by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2/4/2016 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited on Feb. 4, during the last leg of his defense-budget installation visits.
After meeting with service members at the California-based Naval Air
Weapons Station China Lake and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Carter
spoke to Nellis Air Force Base Airmen to preview the fiscal year 2017
defense budget and discuss its impact on the Air Force.
"The key is readiness; that's the key to the Air Force today and
tomorrow, and it happens here," Carter said. "What I'm asking the Air
Force to do ... is maintain a very high level of readiness, and that you
get from Nellis.
"This is the only test range where you can bring it all together -- not
only all the kinds of aircraft you see on the ramps out there, but the
satellites you don't see and the cyber (activity) you don't see. In
today's world, all of that is brought together only here at Nellis, so
it's an enormously important installation. That is reflected in our
budget, where we're adding $1 billion more for training of this kind
over the next five years. That's going to support no fewer than 34 major
The defense secretary spoke about attaining a lasting defeat of the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, while also ensuring the department
is ready for potential conflict with higher-end adversaries and more
technologically-advanced threats in the future.
Carter said the men and women of the Air Force -- like the ones he
visited earlier in the day at the 66th Rescue Squadron and 823rd
Maintenance Squadron -- will be the keys to the direction the Defense
Department plans to take the service in the future.
"We are adding funds to the Air Force budget to grow manpower in the
maintenance area because we need more maintainers, given the
high-operations tempo, to keep our aircraft ready," Carter said. "We're
doing all this at the same time that we are modernizing the Air Force,
so you'll see in the future new aircraft here on the ramp.
"You'll see, shortly, the KC-46 and one day maybe you'll see -- but
maybe we won't show -- a new bomber, and there's other things you also
won't see because we like to have some surprises for potential
On his way to depart the base, Carter noticed a C-5 Galaxy unloading
precious cargo -- Airmen returning from deployment -- so he took a
20-minute detour to personally welcome home every returning Airman.
"It's indicative that at his last moment on the ramp, when he realized
there were Airmen returning, he delayed his departure and said let's go
meet those Airmen. Those Airmen had no idea, they just flew back from
their (area of responsibility), climbed off the plane, and here's the
secretary of defense welcoming them back," said Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria,
U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander. "As he said, he supports us