The Air Force perspective.
I would like to chat with you about what this conference is about and what the core discussions are about today and that's this notion of interdependence. But let me talk to you about that from my perspective of what does that mean relative to the contributions of an air and space force? That's how I'd like to address some comments with you.
A lot has happened since we were together six months ago. A lot of things have gone on. We've had some interesting challenges on the Gulf Coast with bad weather; we've had some interesting challenges in South Central Asia with some earthquakes; we're still fighting in Afghanistan; we're still fighting in Iraq; doing business in the Horn of Africa; doing business in the Pacific. We've still got 700,000 plus of the finest Americans on the face of the earth involved in activities with the United States Air Force.
But one of the best things that's happened to us over the last six months is we now have Secretary Wynne on board. Secretary Wynne and his wife Barbara represent everything that we would want in a Secretary and a First Lady. For Jenny and me it's a particular honor to be able to serve alongside both of you, to represent this great Air Force and the city of Washington and at every opportunity that we can be together. Sir, thank you for your leadership, and thank you for taking this on and being a part of not just this crowd but of the 710,000 Airmen out there--Guardsmen, Reservists, civilians, active--that are doing the Lord's work today in defense of this great country.
Secretary Wynne took this job at exactly the right time. We're fighting a global war, a real global war. We're focusing on developing more expeditionary notions of Airmen and more expeditionary notions of presentation of forces. We're in the business, each and every one of us in this room, of looking for ways to better take care of our folks, to better develop Airmen and to better prepare them for this expeditionary world and this long war on terrorism. And we're in the middle of an interesting set of challenges on recapitalization of the oldest inventory in our service's history.
So we're blessed, Mr. Secretary, to have you on board with us.
He's got the right credentials to do this. He is a graduate of a service academy. It happens to be a different one. He was an Air Force officer, his brother was an Air Force officer. He's got a technical background and he knows more about acquisition and technology and the world of Washington and the Pentagon than anybody alive, so we can all rest assured that we have the right Secretary on board at the right time in our service's history.
Between BRAC, a hurricane or two, QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review), hearing prep and hearings, a new budget, executing an old budget, preparing a new budget, oh by the way, righting this war on terrorism, your senior Air Force leadership has been pedaling pretty fast. As I look out here on this front row, we just spent two days locked up at Maxwell (Air Force Base, Ala.) to talk about these very things alongside Chief Murray. We spent two straight days talking about the things that matter to our folks; talking about the things that matter in this joint and interdependent world we live in with coalition partners and joint partners, and we spent two days wrestling with the notions of recapitalization and modernizing this country's asymmetric advantage which is the U. S. Air Force.
So Don and Pat, Peto, Pat and Bob, let me just say thanks again for putting this together and the opportunity to share a few thoughts. You guys have done an awesome job and having it here in Central Florida is a real treat.
Chief (Gerald R.) Murray, (Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force), Godspeed to you and Sherry. As the Chief of a service and as a member of the Joint Chiefs, there's no better partner to have than you in this endeavor as you represent the enlisted men and women and the officers and the civilians of this great Air Force. This military body has never been stronger because of you and your efforts, and your legacy will continue for a long time. Thank you, and we all wish you the best.
But there's one other person here I would like to recognize too. This may be, it was his last Corona. It won't be his last Air Force Association get-together, but it may be with him wearing a uniform on the front row, and that's General Lance Lord (Commander, Air Force Space Command).
Lance, you've been a mentor, a friend, a brother, to all of us. You've taught us so much about a medium and a domain that is so critical te everything that we do. But beyond that you've been commander of numbered air forces, you've been a teacher, you've been an educator, you've been a trainer, you've been an operator, you've done all of this and you've clone it with such dignity and class the Air Force is also a better place just because of Lance Lord.
So my friend, we all wish you the best, you and Becky. Thank you for being a part of this front row, for keeping all of us straight. Thank you for teaching us how to think about space and how to orchestrate space and how to bring space to bear across the strategic and operational and tactical boundary, and to be able to bring whatever it is we need from orbit into a cockpit or onto the surface so we can do our business better.
So my friend, we wish you and Becky the best also, and Godspeed to you.
Let me chat a little bit in this notion of interdependence. What does an Air Force bring to this fight? What's different about an Air Force or an Army or a Navy? Because I think as we look at QDR and I think as we look at BRAC and I think as we look at budgets and I think as we look at all of these things it's useful to cage us back to true north every once in a while and just ask the question, what does an air and space force do? What makes it so unique? What makes it the asymmetric advantage for this great country?
