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Acting SecAF visits Hill AFB, focuses on supporting Airmen and Guardians

Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth is greeted by Col. Jason Bartolomei, Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Systems Directorate director.

Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth is greeted by Col. Jason Bartolomei, Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Systems Directorate director, during a visit to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, March 24, 2021. The visit was Roth’s first to Hill as Acting SECAF, which included meetings with Airmen and Guardians from the 75th Air Base Wing, Ogden Air Logistics Complex, 388th Fighter Wing, Reserve 419th Fighter Wing, and Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Systems Directorate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth visited Hill Air Force Base March 24 to check in with Airmen and Guardians and plugin with Hill’s mission sets.

On his first visit to Hill AFB, Roth witnessed the 75th Air Base Wing, Ogden Air Logistics Complex, 388th Fighter Wing, Reserve 419th Fighter Wing, and Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Systems Directorate.

Roth said he was impressed with the diversity of Hill’s missions and was especially interested in the work underway in the GBSD Directorate.

“They are using very new and innovative acquisition processes, and I wanted to get a sense of how that happens,” Roth said of the work on the Ground Based Nuclear Deterrent. “Hill is a thriving enterprise, and I am glad I got the chance to visit.”

Roth also discussed issues facing the Air Force and Space Force and how he sees the services in the future.

He highlighted the resilience of service members in keeping the forces ready during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a result of a lot of hard work and creativity by our Airmen and Guardians, the Air Force and Space Force have been able to show the American people that when called, we are ready to go,” Roth said.

He also encouraged service members to get available COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’ve been a bit of a proselytizer in encouraging all Airmen and Guardians to get the vaccinations,” he said. “We want to avoid any reversal of the progress we’ve made today so we can get back to business as we normally do.”

Roth, who has served 47 years in federal service and accepted the position of acting Air Force secretary upon the arrival of the new administration, talked about his goals while leading the Air Force.

“My role in the short term is to figure out where we go with the next budget,” said Roth. “We are working with the Secretary of Defense on the balance required to meet our missions both today and into the future.”

The acting secretary praised both the Air Force and Space Force chiefs of staff for leading their services with a view for the future.

“Gen. Brown has been very clear in saying we need to accelerate and move out,” said Roth. “We have issues to tackle in terms of modernization of various aircraft programs and the potential of retiring some legacy systems in order to maintain our capabilities and anticipate the threats we perceive in 2030.”

“The Space Force’s first year was about establishing its position as a separate force,” said Roth. “Gen. Raymond has been adamant about integrating the Space Force with related activities. Space is a warfighting domain, and we need to make some smart decisions about how we get after that.”

Finally, Roth talked about the Air and Space Forces’ most valuable asset, its people.

“The new Secretary of Defense is challenging all of us to take care of our people,” said Roth. “There is a wide range of issues we are taking a look at in terms of diversity, extremism, and resilience.”

Roth’s visit to Hill was one in a series of stops this week at Air Force installations to discuss their missions and connect with Airmen and Guardians.

“Our Air Force is in great hands under the leadership of Acting Secretary Roth,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “We are glad he got the opportunity to see the vital role Hill plays in the nation’s defense, and we look forward to seeing the direction he takes the Air and Space Force.”