Gina Ortiz Jones, Under Secretary of the Air Force, discusses the war in Ukraine, next generation capabilities, and efforts to bring greater diversity to the Air Force.
On modernizing and equipping the Air Force with next generation capabilities: “It's just going to be a different set of capabilities that we need against the pacing challenge in an environment that we have not operated, in a way that we may need to in the future … What we had previously over the last 30 years is going to be insufficient against the pacing challenge.”
On breaking barriers and building a diverse Air Force: “You better believe when I walk into the Pentagon every day, I try to be that under secretary that I wish I would have had when I was that young cadet and that young officer … It's great to be the first. But it's more important that you're not the last. And so, having had my own experience and then having seen the ability given this perch to, really, with a pen, right, change some of these policies, change the realities, and change kind of how people see their opportunities with a career in the Department of the Air Force, it’s really humbling.”
On the keys to success: “I think to be successful, one, as a person, I think you've got to do three things. And these are the things that have continued to motivate me and guide me. One is, you know, be kind. Don't be a jerk. No one likes a jerk. Two, work hard … Don't get outworked. That, to me, is kind of the worst critique, which is if somebody says they think you're not working that hard. So work hard. And then three, be so good, be so good they cannot ignore you. I think in many spaces when you're still having the first or the second of … it really allows people to kind of question how you got there. Right? Or why you're here. But the fact that you're there is a real opportunity to show people why you are there. So, be so good they cannot ignore you … Those are the things that I think have been key to my own success and I hope key to others' success.”
This episode was recorded on March 30, 2022