|Building An Air Force For The Next Century |
Building An Air Force For The Next Century
Defense Issues: Volume 10, Number 18-- Building an Air Force for the Next Century Seeing the future can be easy. Trying to make it happen -- that's hard. The Air Force's top civilian and military leaders discuss both halves of that vital problem.
Remarks prepared for delivery by Sheila E. Widnall, secretary of the Air Force, and Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, Air Force chief of staff, to the Air Force Association Convention, Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23, 1995.
Widnall. We are at a crossroads in history. The collapse of the bipolar world order that came to dominate international affairs over the past 50 years has left us facing a world that is both safer and at the same time more turbulent.
We have dramatically reduced the likelihood of nuclear conflict. Yet we face a more confusing world with ethnic tensions and an increased potential for regional conflict. As a result the nation has changed its defense focus from a very narrow view, dominated by a monolithic threat to the security of the United States, to a much broader view in which threats to our national interests are less direct but decidedly more diverse.
As a nation and as a service we face an extended period of great uncertainty. At the same time, however, we face a period of great opportunity.
The diminished direct threat to the United States has allowed us the chance to reduce and refocus the Air Force. By making our forces leaner, more flexible and more efficient we can safely meet the obligations of our National Security Strategy today. By addressing the concerns of our military personnel and continuing to provide them a good quality of life and challenging work environment, we preserve our capabilities for tomorrow. And by continuing our research and development programs, our cooperation with industry and selective modernization programs we can ensure the nation's defense through the next century.
These three themes, the Air Force today, the Air Force tomorrow and the Air Force of the 21st century, are very much intertwined.
The Air Force today is smaller, more efficient and in many ways more capable than the Air Force of a decade ago. We have endured significant organizational change and institutional turbulence over the past four years as we have drawn down in size. The good news for Air Force personnel is that we have essentially reached our Bottom-up Review, or BUR, force levels four years early!
The decision to draw down our force structure to BUR levels early was a conscious one. For although we recognized the turbulence associated with that decision, we also recognized that if we're to prepare for the years ahead, we had to focus our resources on those forces and in those areas where the greatest long-term benefits lie. We drew down quickly to free up funds for modernization, both through the upgrading of existing systems and the continuation of efforts to develop new and revolutionary systems such as the F-22 and the B-2.
Our reorganization has also left us poised to take advantage of the capabilities embodied in a smaller, highly capable force. The creation of Air Combat Command eliminated the artificial distinction between tactical and strategic forces and provides for more effective focus and preparation for air campaigns. The development of U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command enables the seamless integration of the nation s global mobility forces, critical components of our National Military and Security strategies.
We have eliminated management levels and empowered our commanders at all levels. And finally, we are seeking to streamline space management to make the best use of the resources all of the services contribute to this increasingly important area of operations.
Although we have almost reached our planned 1999 force structure levels, we face two ongoing challenges in this area. The first is that we have been unable to reduce our infrastructure as much as we have reduced our manpower and forces. We have reduced our force structure over 30 percent and our fighter and bomber force structure over 50 percent. But we have only been able to reduce our infrastructure about 15 percent. We must continue to press for reductions in this area, to consolidate depot support facilities and to close surplus bases and installations.
The second challenge we face is in trying to obtain the benefits of these actions. By downsizing early we have increased the funds available for modernization while maintaining the readiness of our smaller force structure. The readiness challenges the Air Force faces are, for the most part, not budgetary. These challenges are chiefly due to operations tempos and changes in the types of missions we face in today's world.
Many of the U.N. operations we are presently supporting do provide valuable experience. But they often do not provide our personnel the opportunity to maintain proficiency in all of the tasks necessary to be prepared for more intense conflict. Also, for limited-number, high-value systems, such as HC-130s, EC-130s or AWACS [airborne warning and control system aircraft] it is difficult to maintain high operations tempos and still have sufficient resources to train new crews.
We are addressing these challenges by adjusting our deployments and training procedures, and making fuller use of our Guard and Reserve forces. With continuing budget pressures however, our modernization accounts are continually being raided to pay for other programs within DoD. We must stand up to these pressures.
The key to our future is maintaining a balance between readiness, quality of life and modernization. We have reduced our forces to pay for modernization and now must stand up to the budgetary challenges to keep those modernization accounts intact.
