By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody visited Peterson Air Force Base June 29 as part of a visit to the Front Range. During the stop Cody took time for a question and answer session with enlisted members of Team Pete, Schriever Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.
Cody fielded questions from the crowd on topics ranging from housing allowance to carrying firearms on base.
The first question asked was when guidance to major commands related to transgender service members was expected. Cody said everything was in place (Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the opening of the Department of Defense to transgender people on June 30) for such guidance to come forth.
“The easy part is how we treat each other,” Cody said. “We treat each other with respect. If you can serve you should be able to serve, that’s the bottom line.”
The next question referred to Basic Allowance for Housing. Cody shared his thoughts about the changes in relation to active duty Airmen.
“I encourage you to look at today’s legislation, because it will affect all Airmen,” he said. “We will revert back to what it was… 30 years ago,”
Cody said last year’s legislation on the matter looks good in comparison to what is being offered today. Air Force leadership is working with members of Congress to let them know the suggested legislation is not good.
“It would be the largest military pay cut ever,” Cody said. “Ever.”
He encouraged Airmen to contact elected representatives and make their opinion known. Another question later in the session asked how Airmen could get involved in politics without breaking regulations. Cody’s answer was simple.
“Don’t break regs,” he said. On a more serious note he said service members follow the orders of the Commander-In-Chief, but that doesn’t mean they give up the right to representation.
“You just can’t do it and represent yourself as a member of the Air Force,” Cody said.
When asked about when a formal decision about when on and off duty personnel will be able to carry firearms, openly or concealed, on base Cody said there are really two different conversations on the matter. When related to war there is a clear objective and target.
“We know the enemy is outside the tent,” he said. Increasing arms among those protecting installations is usually good enough and it has taken place in a number of locations.
Cody said some measures, such as unit marshalling, are implemented to increase safety and that there are provisions in place for leadership to allow those who have conceal/carry permits in the state where they are living to do so on bases. He did say that it is not a simple issue to address and advises caution. He said there are people who are trained to handle situations like active shooter scenarios, but having several armed by standers who may not know exactly who poses the threat could be dangerous.
“It’s a discussion leadership is having. They are looking at probably increasing (the number of people on base who are armed,” said Cody.
Among the various ways today’s Air Force is looking at the best ways to meet demands of the future, space is a subject drawing a lot of attention from the global community.
Space is drastically changing, Cody said. Air Force Space Command Commander Gen. John Hyten is transforming the way the world thinks about space and how it is defended and controlled.
“It’s a domain where we have to be offensive and defensive in a much different way,” he said. “It’s such a large domain with so much going on on any given day.”
Cody thanked those attending for their service and commitment, as well as their husbands and wives for the sacrifices they make supporting their military spouses.