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Gen. Schwartz outlines future role, relationship with Guard

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz speaks during a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States Sept. 22 in Baltimore. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Nick Choy)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz speaks during a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States Sept. 22 in Baltimore. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Nick Choy)

BALTIMORE (AFPN) -- The Air Force chief of staff reached out to National Guard leaders, inviting collaborative planning and support of the total force as he spoke at the National Guard Association of the United States Conference Sept. 22 here.

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz addressed 2,000 citizen-Soldiers and citizen-Airmen at the organization's 130th meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center.

He praised the National Guard's deep and influential connections with local communities, as well as the years of highly specialized and technical experience guardsmen bring to their military jobs.

"I commit that we will share the load and communicate openly on every decision that we face," he said.

He also issued a challenge to guardsmen.

"We need to define how we can contribute using new and innovative solutions for the future," he said.

General Schwartz said change is inevitable in the Air Force. Citing the use of newer technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems and developing reconnaissance missions, the Air Force has to redefine itself with fewer flying missions, but greater responsibilities. He added that regardless of where the assets come from, support of the "total force" construct must be based on the future role of the Air Force.

"Not what it was, nor what it is, but what it should be," he said. "What we have to do is figure out how to get the most productivity. Replicating what we currently do doesn't make sense."

He called for Airmen to embrace new missions and explore new technologies while concentrating on productivity. The general invited open and honest dialogue between all Airmen.

"I want people who deliver on their promises, talk straight, and who are looking for solutions," he said. "This is about defending our nation, and we will play whatever role is necessary."