Message from Air Commodore

Dawn McCafferty RAFR

Commandant Air Cadets

"As I assume command of the Air Cadet Organisation today, I wish you all to know how very proud I am to have been given the privilege of leading such an amazing national uniformed youth organisation. I aspired to this appointment when serving as a Regular RAF officer and I am delighted to have the opportunity to return to uniform as an RAF Full Time Reservist and work with you all in delivering a cadet experience that is second-to-none.

I am acutely conscious that, with so many cadets, volunteers and staff dispersed so widely across the UK and overseas, it will take some considerable time for me to meet many of you and I know that even with a four-year assignment ahead of me, there may be some units I miss; but it won't be for want of trying. I promise all of you that I will do my best to visit you, to see cadets in action and to support and thank the thousands of volunteers and staff who make the cadet experience possible. Naturally, when I cannot meet you in person, I will endeavour to ensure strong and effective communication up and down the command chain so I know what is causing concern or stress at Squadron, Wing or Regional level and can work with the HQ, Air Command and MOD staffs to represent the air cadet perspective to the best of my ability.

I am also aware that we live in challenging times and that, even with unprecedented Government and national support for youth organisations, Defence Transformation and the need for budgetary restraint will impact on what we do and how we do it. We will need to respond to a myriad of challenging circumstances that will require us to be imaginative, brave, resilient and flexible if we are to continue to grow the Organisation whilst maintaining the safety of the young people entrusted to our care.

I am determined to live up to the ACO motto "Venture Adventure" and to protect the core cadet activities that make our organisation unique. Flying, both gliding and Air Experience Flights, is at the heart of our syllabus and I look forward to seeing the results of a study that has just been endorsed by the AOC into the future delivery of this core activity that marks us out from our fellow cadet organisations. I also wish to strengthen where possible, the ACO's engagement with the serving RAF as I believe this is to the mutual benefit of all.

I close by paying tribute to my predecessor, Air Commodore Cooper, who I know put her heart and soul into the ACO for the last two years. Her focus on governance and safety has undoubtedly provided a firmer foundation to underpin the cadet experience and has improved its quality. I, in turn, plan to build on those excellent foundations, supported by the many experts within the staff and volunteer cadres.

I very much look forward to working with you all over the coming months. For the interim, please continue to give your very best, be that as a cadet, an adult volunteer, a member of the civilian committee or permanent staff, as I will be relying on you all to maintain and enhance the reputation of the ACO, wherever you are and whatever role you play. I am proud to be associated with such a great team and I look forward to the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I have no doubt that, together, we can continue to deliver a world-class uniformed youth organisation of which the RAF and the Nation can be proud."

Dawn McCafferty