Let me start with a little example. Sixty-two years ago today a great example of the attributes of then just air power I think are instructive for us. In late January 1944 allied leaders were able to conduct some negotiations with Russia to be able to get access to four airfields in western Russia, in Kiev and inside the Ukraine. The reason was because the mighty 8th Air Force and the 15th Air Force had pounded Germany industry to the extent that the Germans had begun to move key industrial sectors further east to attempt to get them out of range of the B-24s and the B-17s.
But after the approval of the use of these airfields, on Feb. 2, 1944, the mighty 8th and the 15th launched strikes out of Italy and out of East Anglia against those key industrial targets, much further east than we had been able to strike in the past and by using those four airfields brought all targets in Germany within range of Army air forces.
Remember, the reason this happened was because the mighty 8th and the 15th bomber command had pounded this war-sustaining industrial base to the extent that the Germans couldn't sustain themselves with the status quo and they had to do something different. So in this game of strategic dislocating activities, what other military arm was able to strike into the heart of Germany in 1944 prior to the invasion other than the might 8th and the 15th?
In doing this it provided no safe haven for any of the activities of the Third Reich. Rail yards, factories, depots, oil refineries, transportation nodes, all struck and continued to be struck.
What's even more instructive is in this business of this shuttle bombing was the notion of flying fighters alongside the B-17s and the B-24s to provided that force protection.
Imagine the frustration of those expert fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe when they realized that the B-17s did not turn around and head west or that the B-24s didn't turn around and head south, but they continued east and alongside them were squadrons of P-51s with the necessary drop tanks that provided them the range to provide the force protection for the bombers.
Also in an interesting historic note that is relative to the culture of this great Air Force, General Ira Eaker actually led that first raid of 129 B-17s launching out of the 15th from Italy.
So this Operation Frantic, as it was called, demonstrated again to the world that the speed, the range, the flexibility and the lethality of air power holds target sets at risk and today is what we would call on a global scale.
But there's another chapter to this. In order to sustain the operations for this operation, the airfields had to be resupplied and the only route to resupply those airfields in the Ukraine was by air. So the Air Transport Commands of 8th and 15th flew round-trip missions between Tehran, Iran to the bases near Kiev to provide the necessary fuel, munitions and sustainment items, which later in Afghanistan manifest itself again with Air Mobility Command's assets being able to fly every single war-sustaining item into the Afghan campaign.
So what I think this story brings out is the inherent uniqueness of air and now air and space power. Air power is not limited by oceans, by shorelines, by shallow water. It's not limited by mountains or mountain passes or rivers, shallow or deep. It's not limited even by distance. The uniqueness and the unique contribution in this world of interdependence that we're talking about is reflected by air and space power in the very nature of what it brings, in the notion of delivering sovereign options, or in the notion of holding a global set of activities or targets at risk.
In fact as we look to the future, as we recapitalize this great Air Force, the only thing that really limits us in this is our own imagination and our willingness to adapt and exploit emerging technologies.
From the beginning of powered flight and from the beginning of the space program, we've known that these are unique mediums. Land components, maritime components, and air and space components each have different missions in this world of interdependence and joint and coalition warfare. Let me share how I have come to think about this.
The U. S. Army is the dominant force in land warfare. It is the finest army ever fielded. It is the most capable army ever fielded or in fact ever imagined. It is without peer. But it is a land component activity. Its job is to seize and hold terrain.
The Navy--the U. S. Navy is the finest naval force ever fielded. Our Navy, and notice I say our Army and our Navy, our Navy has spent 200 years establishing dominance of international waters in the maritime domain. There is no peer to the U. S.. Navy, whether they are submarines, surface combatants or aviators operating off of Nimitz Class carriers. But the Navy is also a single domain activity in the fact that it is responsible for conduct of operations on the high seas.
Your Air Force is different. While the Army is responsible for the land domain and the Navy is responsible for a maritime domain, your Air Force is responsible for two domains--air and space. They are inherently different, but they are a continuum in a spectrum of activities from one centimeter off the surface to geosynchronous orbit. That's what we contribute. We contribute to this interdependent joint and coalition fight.
The early air and space pioneers knew this. Billy Mitchell, Frank Andrews, Hap Arnold, Bernie Schriever ... understood the freedoms that this medium allows a joint force commander and what these capabilities bring to the table. These pioneers realized from the moment you take flight things are different. From the moment you break the surface of the earth and you can look down on activities you know you are no longer limited by shallow water, shorelines, water, mountains, rivers. The characteristics of air and space power are constant. Vantage, you can see, you can assess. Speed, range, adaptability, flexibility, agility, percussion, precision, lethality.
