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Air Force releases new mission statement

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The realities of the world have changed dramatically since the creation of the Air Force in 1947 and continue to change almost daily.

With these changes in mind, Air Force leaders released a new mission statement Dec. 7 that defines the current and future direction of the Air Force.

"Today, our world is fast paced, constantly shifting and filled with a wide range of challenges," Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley wrote in a joint Letter to Airmen. "Our mission is our guiding compass, and it must be clearer than ever before."

The mission statement defines the "where and what" the Air Force accomplishes on a daily basis:

The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in air, space, and cyberspace.

The statement includes two new concepts, "sovereign options" and “cyberspace,” which the secretary and chief defined.

They said having sovereign options is the essence of being a superpower.

"Our task is to provide the National Command Authority and the combatant commanders with an array of options ... options that are not limited by the tyranny of distance, the urgency of time, or the strength of our enemy’s defenses," they said. "With one hand the Air Force can deliver humanitarian assistance to the farthest reaches of the globe, while with the other hand we can destroy a target anywhere in the world."

The term cyberspace includes network security, data transmission and the sharing of information.

"We have quite a few of our Airmen dedicated to cyberspace ... from security awareness, making sure the networks can't be penetrated, as well as figuring out countermeasures," Secretary Wynne said. "The Air Force is a natural leader in the cyber world and we thought it would be best to recognize that talent."

Adversaries of the United States will use any method or venue necessary to contest America, and it is an Airman's calling to dominate air, space and cyberspace, the leaders said.

"If we can decisively and consistently dominate our assigned commons, then we will deter countless conflicts," they said. "If our enemies are foolish and underestimate our resolve, then we will fly, fight, and destroy them."

Using past air power pioneers as examples of understanding the mission, they said, "Our new mission statement has evolved over time, but it does not change the nature of who we are or what we do."