These are the challenges we face today. As we look further into the future we see a different set of challenges. The greatest of these is in guaranteeing that the Air Force of tomorrow will be capable of meeting the concerns of our people.
We have built a remarkable team of men and women, active and reserve components, and uniformed and civilian personnel. This Air Force team within the larger team of other service and coalition partners brought us a brilliant victory in the gulf war and has enabled continued operations like Southern Watch, Deny Flight, Provide Comfort, Uphold Democracy and many others over the past five years. People are the heart of the Air Force today, and maintaining the quality of our personnel will be our greatest challenge in building an Air Force of tomorrow.
Quality personnel are the most critical part of any organization. I see three major requirements to ensure that the Air Force has the skilled women and men we will need in the future. We need to continue to attract men and women to the service, we need to ensure that they have the best training available to do their jobs, and we need to ensure that they enjoy a quality of life and the job opportunities that will challenge them to remain in the service.
Attracting quality women and men to the military is a tremendous challenge in today's environment. Part of the difficulty is that we simply are not getting the word out that we are still hiring. We still need to recruit over 30,000 enlisted personnel and approximately 4,000 officers a year. That's a tremendous number of people and a difficult task in today's work place. We must do a better job of telling our story.
The Air Force and the military offer unique opportunities. We provide training and education, a work ethic and a reputation for integrity increasingly sought after by employers around the nation. We offer a sense of camaraderie and belonging that are rare indeed in the world today. We give challenges and a sense of duty, of accomplishment and of meaning in a world increasingly lacking in all of those. In short, we provide the youth of America opportunity to reach their potential and their dreams. That is the story we need to tell.
In telling that story we need to examine our recruiting efforts and funding to ensure that our recruiting forces have the resources available for them to do their job. Broad sourced officer commissioning programs are also essential. OTS [Officer Training School], ROTC and the Air Force Academy are all important programs. A strong ROTC program is especially important, as it provides a powerful tool for military personnel to interact with the faculty and students at civilian colleges and universities.
Junior ROTC is also vitally important. It reaches into the inner cities and provides our youth the role models and tools to better prepare themselves for the future, whether or not they decide to opt for a military career in the future. Junior ROTC is important because it helps us ensure the pool of high-quality, well-educated youth necessary to meet the needs of the nation in the decades ahead.
Attracting people is only the first part of the challenge. We must ensure that the men and women we bring into the service have the best training we can provide. As I mentioned earlier, the heavy operational tempos we have experienced over the past five years have placed increasing demands on our people.
We are looking hard at these difficulties and are coming up with innovative solutions. In AWACS, for example, we have identified a number of the aircraft as designated training assets to ensure that instructors and aircraft are always available for training. Higher optempos do not automatically translate to readiness problems. They do, however, require that we closely monitor training, morale and deployment rates to ensure our personnel are trained to meet the variety of missions they are tasked to perform.
In addition, we must also make sure our commanders have the tools necessary to do their jobs. In a sense, this, too, is training. The rapidly growing demands of command require that our commanders become more familiar with a broader variety of subjects such as environmental issues and the many legal and judicial aspects of command. We must ensure that we make them aware of these growing demands on their skills and ensure they have the resources to deal with the challenges they face.
By doing this we will help our commanders deal with the needs of our people. And meeting the needs of our people is essential if we are to maintain their quality of life. We must ensure our personnel have a fair package of pay and benefits. But we must do more than that. We must also make sure our personnel have a challenging work environment free of harassment and discrimination, and we must also ensure we maintain strong programs to ensure the families of our deployed personnel are well cared for.
All of these areas are important. And in total they are critical to attracting and maintaining the personnel we need in the Air Force for today and tomorrow.
I have discussed readiness and quality of life issues that are essential to maintaining a quality Air Force for today and tomorrow. To ensure the long-term future of the Air Force we must also address modernization. Air and space power are a core competency of the United States and especially the U.S. Air Force. We invested heavily of our national treasure to build the forces that enabled us to deploy to and win the gulf war and to sustain the myriad of operations we now conduct. These capabilities are not self-sustaining. They require continued investment and commitment.
The United States and our coalition partners dominated air and space during the gulf war. This dominance enabled us to control the pace of the war, limit both civilian and military casualties on both sides, and secure victory. This dominance of air and space must be maintained if we are to be successful in future conflicts.
