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New Air Force adviser chosen for values, vision

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2005) -- Air Force officials have created a new adviser position to help ensure the Air Force's core values are integrated into all aspects of the service's operating concepts, policies and vision.

Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff, former national director of the Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, was named special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force and to the chief of staff for values and vision June 24.

Rabbi Resnicoff began work June 27 and will report directly to the secretary, but will also advise the Air Force chief of staff.

In his new position, Rabbi Resnicoff's immediate focus will be to advise Michael L. Dominguez, acting secretary of the Air Force, on how best to implement the recommendations from the Headquarters Review Group and the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces regarding the religious climate at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The academy recently underwent review by a group sent by Mr. Dominguez to investigate allegations of religious intolerance. The group produced a report that made recommendations on how to improve the climate at the school. Mr. Dominguez said Rabbi Resnicoff is the right person to help implement those recommendations and to help the Air Force ensure core values are present throughout the service.

"Rabbi Resnicoff is the right person at the right time," Mr. Dominguez said. "His unique combination of military service and interfaith experience, combined with being a recognized authority on ethics and values, make him uniquely suited to help us as we strengthen and reaffirm our commitment to our Air Force core values."

The rabbi will have the additional responsibility of reviewing Air Force values-based programs, initiatives, policies and doctrine. These include anything related to character development or the building of Air Force leaders, honor codes, military and civilian equal opportunity programs and military ethics. He will be responsible for ensuring these programs are on the same "sheet of music" as Air Force core values.

Rabbi Resnicoff, a retired Navy captain, began his military career on the rivers of Vietnam's Mekong Delta and retired while assigned as command chaplain for U.S. European Command.

He is one of a small group of Vietnam veterans who helped create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, based on the vision that the time had come "To Heal the Nation." He delivered the closing prayer at its dedication.

The rabbi is active with many organizations and is on the board of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. His numerous honors include the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Chapel of Four Chaplains Hall of Heroes Gold Medallion.

The Air Force adviser position was created under the Department of Defense's Highly Qualified Experts Program, first unveiled in March 2004. The program allows the department to use as many as 2,500 people who are characterized as "highly qualified experts" -- those individuals possessing uncommon, special knowledge or skills in a particular occupational field and who are regarded by others as an authority or practitioner of unusual competence and skill.

Individuals hired under the program would not perform ongoing DOD work, but would satisfy emerging and relatively short-term, nonpermanent requirements.