Integrating Air Force core competencies.
I'm pleased to be here and be with all of you. I think it's a vitally important time in the history of our Air Force, and I can't tell you how proud I am of being able to serve as Acting Secretary at a time when we're facing some challenges but we have this wonderful leadership in our Chief of Staff, General John Jumper. I'm honored and pleased to be able to serve with him.
I also want to thank you, "Pete-O" (retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Donald L. Peterson, AFA executive director), and Pat Condon (AFA chairman) as well for all you do for our Air Force through the Air Force Association. It's a wonderfully strong organization and one that has supported our Air Force for a great number of years. And as "Pete-O" mentioned, I am a life member of the Air Force Association and real pleased to be that because we need your help, for certain, as we go forth into this uncertain future that we're dealing with.
Just over two weeks ago now President Bush said the state of our union is confident and strong. Today, I am pleased to report you that the state of our Air Force is confident and strong.
We confidently face a wide variety of threats--ballistic and cruise missiles; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons; advanced surface-to-air missiles and sophisticated combat aircraft. These are wielded by non-state actors as well as established nations, rebels as well as immigrant insurgents, independent as well as state-sponsored terrorists.
As a strong part of the joint force we fight alongside our sister services, interagency partners, friends and allies to protect this nation and defend freedom around the world.
With that in mind I'd like to talk to you about what we bring to the fight, about what we're doing with our missions and our commitments and our capabilities. General Jumper will follow immediately with his perspective on where we're headed. Then we'll take questions together at the end.
Our Airmen are the fundamental reason that we have the greatest air and space force in the world. Their dedication, their professionalism and talent are unmatched. This I know for a fact is due in part to the great work that former Secretary Jim Roche and General Jumper have done over just the last few years in developing Airmen, our first core competency.
It might be said that developing Airmen is too basic to be a core competency because it's inherent in our mission, we have to do it. But that's kind of a limiting viewpoint. Developing Airmen is our first core competency not because we have to do it, but because we've chosen to do it extremely well. Our technical training is second-to-none. We emphasize professional education at every stage of every Airman's career and we offer tremendous opportunities for growth and development, all of which pays off in mission success.
As part of a powerful joint team our Airmen defended the air sovereignty of North America in Operation Noble Eagle; broke the Taliban's stronghold on Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom; and overthrew Saddam Hussein's corrupt regime in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As those operations continue, Airmen put their lives on the line every day, conducting counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, pursuing al-Qaeda remnants in Afghanistan and patrolling the skies over our great nation.
We ended 2004 with nearly 31,000 Airmen in Southwest Asia including 5,000 Air National Guardsmen and 2,500 Air Force Reservists flying over 200 sorties a day over Iraq and Afghanistan. To date they've flown over a quarter of a million sorties for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation and airlift. And that's just in the theater.
Daily Air Force operators in Nevada remotely pilot Predators over Iraq. Space professionals keep constant vigil over the global battlespace here at home. Reserve, Guard and active-duty pilots fly air defense missions for homeland defense.
And we've branched out from our traditional roles. Today when people talk about boots on the ground, many of those boots are worn by Airmen. Perhaps the most obvious examples are our battlefield Airmen. We introduced this group to you last year. These Airmen are extremely versatile.
Consider this--during March and April of 2004 Air Force tactical air control parties were involved in some of the coalition's heaviest fighting in Iraq. But recently, their missions are as likely to involve aerial surveillance of suspect terrorists or bringing in F-15s as a show of force, and actually directing bombs and bullets onto a target.
In addition to combat, battlefield Airmen have handled everything from monitoring school construction in Iraq to training Iraqi forces on terminal air control techniques, to directing close air support top cover for Army maneuvering units during the historic Iraqi elections.
In addition to battlefield Airmen, at the end of last year the Air Force was filling over 1,900 positions in 16 different combat support skills for the United States Army. The most visible role has been in combat convoys, unique small unit operations that require exceptional leadership, teamwork and tactical skill.
Our Airmen are up to the task as members of the 447th Air Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron showed in March of last year. Driving in a joint Army/Air Force convoy north of Baghdad they came under small arms fire. Several convoy members were wounded. Two Airmen First Class, Shina Watkins and Raoul Mexicano, immediately opened fire with their turret guns. They covered other squadron members as they got into position and together they quickly put down the attack. Sadly, one soldier died from enemy fire but the toll could have been much worse if not for their quick thinking, superb training and excellent teamwork.