To meet this challenge I see five modernization priorities over the next decade. These are the C-17, B-2, F-22, upgraded precision munitions and the development of improved space-launch capability. These systems will enable us to meet the challenges of the future within the budgetary climate we foresee in the years ahead.
The C-17 is TRANSCOM's and the Air Force's highest near-term modernization priority. As our future core airlifter it will enable us to arrive quickly at any major regional contingency. The C-17 will also enable us to meet the day-to-day challenges of the turbulent world in which we live. It is already becoming a success story, replacing the C-141 at lower operating costs while delivering C-5-type payloads into C-130-size airfields. We may also purchase a nondevelopmental aircraft to augment the C-17's capabilities.
The F-22 and B-2 will also play vital roles in the Air Force of the tomorrow. The F-22 will give us the ability to achieve air superiority quickly in a future conflict. Air superiority provides freedom of maneuver so ground, air and naval forces can operate with impunity to end conflicts quickly and decisively.
Its inherent flexibility will also allow us to use the aircraft to conduct ground attack missions as well after the opening stages of the conflict. The F-22 epitomizes what any prospective adversary respects most about American military power: It is sophisticated, responsive, flexible and extremely difficult to defend against. The F-22 is a national program our country needs.
The B-2 provides the most versatile and responsive strike capability in the world. It can respond to crises in a matter of hours with precision weaponry to deter or blunt aggression anywhere on earth. Six B-2s could execute an operation similar to the 1986 Libya raid, but launch from the United States with a much smaller, more lethal and more survivable force. The B-2's range, stealth, large payload and quick intercontinental response time will significantly improve our nation's ability to determine the course of a conflict at its onset.
Our fourth modernization priority is to upgrade our precision guided weaponry. The Air Force has made a precision commitment. We have tripled the number of precision-capable platforms since the gulf war, boosted PGM inventories 25 percent above prewar levels and are developing new generations of PGMs with enhanced accuracy, standoff,and adverse weather capabilities. Precision weapons allow us to hit more targets with fewer sorties, less risk to our aircrews and significantly less collateral damage. They are true force multipliers.
Our fifth modernization priority is improving our space-launch capability. Space is becoming increasingly important to our nation's military and economic might. Without free access to space both are imperiled. Space modernization offers tremendous payoffs to both sectors. Joint military and commercial development of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle will ensure commercial and military access to space for the foreseeable future. This is a capability we cannot do without.
All of these modernization priorities are important. They are important because they will enable us to conduct sustained air and space operations through the next century.
These then are the challenges I see: to maintain readiness and necessary capability today; to ensure we meet the needs of our people and maintain readiness tomorrow; and to modernize our forces to remain effective and capable in the next century.
The years ahead, however, represent both a challenge and opportunity. Meeting the challenges enables us to do our mission in the world today. Taking advantage of the opportunities will enable us to do our mission in the world of tomorrow and the next century. Both are essential paths to the future.
Thank you. ...
Fogleman. Thank you for that warm welcome. ... When [AFA Executive Director retired Air Force] Gen. [Monroe] Hatch asked me here, he asked me to talk about the Air Force in the 21st century. Well, you may be surprised to learn that my first reaction was to look back, not forward.
The fact of the matter is that the history of warfare is essentially the history of change. Every conflict involves the participants learning from the previous conflicts and adding new technology to the fight. There's a wonderful book written back in the 1950s called Ideas and Weapons. The whole thesis of the book is to determine what comes first -- is it a really good idea that someone turns into a weapon? Or do we develop, through technology and innovation, a weapon that we do not see the manner in which it will be employed in war?
Along these lines we recognized during our American Civil War how valuable railroads would be. It was during this same war we came to appreciate how lethal modern firepower could be on the battlefield. In fact, during the Civil War you could describe that contest as a war fought in the 19th century with 18th century tactics and mindset on the part of most generals with emerging 20th century firepower. And it resulted in great carnage on the battlefield.
Later, in World War I, while we saw the introduction of the tank and aircraft, they played little role in preventing the tremendous casualties suffered by both sides in static warfare fought with little imagination. Their impact would only be felt in the future.
So in looking ahead to the 21st century we should expect it to be marked by the appearance of new technologies. I realize that any discussion will naturally turn to what this new equipment will be. At this symposium, I've elected to leave the "what" to the secretary [of the Air Force Sheila Widnall] and to the other four-stars. ...
