SecAF gains perspective of Beale's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James shakes hands with maintenance Airmen from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron before flying in a U-2 Dragon Lady at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015.  The specialized pressure suit allows U-2 pilots to safely fly at altitudes reaching 70,000 feet. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James shakes hands with maintenance Airmen from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron before flying in a U-2 Dragon Lady at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015. The specialized pressure suit allows U-2 pilots to safely fly at altitudes reaching 70,000 feet. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talks to Team Beale in an all-call at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015. James visited the base to receive a first-hand perspective of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission and to address questions and concerns of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robert Scott)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talks to Team Beale in an all-call at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015. James visited the base to receive a first-hand perspective of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission and to address questions and concerns of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robert Scott)

Senior Airmen Kyle Lang (right) and Aaron Saenz (left), 9th Physiological Support Squadron launch and recovery technicians, help Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James properly dress in a high-altitude pressure suit at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015.  The specialized pressure suit allows U-2 Dragon Lady pilots to safely fly at altitudes reaching 70,000 feet. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dana J. Cable)

Senior Airmen Kyle Lang (right) and Aaron Saenz (left), 9th Physiological Support Squadron launch and recovery technicians, help Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James properly dress in a high-altitude pressure suit at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015. The specialized pressure suit allows U-2 Dragon Lady pilots to safely fly at altitudes reaching 70,000 feet. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dana J. Cable)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with Airmen about a variety of issues during a lunch at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 10, 2015. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robert Scott)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with Airmen about a variety of issues during a lunch at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 10, 2015. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robert Scott)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (left), walks to a U-2 Dragon Lady as Senior Airman Aaron Saenz, 9th Physiological Support Squadron launch and recovery technician, carries high-altitude pressure suit auxiliary equipment at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015. The specialized pressure suit allows U-2 pilots to safely fly at altitudes reaching 70,000 feet. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dana J. Cable)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (left), walks to a U-2 Dragon Lady as Senior Airman Aaron Saenz, 9th Physiological Support Squadron launch and recovery technician, carries high-altitude pressure suit auxiliary equipment at Beale Air Force Base, California, Aug. 11, 2015. The specialized pressure suit allows U-2 pilots to safely fly at altitudes reaching 70,000 feet. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dana J. Cable)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (left) greets Master Sgt. Jon Wilcox, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron U-2 crew chief, Aug. 10, 2015, at Beale Air Force Base California. James received familiarization training on the U-2 Dragon lady before flying in the aircraft. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (left) greets Master Sgt. Jon Wilcox, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron U-2 crew chief, Aug. 10, 2015, at Beale Air Force Base California. James received familiarization training on the U-2 Dragon lady before flying in the aircraft. James visited Beale to receive a first-hand perspective of high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from collection to dissemination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California -- The Honorable Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force, visited Beale Air Force Base, California, to get an up-close view of the high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission Aug. 10 to 12, 2015.

In addition to James gaining more knowledge of the base's mission, she was able to interact with Airmen, honorary commanders and Beale Military Liaison Committee. She visited the 1st, 12th and 99th Reconnaissance squadrons, the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, and held an all-call at the community center.

During James' all-call, she spoke about her three priorities: taking care of Airmen, balancing today's readiness with tomorrow's modernization, and making every dollar count. Included at the all-call, she answered questions ranging from the new retirement plan to extended maternity leave.

"Days like today, where I can get out and see what you do, helps me go back to Washington and better tell the story and to better work problems as I see them," James said.

James added she was able to gain the full scope of Beale; the ISR airframes, the 7th Space Warning Squadron, the Distributed Common Ground System-2, and other Total Force units here.

"The unique operating environment, the demanding mission requirements and the tireless dedication of our Beale Airmen can best be understood in person," James said.  "ISR continues to be the number one most requested capability of combatant commanders. I want Beale Airmen to understand that their mission is vital to delivering airpower worldwide, and this will remain critical to our national security."

Beale's 9th Reconnaissance Wing is responsible for providing national and theater command authorities with timely, reliable, high-quality, high-altitude reconnaissance products. The wing is equipped with the U-2 Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk and MC-12 Liberty reconnaissance aircraft to accomplish the mission around the globe. Operations span eight other locations, and 14 percent of Air Combat Command's deployed personnel, including in garrison, are from Beale.

"I'm always impressed by the high caliber of our Airmen, and Beale Airmen are no exception," James said. "They couldn't do what they do without the great support from the community, and we truly appreciate it."