While conducting homeland defense and prosecuting the global war on terror, our dedicated Airmen also are busy elsewhere in the world. Airmen stationed in South Korea along with Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and South Korean allies bring regional stability and deter aggressors. In the Balkans, Airmen help NATO enforce peace accords and they have flown more than 27,000 sorties in NATO-led operations Joint Forge and Joint Guardian. For 15 years, we've fought against illegal drug trafficking alongside the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and we've continued our tradition of humanitarian missions. We delivered 120 tons of relief supplies in the first few days after the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Airmen of the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron saw first-hand the need, the resilience and the gratitude of the tsunami victims. Flying in their HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters to deliver supplies to Pottuvil, a small town right on the ocean of Sri Lanka's east coast, they estimated that seven out of every ten buildings were completely destroyed, washed away. The rest were heavily damaged.
They landed safely in a field covered with debris. Along one side of the field, power lines had been stripped from their poles but on their second flight in, the power lines weren't on the ground any more. The Sri Lankans had repaired them, with our help, in under three hours.
One Airman, Master Sgt. Keith Kolb, particularly remembered a boy who had tried to follow him into the helicopter. He was about 12 years old and tried to look strong, even though he was on the verge of tears. Before aid workers led him away, the boy shook Sergeant Kolb's hand for a few seconds, then grabbed his hand and kissed it. It was one of a hundred gestures of gratitude our Airmen will never forget.
We accomplish all of these extraordinary missions under the air and space expeditionary force concept which lets us organize, train and sustain the total force in a systematic, effective and efficient manner. We've found that despite deployments and hardships, Airmen are satisfied with their work, their missions, and their accomplishments. Our Airmen live the Air Force core values--integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do.
Our Airmen take great care of their Air Force and they trust the Air Force to take great care of them. The best evidence of this, generally they don't want to leave the service. Last fiscal year, for instance, we decreased our accession goals by approximately 3,000 and still ended up over our congressionally authorized end strength.
As President Bush said in his State of the Union Address when talking about all service members, "We have given them training and equipment and they have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud."
I certainly am very proud of our Airmen and I know you are, too.
When it comes to the fight, though, our Air Force and all our modern armed services depend on technology. That's why transitioning technology to warfighting is another of our core competencies in the Air Force.
To move technology to warfighting we apply the capabilities-based approach to war planning and force development. Instead of focusing on what platform we might build, we examine what battlespace effects the joint warfighter needs and then, what capabilities will deliver those effects.
We codified this approach in the Capabilities Review and Risk Assessment process, which provides an operational, capabilities and risk-based focus for investment decisions. Those investments produce the technologies, which provide the capabilities, which produce the battlefield effects.
We use seven different operational concepts to examine our needs and forge our capabilities. Let me hit a few high points of some of these concepts.
Under the Global Mobility Concept we project, employ and sustain U.S. power in support of our global interests. We usually think of that in terms of military power but our airlift fleet also helps us project moral power. Last July 4, coalition Special Operations Forces conducted Operation Independence to drop humanitarian supplies into Afghanistan. They delivered school supplies for more than 30 classrooms; Afghanistan flag stickers to help build national pride; and more than 500 portable hand-cranked radios so locals could receive impartial news about the upcoming elections. The goods were delivered at night, precisely on target from an MC-130 Talon. It was all part of a coordinated effort to improve Afghani quality of life and another flight toward a democratic Afghanistan.
The Mobility Capabilities Study should be released soon and will baseline future wartime airlift requirements and feed into our capabilities-based planning process.
Another key to Global Mobility is aerial refueling and our tanker fleet, as you know, isn't getting any younger. We're working with the Department of Defense and the Congress to analyze alternatives and find the right solution for the Air Force and for our nation.
Global Mobility gets us there, with Global Strike, we apply combat power. Our primary modernization program under Global Strike is the F/A-22 Raptor.
Now I haven't flown the F/A-22, but I certainly do know someone who has and he's going to speak to you next, as a matter of fact, and I know he'll have something to say about the F/A-22. I do, too. It's a marvelous airplane that has gotten into its independent testing phase and is performing remarkably well.
I "know too, that you recognize that in the President's 2006 budget the funding for F/A-22 was cut off after the fiscal 2008 year. I would tell you that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, at a meeting that both General Jumper and I attended, agreed that there is no question about the fact that we need the F/A-22. The question revolves around the idea of how many do we really need. That is a subject that will be front and center in our Quadrennial Defense Review.
I know, too, that there are a lot of different figures and numbers that you can hear on the cost of F/A-22. I will just tell you this. In the budgeting exercise that we completed last year we cut slightly over $10 billion from the F/A-22 line in 2009, 2010 and 2011. For that $10.5 billion, we eliminated 100 airplanes. That's about $100 million per airplane, isn't it? So I would just simply say that we need, in our QDR, to examine the cost and the capability that would come from adding those 100 airplanes back into our FYDP.
