Ready for the mission, ready for the challenges

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- First, I would like to thank our AEDC team and the community for the world-class reception you have given to my wife, Debbie, and me.

We are absolutely thrilled with our assignment - an assignment that I requested.

While being given this opportunity to live in this wonderful part of the country and to join this fantastic community is a great benefit, I requested to come to AEDC because I believe in the mission.

Our mission is absolutely critical to national security. If the United States is going to continue to be an air and space power, we need the capability to build and test the systems that take us there.

This is what AEDC does and why I am excited to be here.

Work done at AEDC last year, five years ago, 15 years ago and 25 years ago ensured that the United States possessed the most capable air and naval forces in the world.

In turn, the work we are doing today will ensure we dominate the skies five years, 15 years and 25 years from now.

In the history of AEDC, there have been many challenges and this team of military, government and contractors has always met these challenges head-on and beat them.

While many of these challenges will be technical, some will be fiscal as well.

I want you all to know that I will do my absolute best to advocate for the sustainment of our test capabilities (both facilities and intellectual capital).

From my vantage point, the capability that AEDC brings represents a national treasure - a treasure built by visionaries who understood the criticality of ground testing for successful weapon system development.

It was built because these same visionaries took the long view.

They were able to understand the environment they operated in and over the history of AEDC adapted as this environment changed. This agility and ability to adapt ensured the continued viability of our test facilities.

As we all know, the nation is dealing with difficult economic times. Consequently, we will need to demonstrate the same agility and the same ability to adapt as those before us.

Our team needs to work together to ensure the U.S. continues to dominate the sky, space and cyberspace.

We need to understand the role we play for the nation is vital. Most importantly, it is vital to our troops in the field today and tomorrow.

Every day, our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines go across the wire. When they cross the wire, they are not alone.

In theater today, with a simple call on the radio, a young warrior of 20 or 21 years of age will bring fire from the air to our nation's enemies.

This fire will save their lives.

This fire will bring a warrior home to a mother, father, spouse or child.

This fire is available because of the great work done at AEDC.

This is why we will adapt to meet the challenges and this is why I am at AEDC!