I'd like to use this occasion to talk about how we get to the future. This isn't going to be as meaty as some of you would like. But it's important to figure out how we're going to get to where we need to be if we are going to stay relevant, if we're going to continue to be, as we are, the economy-of-force capability for this nation in a period in which we see a downturn of resources.
And as the chief, how we get there is one of my fundamental concerns. In my view there are two basic approaches we will most likely use to get there. First, we could follow the traditional, programmatic approach. This might seem most likely when you recall that the last four chiefs of staff of the United States Air Force have been programmers. This approach tends to look forward with a budgetary mindset that operates within the stovepipes of mission capabilities that have emerged over time.
It served us well, but I think we are on a threshold in the area of technology. I say this not because the clock is going to turn from 1999 to 2000. That's an artificial thing. I say this because of the rate at which technology is accelerating and coming down the road toward us. I have some concerns that this programmatic approach constrains our expectations with present fiscal concerns. On the other hand it's fairly safe, but it doesn't lend itself to an imaginative view of what our Air Force should and can do.
The other approach, the one I suggest we need to take, is to fly into the future, maybe to the year 2020. Then we should put ourselves in a low Earth orbit, in a position to take a look at what the world will most likely look like, at what society will be like and what warfare in this period of time will be like. Armed with this perspective we should look back to the present and identify what path we must take to get us where we need to be in the year 2020 to provide the nation the air and space forces it needs.
That's very different from continuing down the path we're on today. From that perspective out there, as we look back, we can see where we ought to terminate something, shift and move down another path that offers greater opportunity, greater lethality, greater flexibility. We need to take this approach.
I call this approach "looking back to the present." I think it might be a little revolutionary. At the same time it's just a common sense way to get the kind of Air Force we need in the next century. I guess my point here would be that a programmatic mindset tends to measure your progress by what's behind you, not what's ahead, and it tends to favor incremental improvements. It will forgo bold and innovative plans because of short-term funding needs.
I don't mean to abandon short-term needs. But I think we must critically examine when a weapon system, an idea, a concept is reaching the sunset part of its evolution and not wait for that to occur. In parallel we must be developing the capability that will replace it. That is very difficult to do standing here and looking forward. I think if we try to project ourselves and look back, it's easier.
I say this because air and space power is technology-based and by its very nature forces us to act in a revolutionary manner. If we do not act in revolutionary ways, with technology advances, particularly those in the information-based disciplines where advances are coming so rapidly, we may not be relevant in the next century. So we must think creatively about what we do and how we do it. As proponents of air and space forces, we must anticipate the future. With that to set the stage, what kind of future do I see, and what are the tools that will allow us to get there?
To describe our future society I'll tell you that I don't have any kind of a magic window that is any better than yours. And I risk trying to make matter-of-fact predictions. But I think there are some statements we could agree on about the U.S. in the 21st century.
First of all, I think the U.S. will remain engaged around the globe. Culturally and economically our society will reflect more and more the diversity of the world. With GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], it is easy to anticipate how there may be even greater movement to a single, global economy. And when these factors are combined with our heritage of freedom, I expect U.S. diplomatic and political counsel will be in high demand around the world. As such, our military forces will shape, lead and conduct coalition undertakings. ... These operations will run the gamut from humanitarian relief to peacekeeping to full-scale conflicts like Desert Storm. I think this is a plausible description of our world early in the next century.
At the same time it is reasonable to assume that we may remain the world's only superpower. I've heard it suggested and read it in a couple of places that for the first time since Rome there is only one great power in the world. But we all know what happened to Rome. At some point we will be challenged -- by a single nation, a coalition or group threatening our society. I think the terrorist bombing of the Trade Center in New York is a clear reminder of this very serious kind of risk.
My crystal ball doesn't show who this actor or actors will be. I think that we became very comfortable with the Soviet Union as a convenient adversary during the Cold War. The Soviet Bear allowed us to predictably look at who and where we might have to fight. A lot of people are having trouble letting go of the Soviet Bear. Now, in the post-Cold War period, we don't have that construct. Instead, I think it's prudent to focus on ... the capabilities that our forces must bring to the table -- not so much on whom we might face, but what it is we will be asked to do as a military force, as part of the joint team.
