WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Air Force announced March 26 a broad series of directives aimed at addressing the climate at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The directives, designed to ensure the Academy is a safe, secure environment for cadets who will be trained to become leaders in the service, come in the wake of a series of reports of sexual assault at the Colorado Spring, Colo. institution.
The directives come as the Air Force General Counsel's Working Group completes its review of policies and procedures concerning the alleged assaults at the Academy, and as the Air Force and Department of Defense Inspectors General review specific cases and additional process issues.
The changes announced are divided into four core areas: academy leadership, cadet life, officer and non-commissioned officer selection, and broader academy climate. The initiatives are described in a memorandum from Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John D. Dallager.
"The Air Force Academy exists to educate, train, and inspire young people to become leaders of character and officers in the U.S. Air Force," Roche said. "Prior to the arrival of the new class of cadets this June, we will implement changes to ensure the safety of all cadets while reinforcing academy ties to the active Air Force military culture."
"Secretary Roche and I wrote to the parents of incoming cadets to underscore our commitment to an academy that will provide the necessary mentoring, guidance, discipline, and mutual self respect to their sons and daughters as they receive a world-class educational and military experience," Jumper said. "These directives are tangible examples that we will fulfill that commitment."
The secretary agreed, adding that members of Congress have provided considerable assistance on academy issues. "Gen. Jumper and I appreciate the input we have received from the Congress, particularly the assistance that members of the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees have provided in this matter," Roche said.
The two leaders noted that, as the work of the Inspectors General continues, further directives may be considered as appropriate.
Roche and Jumper announced the following personnel changes: As previously planned, U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John D. Dallager will retire this summer after 34 years of distinguished service, including the past three years as superintendent.
"Serving our country, our Air Force, and the Air Force Academy has been a privilege and an honor that most only dream of. The Secretary and Gen. Jumper's vision for this institution is one that I proudly commend to my successors. I look forward to assisting them with the difficult challenges ahead in any way I can," Dallager said.
The Secretary of the Air Force has recommended to the Secretary of Defense that Maj. Gen. John W. Rosa Jr., be appointed as the next Superintendent. Upon approval, the Secretary of Defense will forward General Rosa's name to the President for nomination to the Senate. Rosa is currently deputy director of current operations on the Joint Staff. He is a 1973 graduate of the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. and past commandant of the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
"If confirmed by the Senate for this important position, I will be proud to help make Secretary Roche and Gen. Jumper's vision for the academy a reality. It is a responsibility that I will discharge to the absolute best of my ability," Rosa said.
Brig. Gen. S. Taco Gilbert III, 34th Training Wing commander and commandant of cadets, will be reassigned to the Pentagon, where he will serve as special assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs.
Brig. Gen. (Sel.) Johnny A. Weida, a 1978 graduate of the Air Force Academy, will succeed Gilbert. Weida currently commands the Squadron Officer College at Maxwell.
"The responsibility for a healthy and productive environment in which cadets can develop character and leadership is one that I accept humbly but with great sense of purpose," Weida said. "I look forward to helping to make a difference at our Air Force Academy."
Col. Robert D. Eskridge, currently vice commandant of cadets, will be reassigned. Col. Debra D. Gray, now with the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, will replace Eskridge. She graduated from the Academy in 1980.
Col. Laurie S. Slavec, 34th Training Group commander, will also be reassigned. She will be replaced by Col. Clada A. Monteith, deputy director for Security Forces at U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
The new leadership team has been briefed on the Air Force directives announced today, and will be empowered to take full ownership of the changes in dealing with recent sexual misconduct allegations, as well as the broader environment at the academy.
Roche said that while cadet behavior is at the core of this issue, the leadership must be responsible and accountable for the larger environment at this institution.
"As the problems regarding sexual assault allegations predate the current leadership, we do not hold Generals Dallager or Gilbert responsible," he said. "Still, change must occur, and a new leadership team to implement these changes is in the best interest of the academy and the Air Force."
Jumper added that the standards for the academy are high. "Our vision for the Academy is to make it the best and most respected military training and educational institution in the world - one that produces America's finest military officers, and a place where moms and dads are proud to send their children," Jumper said. "General Rosa, General select Weida, and Colonels Gray and Monteith have the background, experience, and leadership skills to see this vision through."
Lt. Gen. Dallager, Brig. Gen. Gilbert, and Cols. Slavec, and Eskridge are fine officers with tremendous records," Jumper said. "But with the challenges we face in putting and keeping the academy on the right track, the Secretary and I want a new leadership team to help us achieve our agenda for change."