Now I do have it on very good authority that the F/A-22's avionics are superior. It maneuvers like a dream. Supercruise is unbelievable stuff. This aircraft will guarantee our air dominance and give our joint forces unparalleled freedom of action. So we're taking them as fast as the factory can turn them out right now and we hope to continue to do so. The right number of F/A-22 aircraft is one of the subjects, as I say, that the QDR will address this year.
I was extremely pleased to learn that the terms of reference have been modified and, thanks in large part to the efforts of General Jumper, the services will now have a very active role in the review. It's appropriate that we participate meaningfully in shaping the future of our Air Force and the Department of Defense as we take on this difficult Quadrennial Defense Review activity.
But back to Global Strike. We also count on the Predator, a remotely piloted aircraft in this category. Talk about a transformation of how we provide military capability, from mission control in the U.S. it provides persistent ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), acquires time-sensitive targets and strikes them with Hellfire missiles--the sensor and the shooter on the same platform.
Global Strike is evolving, focusing on the effect of striking a target, not the platform that strikes it. General Jumper will have more to say about that in a few moments.
Under nuclear response we will continue to maintain our part of the strategic triad to deter or respond to nuclear aggression. For example, we're modernizing the Minuteman III missile system by changing out the solid rocket motors and the guidance packages, and we installed the Minuteman Essential Emergency Communications Network, survivable link, at Malmstrom Air Force Base (Wyo.). In addition, we're studying how to evolve new systems to fit into the Department of Defense's new triad, a national portfolio that features nuclear and non-nuclear strike capabilities and active and passive defenses.
Under the C4ISR operational concept we provide persistent situational awareness and decision-quality information to combatant commanders. Just before a special mission in Iraq we got a request for critical space support. We used multiple systems to complete time sensitive collections against the target area--a difficult endeavor when you can't break the laws of physics, and gut-wrenching when you need the data for troops going into harm's way. But within hours of the final collection we had passed the last crucial bit of data to the mission planners. They used the characteristics of the target area to plan safe entry and exit routes around significant obstacles and the operation succeeded with no loss of life.
To guarantee the full spectrum of capabilities we use multi-source information from a mix of manned, unmanned and space systems. Some comes from remotely piloted vehicles such as Predator and Global Hawk. Eventually, some will come from near-space assets. It's been my privilege for the last three years plus to concentrate on the space-based portion of our C41SR architecture, and indeed, all of our space systems. I'm pleased with the progress that we've made in National Security Space to modernize critical launch, navigation, missile warning, weather, communication and surveillance capabilities, but we have more work to do.
In the past few months I had the good fortune to visit space professionals at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (Fla.) and Vandenberg Air Force Base (Calif.) to kick off the processing for the last two Titan IV launch vehicles in our fleet. They're scheduled to launch yet this year, in April and in June, and I must say it will mark the end of an era. Probably never in the history of the Titan family have two more important launches been on the horizon.
Indeed, another era ended just two weeks ago when the last Atlas III placed a National Reconnaissance Office payload on orbit. It was the 75th consecutive successful launch for an Atlas launch vehicle and we have an upgraded Atlas V to carry on that tradition, complemented by another Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, the Delta IV, to ensure our access to space.
National Security Space today provides critical support for warfighting operations. We provide the world's standard for satellite navigation. We warn troops and national leaders of missile launches. The SpaceBased Infrared System will provide a transformational leap in that capability.
We carry communications to and from every part of the planet. Transformational satellite communications, starting with Wideband Gap Filler that will launch late this year, and moving through Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellites on to TSAT--Transformational Satellite using laser communications, will extend the global information grid to warfighters with dramatically improved and increased connectivity. We delivered unparalleled ISR capabilities and the restructured space-based radar effort will meet both military and intelligence needs.
As reliant as we are on space capabilities, we must prepare for adversaries to confront us on this high ground, so we're pursuing space superiority based on comprehensive space situational awareness and defensive and offensive counter-space. Those capabilities are being brought on-line by Air Force Space Command, and Air Force Space Command is under the very strong and able leadership of General Lance Lord, from whom you'll hear a little bit later today.
For example, last year our counter-communication system went operational. A selective and reversible capability we will employ when necessary to deny an adversary the use of satellite communications.
An additional capability I'd like to say just a few words about now is agile combat support. Our Airmen, military and civilian, do incredible agile combat support work at our Air Logistics Centers. If it's broken, they fix it. If it's old, they make it like new. If it can be made better, they find a way to do it. They work magic every day, but even their magic can't keep sustainment costs from rising.
