Joe Foss Field / Sioux Falls, S.D. --
Brig. Gen. Russ Walz, South Dakota's Assistant Adjutant General for Air, has been selected as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Director, Air and Cyberspace Operations, Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
According to PACAF’s website, PACAF is one of nine U.S. Air Force major commands and the air component of U.S. Pacific Command. Their primary mission is to provide ready air and space power to promote U.S. interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. PACAF’s area of responsibility (AOR) is home to 60 percent of the world’s population in 36 nations spread across 53 percent of the Earth’s surface.
“It’s a very busy AOR, so that makes it pretty exciting work,” said Walz. “It is an opportunity in another part of the world I really have not had a lot of exposure to, and an opportunity to see some new places and meet a lot of new people.”
In his new position Walz will be directly supporting the director of air and cyberspace operations.
“The position oversees three numbered air forces and ten wings that have about 46,000 Airmen under it,” said Walz. “Basically we provide all the space and cyberspace operations for PACAF in support of commanders’ objectives for the Pacific theater.”
There’s a lot more to the job than just the technical aspect of space and cyberspace operations. Building and maintaining relationships around the world is also vital to mission success.
“Another big part of the position is about uniting allies and partners to basically enhance regional stability and security,” said Walz. “A big part of the job is a lot of engagement with partner countries and allies.”
Walz was selected for this position from a pool of Air National Guard general officers. His specific skill sets and experience are what led to his selection. He will be dual-hatted, meaning he will maintain this new position in PACAF as well as his position as Assistant Adjutant for Air and will travel back and forth fulfilling his duties.
Maintaining two significant jobs will certainly come with challenges, but it’s all a part of one of the Air Force’s core values, service before self; a core value Walz embodies well.
“I’m excited to contribute in any way I can,” he said.