So make no mistake, from the first flight that a lieutenant takes in a trainer or from the first opportunity one of our space operators has to operate a spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit and to be able to see the earth and to be able to look at this from the perspective of an Airman, it fundamentally alters your approach to how you contribute to warfare in the joint and coalition setting.
These same attributes of an air and space force let a joint commander simultaneously strike across strategic and operational and tactical boundaries. Think in terms of B-17s flying from East Anglia and Foggia in Italy and striking targets so far deep into the Third Reich that they had to continue into Russia. Way before the invasion in Normandy. But the Royal Air Force and the combined bomber offensive, to be able to strike targets into the homeland of your opponent before any land component is brought to bear is one of the outcomes of being able to capitalize on this unique nature of air and space power.
On a single mission a joint force commander can task his air component commander to strike war-sustaining infrastructure at global ranges. Petroleum; POL; power; lines of communication; conduct simultaneous, precise, time-sensitive targeting on emerging targets; to strike fielded forces; to strike command centers; to strike key leadership; to be able to interdict the movement of troops and supplies; to be able to provide close air support all the while conducting inter and intratheater lift and refueling and maintaining that global vigilance from orbit and from air-breathing systems.
Now in this world of striking platforms we can do a lot of this off of a single platform. Think of the difference of a B-17 and a B-2 where you fly the B-17 in groups of hundreds to be able to strike city block size targets. Now you can fly a B-2 from Whiteman (Air Force Base), Mo., to targets around Kabul and Kandahar, 42.5 hour missions, and drop the weapons, and the average miss distance of the weapons, whether they are 2,000 pounders or 500 pounders is inside the length of the weapon. And you can do that over and over and over and over again because of the unique nature of air and space power.
In the State of the Union Address, President Bush talked quite a bit about the war on terrorism. He gave great examples of the sacrifices and courage of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Airmen. Seeing Technical Sgt. Dana up on the upper dais of the House Chamber and the military working dog Rex, Tattoo E110, there in the House Chamber filled me with an incredible amount of pride knowing what that young lady has gone through and where that young lady is now. She personifies what all of us hold dear in this profession of arms and she is the representation of American Airmen today out there in harm's way doing what we do best.
But with her as a baseline, how do we prepare Airmen better in the future and how do we think about this war on terrorism and how do we prepare ourselves to be more expeditionary and to be more lethal and to be more capable and to contribute in this joint and coalition fight and to contribute to this notion of interdependence?
We've got an interesting set of lessons learned. A lot of you have heard me say this. We've been fighting solid for 15 years. From the time the first wing deployed into the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in August of 1990 and hostilities began in January of 1991, the U. S. Air Force, Total Force, has been fighting solid in the Middle East for 15 years. Twelve years in no-fly zones, Bosnia, Kosovo, then Afghanistan, then Iraq. In Afghanistan as of today we've been fighting solid there for 1,579 days--that's seven months longer than World War II.
So with this experience, what have we come away with on how to better prepare our people, and how to better think about joint interdependence, and how to think about what's required for the future?
I've got some details for you. Before I do that, let me also offer a notion that when folks who would do us harm wake up every morning and they begin to think through the notions and options of attacking or causing harm to American citizens or property or allied or coalition people or hardware, I wonder what it feels like to know that the first set of activities against them in reprisal for those activities will likely be delivered by the U. S. Air Force? How much fear does that put in the heart of an opponent to know that on a global scale the U. S. Air Force from orbit and from air-breathing systems can locate targets on a global scale, can locate activities or individuals on a global scale, and can hold those targets or those individuals or those activities at risk or strike them with the lethality of a weapon that detonates with a CEA of less than the length of a weapon, and that we can command and control this and we can assess the effect real time.
So it must be a bit discouraging in the world of dissuasion and deterrence to know that if you act against the United States or its interests or its coalition partners, the U. S. Air Force will find you and strike you and there is nothing you can do about it.
It kind of reminds you of that Harry Callahan line about you have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky?
How do I see this in terms of the contributions of an Air Force? I see this in a set of overlapping notions of global vigilance, of global strike, of global mobility. I see this as a set of overlapping opportunities from space, from air and on the surface. I think about activities that range from strategic attack to time-sensitive targets to persistent ISR to an unblinking eye to be able to better find and fix targets and to better be able to persist on a global scale.
