Hecker leaves Maxwell, Air University for Europe > Air Education and Training Command > Viewing the article

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.– General James Hecker assumed command of US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command on June 27, 2022, as Europe faces challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Before leaving Maxwell, Hecker sat down for an interview with Air University Public Affairs to talk about his time as Air University Commandant and President (November 2019-June 2022).

A lieutenant general at the time of this interview, Hecker received his fourth star and command assignment after confirmation by the Senate on June 23, 2022.

Air University Public Affairs: What was your priority during your tenure as Commandant and President of the Air University?

Hecker: “I received a number of priorities from Air Force leadership when I arrived. Although the AU has done a lot to achieve the set goals, I think the one priority that became the common thread was recruiting and retaining quality people. Initiatives to raise awareness when recruiting faculty or providing greater family stability by extending the length of student tours so they can also teach, have borne fruit over the past two years. People will always be your common denominator of success, and it’s certainly no different here.

AUPA: What are you most proud of during your time at Maxwell?

Hecker: “If I had to choose one, it would be the great work that has broken down barriers and made the river region a better place to live not only for our Airmen, but more importantly for the local community. . K-12 education opportunity initiatives and improvement through expanding the pool of skilled workers through spousal reciprocity are other areas that come to mind. The power of our Air University team working side-by-side with our local and state leaders has paid huge dividends that will be felt for years to come.

AUPA: As Europe struggles and our potential adversaries gain military capability and capability, what do you think of the Air University’s role in training the Airmen you will lead in Europe?

Hecker: “The role of the Air University in developing leaders cannot be overstated. Strategic competition with our potential adversaries demands critical thinking from our NCOs, officers and civilians. With the future employment of the Air Force in joint operations in all domains and the use of agile combat employment, our leaders will be tested, and the education that the Air University provides is essential to this. development of the capacities of reflection and understanding of adversaries as well as partner countries. The Air University’s Institute of Chinese Aerospace Studies is a great example of education and understanding competition.

AUPA: The Air Force faces a more constrained resource environment, has the Air University addressed this issue?

Hecker: “Yes. Budgets could be stretched in the very near future. By its very nature, Air University generates in-depth research from students and faculty that challenges the status quo and forces thinking about change. We created AUIX, our innovation cell, which works across academia and industry to identify and connect promising knowledge capital to develop effective innovation. Blue Horizons is another example of using the intelligence of Airmen to provide creative solutions to the Air Force. Innovation in schools and centers, as well as the support of commanders in the field, are all a critical asset for the Air Force as a whole.

AUPA: Do you have a final thought?

Hecker: “Although this assignment comes at short notice, it would be wrong not to publicly thank the faculty, students and staff of Air University and Maxwell Air Force Base. Additionally, our partners in the River Region and Alabama as a whole have not only been great partners, they have become great friends to Terrie and me. My time at Maxwell was amazing and it’s only because of these people. As Terrie and I leave for Germany, we leave with a sense of accomplishment and great memories, thanks to all of you. Thank you for your friendships, your partnerships in what we have been able to do, and most importantly, what you will continue to do as the university and mission partners continue to build for greater things.

Mary I. Bruner