Any combination of developing industrial powers could, in my view, quickly become a serious challenger to America's interests. And if you think about the proliferation of relatively cheap and lethal weapons on the battlefield, it will tend to level the battlefield in the conventional sense. That is, conventional aircraft are going to have a very difficult time surviving in a world in which Third World powers, with relatively little money, can purchase very sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems such as those the former Soviet Union is proliferating. This is going to cause us to relook how we engage. We are already doing this, but it is going to accelerate in the next couple of years.
Now the Fogleman Forecast isn't going to compete with the futurists' books that are being sold out there. But I think this brief look will provide a background for what I want to talk about. So now let me narrow the scope a little by turning to a few defining characteristics of how warfare might be conducted after the turn of the next century.
First, I see information having an ascending and transcending influence. Today computers double their operating speed every 18 months. By the turn of the century performing a trillion calculations per second may be the norm. And I think this is going to have a strong impact on military operations across the spectrum.
We will need information quickly to recognize new threats to the nation. And these dangers may rise with short warning. Our information management capacity will leverage our ability to pinpoint an adversary's centers of gravity. And with this kind of information we'll have a whole new discipline called information operations that will play a critical role before, during and after any crisis.
The side that can capture the computing power I mentioned is going to have a tremendous advantage. Throughout history, soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen learned a valuable lesson: The side that can analyze, act and assess faster will win. My point is that this advance in information access and its use will allow military forces to operate inside their opponent's decision cycle. And that is going to be decisive to the outcome of future events.
If you want to take this one step further, consider the implications of warfare in which you control and monitor the flow of information to your opponent. If you can comprehend this, then you grasp the vast potential of information ops in the next century.
The importance of information to military activities will transcend all that we do -- on land, sea and air. And so the Air Force will not be the sole actor in this arena. I expect our airborne and space-based systems to be in high demand to gather and process information, but we will not monopolize this activity. The fact of the matter is that all services have a vital interest in exploiting the cyber medium. And all will be involved in transforming this character of warfare.
A second macro theme of the next century will be the role of precision attack. When combined with the information ops I just described, you realize that we are entering a period in which we will dramatically reduce the time from detection to destruction of a target. In this area I anticipate that air and space forces will play a key role.
These forces will have the speed, the range, the flexibility and the lethality -- in short, the responsiveness -- to get to the desired point quickly. Getting there quickly may deter -- absolutely the best of outcomes -- and may influence. But if deterrence and influence fail, then the economy-of-force capability of engagement from the air will be vital to our nation.
Now I realize that when I talk about precision attack you probably have the image of a single aircraft taking out a point target. We've created this impression by comparing how a lone F-117 can destroy what it took a hundred B-17s to do during World War II.
But in the 21st century our precision capability will allow this nation to attack in parallel, across an entire theater. Let me put this in perspective.
First of all, I would invite you, if you haven't done so already, to go by the display that talks about the capability we will be fielding in the B-2 in the summer of 1996 with the GATS/GAM [GPS- [Global Positioning System] Aided Targeting System/GPS-Aided Munition] system. One B-2 will allow us to simultaneously, with precision munitions, attack a whole target array. We are not talking about something that is not so far into the future that you cannot imagine it. It's nearly here today.
By comparison, during World War II, 8th Air Force attacked something like 50 target sets in all of 1943. During Desert Storm the coalition struck 150 individual targets in the first 24 hours. Not too far into the next century we may be able to engage 1,500 targets within the first hour, if not the first minutes, of a conflict. Gone are the days of calculating aircraft-per-target kinds of ratios. Now we think in terms of targets-per-aircraft.
So from the sky in the aerospace medium we will be able to converge on a multitude of targets. We will be able to envelop our adversary with the simultaneous application of air and space forces. The impact will be the classic ways you win battles -- with shock and surprise. Shock and surprise. Every major turn in the history of warfare has come from the introduction of shock and surprise. It won't just be at the tactical level, but at the operational and strategic level as well. We are unique in this regard.
In the 21st century our nation will need soldiers and Marines to fight for and hold the terrain. We will need a Navy to protect and project influence over the sea. But only air and space forces will allow us to engage an adversary's air, land and sea forces simultaneously. And concurrently air and space forces will hold at risk the enemy's national leadership and its economic power centers. I see this operational potential placing great demand on an Air Force, if we have the vision to put in place the capability to deliver what the nation will need. Other services will continue to exploit the aerospace medium for their forces. And I think this is approprate.
