministers of defense, Finland and Switzerland have both decided to buy F- 35s. Today we see why that matters. Finland, which has the longest border of any European nation with Russia, is now a vigorous enthusiast for joining NATO and NATO itself has never been more closely allied. Ladies and gentlemen, recent horrors in Ukraine are the latest reminder of why a free world can never grow complacent. We must invest in our power in our people. And then the qualities that underlie both those of you who are space enthusiasts have recognized the name of the Air Force Academy building where I took the oath at Polaris Hall, which is dedicated to character and leadership Polaris as you know, is named for the North Star. Indeed, character is our North Star character is what is required in the defense of democracy and the American experiment. Do you remember Staff Sergeant Alexey German Novich? Well, here’s the rest of the story. Both of his parents were immigrants from eastern Europe. One was born in Belarus, the other in the Ukraine. He’s a young man fighting for America and exhibiting the greatest of courage for his country and the two nations from which his parents hailed are now on opposite sides of a horrific shooting war. He understands the importance of freedom and character and courage that is necessary to defend it. In my time as secretary, I saw many like him. Men and women in this uniform defending our country at any cost in their own ways. They understand the importance of what they’re fighting for. I took this job to serve them and to aid them in furthering their cause through these four priorities, it’s been an honor. And as I leave this place today, my hope is that this portrait serves as a small reminder of my admiration, my respect and my continued dedication to the men and women of the United States Air Force and Space Force may they continue to aim high fly fight and win semper supra And may you may God bless our airmen and our guardians and the United States of America. Thank you so very much. Mm hmm. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, mm hmm. Ladies and gentlemen, the men and women of the Department of the Air Force are proud of the accomplishments of the honorable Barbara Barrett. The portrait will be on the permanent display in the Air force corridor of the pentagon. Please rise for the playing of the Air Force song and interim Space Force March. This concludes this afternoon ceremony. Thank you for attending and we wish you a pleasant day. Yeah, yeah