Together, global strike, global mobility, global ISR or vigilance define the role of an air force. The role of an air force in today's world, I suggest to you, is air and space power as it contributes to this notion of interdependence. To hold any place on the surface of the planet at risk is an inherently tailored deterrence for the leadership of this country. We may never know what has not happened because of this capability. We will never know what has not happened because of the B-2 and the capabilities of the B-2 and the tanker force to get the B-2 to targets. We may never know what has not happened over the course of the last 25 or 30 years because we've had the F-15C Eagle which is the only fighter in the history of combat aviation that has had 104 to 0 kill ratio. We don't know what's not happened because of the men and women of the United States Air Force and what we bring to this joint and coalition fight.
So how can we do things slightly different? And let me come to a close here because I'm interested in your questions or comments.
I believe we can become much more expeditionary. I believe we can look for ways to become more interdependent with our joint and coalition partners. I believe there are ways to look at increasing the percentages of people in the U. S. Air Force that do deploy. I believe that every one of us should be a Geneva Convention card-carrying, deployable Airman trained and ready to go to any location on the surface of the earth and operate.
Out of Corona we discussed extending basic military training out to eight and a half weeks to include more training in expeditionary skills and small arms, in emergency medical skills, etc., to continue to better prepare our force for these expeditionary operations. We've also looked at including in the Senior NCO Academies, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College beginning next year the requirement for some language familiarization and more focus on regional skills. For all of you out there that will go to the Senior NCO Academy, ACSC or Air War College next year, you'll have an opportunity to take one of four languages. It will not be an option. And you will enjoy it. It will be either French because of Africa and subSaharan Africa; it will be Spanish because of Central and South America; and it will be Arabic or Chinese for the obvious reasons. There will be a test after and you will be held accountable.
We can become more streamlined in our command and control function. We can look at these warfighting headquarters in a slightly different way. We can look at the notions of dual-hatting the existing command structures with representations in the joint world and flatten the curve on being able to respond to contingencies in a much faster manner.
And we can look at better ways to work within the joint world and within the coalition world as far as composite force training and sharing of information and command and control. To look at the ranges in Alaska and the ranges in Nevada as one expansive Red Flag range that just happens to be conducted in Alaska or happens to be conducted in Nevada is the direction that we're taking.
And when we look at strategic partnering and coalition partnerships in the future, two opportunities are presenting themselves to me in a very clear manner. One is the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. Not any different than the F-16 and the coalition benefits that we've derived from our partners and we flying the same fighter. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will open those same doors for us.
The other one is an emerging capability that we're just beginning to think about which is the Light Cargo Aircraft. To be able to partner with coalition members not just with fighters but with mobility assets to be able to conduct more robust intratheater lift, humanitarian issues or humanitarian challenges, disaster relief challenges, seems to be another set of wonderful opportunities to be able to partner alongside folks.
In conclusion, the success of this U. S. Air Force and America's air and space power hinges, I believe, on one critical node and that's our people. That's how I see the future of this Air Force, because we have the finest people in the world that wear this uniform. They are absolutely the most flexible and adaptive and professional and lethal of any group of people that have worn this uniform in the history of this country or any other military's uniform in the history of this country.
As we look at the future, as we get through BRACs and QDRs, and as we get through 2006 budget executions and 2007 budgets and 2008 budgets and all of the things that happen in Washington I think we should again cage ourselves back to true north on what an air force does, what an air force contributes, and what makes up an air force.
Whether it's flying a B-17 from the mighty 8th from East Anglia to Russia; or a B-2 from Whiteman to Kabul and Kandahar; instead of crossing over countries now we're crossing over continents and oceans and we're maintaining this global vigilance from geosynchronous orbit. And instead of hitting city blocks with ordnance we're hitting single vehicles, single buildings into four or five feet circular error averages. That's because of our people and the technological skills that they bring, and the attributes of warfighting that will never change that manifest themselves daily at Balad and at Bagram and at Kandahar and al Nasariyah, and as personified by Technical Sgt. Dana, being that warfighting ethos that is so powerful for us.
The willingness to go to Schweinfurt the second time. Or the willingness to go to Tokyo the second time. Or to Rabul or Bougainvillea or Belgrade or Baghdad. This courage, this resourcefulness, this adaptability and this lethality is what makes this Air Force so great.
We do have the greatest people in the world, we do have the greatest Airmen. We have the greatest warriors that the world has ever seen.
So, thank you again for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you about how I see the contribution of an air and space force into this business of interdependence.
May God bless this great country, and may God bless our men and women in harm's way--Soldiers, Sailors Marines, Coast Guardsmen and airmen--and may God bless this great United States Air Force.
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|Publication:||Air Force Speeches|
|Date:||Feb 3, 2006|
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