But I will tell you that none of this is going to be possible without air superiority. As this nation's full-service Air Force we must take the lead in the area of airspace control. And as we look to the 21st century the F-22 is the optimum approach to ensure our joint team will have air superiority, just like we've had for the last 50 years. In this country of ours, even within the military, we've come to assume that air superiority is a God-given right for Americans. It is not.
Our forces have enjoyed air superiority since the Marines, who fought gallantly, took such high casualties in August of 1942. You may recall that they were put ashore, and then due to the threat, the carrier forces had to withdraw for 11 days. As a result those forces ashore sustained 5,000 killed in a very short period of time. And then in the spring of 1943 at Kasserine Pass [Tunisia] the U.S. Army tried to operate in the absence of air superiority.
Since that time many of the people in this room, those in the aerospace industry and in the Air Force, worked hard -- oftentimes quietly, aware that air superiority is the key to warfare. With the dawning of the aerospace age, with air superiority everything is possible; without it nothing is possible! That's why the F-22 is not an Air Force program; it's a national program. And it happens to represent a quantum improvement in technology.
Let me give you a quick update on this critical program. Just this last week the F-22 had a great success story for both the Air Force and the contractor team. The F-22 Air Vehicle Critical Design Review culminated its year-long effort. They reported that the design of the F-22 is mature and that the airplane can be produced and supported. Now that design team is focused on building the first developmental aircraft to launch on its maiden flight in May of 1997.
With this development, we are well on our way to meet the CinCs' [commanders in chief] air superiority needs in the 21st century. The important thing to remember is that the F-22's supersonic cruise and stealth qualities will allow us to dominate all airspace in the future -- for information ops, precision attack and any other operation this nation wants to undertake.
I don't want to create an impression that these will be the only changes in warfare beyond the year 2000. But I think these will have a strong influence in defining what our Air Force must look like. So how do we get to this future? What are the tools we need to guide us?
First of all, we must have good people. The Air Force in the 21st century is going to be lean, is going to be agile and is going to be higher tech than the one we know today. We are going to need to function in a decentralized manner to keep up with the fast pace of events. Our people and commanders at all levels must know their business, their mission, and be ready to take the initiative to exploit opportunities that arise. And the leadership has got to be willing to support the people with great ideas. ...
Secondly, we must give our people effective tools to do their jobs. You may recall that 1993 was the Year of Equipping. The Air Force laid out a roadmap for our modernization needs to the year 2020. But even though these plans were well thought out and fiscally reasonable, they marked the first time we, as an institution, in many years, had done some long-range thinking. So they were remarkable for that fact alone. But we needed something more daring, more imaginative.
So the four-stars got together not too long ago and made a commitment to what we call the revolutionary planning process -- to capture the vast potential of air and space forces for the next century. This process has three distinct stages. There's an idea generation phase. Then there's a phase in which we investigate the merits of the ideas. And finally there's the phase in which we integrate these ideas into the Air Force program. This morning I'd like to talk about this briefly.
First, idea generation. This is critical if we are to keep up with the potential of air and space forces. I recall that Giulio Douhet once said (and I recall that some of the upper classmen present used to make me recite this), "Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of warfare." I like that. It captures the essence of what we've got to do -- we've got to anticipate what we must do. And I'm talking about more than just knowing what will be the leading-edge technology.
Here's what I mean. In the 1920s and 30s Germany, Britain and France invested heavily in defense. All three purchased tanks and airplanes in great numbers. Yet only the Germans had a well-thought-out construct to exploit these new weapons. In the same manner both Germany and Britain had radar. Some have argued that technologically German radar was the best around. Yet Britain, with its less sophisticated equipment, had the initial advantage because they had a system that incorporated radar into an effective early warning network and teamed it with their fighter-interceptor aircraft.
My point is we must match the hardware with organizational and doctrinal concepts that optimize their use. This is going to be tough for the Air Force. It's tough for any institution. It's been said that the Air Force is a technology-driven service. I think this is true. We have often been captured by the technology we operated, and we failed to look at the larger view.
So in the first phase of recasting our planning process we must foster more than just new technologies. We need to think about how to make them part of a world-class team. And contrary to popular myth, all good ideas don't come from Washington. So we're open to all sources. Air University's work on the Spacecast study is a great example. You may recall that this was a pivotal work that identified where we should be and how we can enhance our space-based forces by the year 2020.