We desperately need to recapitalize our fleets so we don't keep paying more and more to keep older systems operating. Often agile combat support is hard because our infrastructure is deteriorating. From airfields and hangars to water lines and electrical networks, to air traffic control approach and landing systems, let's talk a few specifics.
The runway at Offutt AFB, Neb., was declared a safety hazard during an inspection three years ago. The main runway at Edwards AFB, Calif., is nearly 50 years old and is rapidly deteriorating. In five years we don't expect it to be functional any more. And it's not just runways. The overhead electrical power system at McGuire AFB, N. J., is also 50 years old. Overseas bases are hurting, too. The communications squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, is scattered across the base in 10 separate buildings, including old dilapidated Quonset huts. We can do better for our Airmen.
We're addressing these problems with a strategy to dispose of excess facilities, sustain the needed infrastructure and invest in future modernization. This brings to mind the issue of base realignment and closure. This is the year of BRAC (base reduction and realignment). BRAC's activities have been underway for virtually all of last year with data gathering and analysis and the Air Force has done a great job of thinking ahead and positioning ourselves.
It's important for us to realign our bases and close some in a positive way. General Jumper and I recently went to the first Senior Executive Council meeting and we'll filter through some of the things associated with the BRAC study. Excellent work has been done so far, I do believe. No decisions have been made yet.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld will inform Congress of our final BRAC list on May 16, 2005.
Our third core competency, Integrating Operations, brings everything together for the combatant commander. We don't design, acquire and maintain systems because we're captivated by technology. Fighting the war is what it's all about. We do that best when we integrate our operations with those of our sister services and agencies.
As far as joint operations are concerned, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Integrating operations begins with integrating systems like the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, which started off primarily as an ISR collection platform but now flies prepared for combat, armed with Hellfire missiles, controlled from the U.S. over satellite communications links as it searches for, identifies and destroys targets. Like our communications networks, linked by copper cable, fiberoptics and radio frequency waves that enable troops at the front to know part of what their commander knows, and their commander to see part of what they see, and all to get additional input from ISR assets. Our air and space ISR assets collect data that are analyzed and distributed to the Air and Space Operations Center and the joint force headquarters. We build a clear picture of the order of battle, plan the operation, and communicate the plan. We move troops and supplies into position. Special Operations Forces, reconnaissance aircraft and low-flying satellites collect more intelligence to give the joint force commander the best decision-quality information. We relay orders and intelligence data throughout the theater as far forward as our links will take them, and then we strike quickly, precisely, and hard. That is integrating operations for warfighting effects.
But integrating operations goes further. It must go further than linking technologies together. It must include integrating tactics, techniques and procedures to produce the greatest battlefield effects. And integrating knowledge, experience and doctrine so the systems get used for maximum effectiveness when applied.
The most innovative concepts and most effective and efficient use of military resources will come by understanding both the unique capabilities the Air Force brings to bear and the capabilities of our sister services. Then we can bring them together in new ways that will produce the effects we need adapted to the level of conflict we're fighting. Airmen, of course, need to be experts in applying air and space power, but this core competency requires that we understand the range of warfighting--air, land, sea, and space--so we can combine our skills under the joint commander.
Our three core competencies work together to develop and maintain our military edge. We're using them to anticipate the battlespace effects required for future joint encounters, plan for the capabilities to deliver those effects, and create a force with those capabilities.
Now as I said earlier, we face a wide variety of threats from a shifting lineup of adversaries. To defeat those threats we need determination and the ability to adapt to changing world situations and changing technologies.
About 18 months before the Air Force became a separate service, this week in 1946, the world's first computer was dedicated at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC weighed about 30 tons. It took almost 200 kilowatts of power to run. It could add, subtract, multiply, divide, and extract square roots.
Fast-forward a brief 32 years. This week in 1978 the very first computer bulletin board went on-line in Chicago. Now, only 27 years after that fledgling network we've got a computer dependent global information grid and we're planning to extend it into orbit as soon as we can.
That's just one illustration of the pace of change. But as the world continues to change we'll adapt to the new security environment, to changing numbers and types of adversaries, to new threats. But what won't change is our dedication to defending our great nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, the state of the Air Force is confident and strong and I know it will remain that way.
Thank you for your warm hospitality, kind attention, and your service to our Air Force and the United States. Thank you.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||2005 Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium|
|Author:||Teets, Peter B.|
|Publication:||Air Force Speeches|
|Date:||Feb 18, 2005|
|Previous Article:||Challenges and capabilities of the U.S. Air Force.|
|Next Article:||Toward new air and space horizons.|