As a follow-up, we've asked [Air University Commander Lt. Gen.] Jay Kelley to take on a broader study and look at the entire Air Force out in this time frame. We'll also look to other sources for ideas, like seminars and wargames. And, we'll include inputs from MAJCOMs [major commands]. [Gen.] Ron Yates' Integrated Product Teams at Air Force Materiel Command came up with over 200 suggestions this past year alone. Finally, ... we've asked the Scientific Advisory Board to launch a new study -- New World Vistas -- to identify the fields of explosive technology changes that offer the most promise for the Air Force.
All together the concept generation phase should encourage our people to think "outside the box." We don't want ideas constrained by current paradigms. The reality check, if you will, comes during the second phase, when we investigate these concepts and we select the most promising ones to pursue. We'll ensure that these opportunities have a solid scientific foundation.
I think a critical part of this second phase is going to be our ability to model and simulate combat. This will allow us to experiment with new technologies, to explore their organizational and doctrinal impact, and to assess their overall potential. And I'll admit, while we've made some great progress in the modeling area, we've got a lot of work to do.
Desert Storm comes to mind as an example of why we've got to do better in this area. I recall hearing about a captured Iraqi troop commander who was asked why he surrendered, and he said he surrendered because of the B-52. But his interrogator reminded him, "Your unit was never targeted by B-52s."
The Iraqi replied, "That's true, but I saw a unit that was, and that was enough."
So you know, after Desert Storm there were a lot "experts" who came out and said that you can't look at what happened in the desert as a window into the future because the Iraqis acted so irrationally. Well, why do you think they acted so irrationally? They were subjected to 39 days of airpower in which we owned their airspace. That tends to make people act irrationally.
Now there's already been a lot of revisionist history written about Desert Storm. Some of it is really intellectually dishonest. We've got to guard against this.
Last summer, there was a wargame conducted at the Naval War College [Newport, R.I.]. These are big deals in the press and get a lot of attention with decision makers. In this wargame, after the first couple of days the combined air power from land and naval-based forces had so attrited the enemy order of battle that they stopped the wargame because they would not be able to achieve the training objectives they had planned. They reconstituted the enemy forces and then continued with the wargame.
When the results of that wargame were briefed, the extent to which air power had attrited enemy forces in the first few days was never mentioned. In fact, just the opposite occurred -- the outcome of the game, as it was reconstructed, was cited around Washington, D.C., by some as an example of the ineffectiveness of air power. I am told the Commission on Roles and Missions [of the Armed Forces] was briefed using this kind of data.
If this is true, it disturbs me not just as an airman, but as an American. That, my friends, is intellectual dishonesty. And it will cost us American lives in the future. We've got to be on guard for this. We've got to not oversell what we do, but we must never let the contributions of air power be undercut by those who would try to forward their own agenda.
So this is why we have a challenge in the modeling business. We must capture air power's persuasiveness to make people act in such a manner. I know this is tough. We often want something scientific, with a mathematical formula, to assess air power's role in joint operations. And we need a way to validate our weapon systems and our operational concepts.
Competent modeling will be a key tool to guide us on our path to the future. It's important to be able to demonstrate the way we can help achieve their objectives when we discuss our core competencies with the commanders in chief. At the same time, it will allow us to show the American public what to expect from properly equipped air and space forces.
As I said in the beginning, the Air Force is an economy-of-force capability for this nation. We have been in the past, and we will be in the future. What we've got to do is to continue to develop these new ideas and identify the high-payoff concepts, then integrate them into the budget process. This is where the programer comes back into the picture. Having been one once, given a direction and priorities, I know they can get us there.
As I said, we're calling this approach revolutionary planning. It's not a one-time event. We're making this a continuous process, one we're going to update every year. And we're going to institutionalize long-range planning on the Air Staff to support it.
So I'm not sure if my crystal ball is any better than anyone else's in terms of predicting changes in the character of warfare. Whatever happens, we'll need fresh, innovative ideas to meet those changes. We need to break the Cold War molds of how we do business. A new approach in the resource allocation process will guide us to the future. This is a process, I'm convinced, that will be right for the Air Force, will be right for the joint war fighter and, more importantly, will be right for our nation. ...
Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission.