|Air Force Leaders Gather to Plot Services’ Changing Futur|
Air Force Leaders Gather to Plot Services’ Changing Future
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio -- (AFMCNS) July 25, 2002 -- Transforming today’s Air Force and increasing the Aerospace Expeditionary Force’s flexibility highlighted this year’s Corona Top, June 11-13 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Held in conjunction with the Air Force’s Transformation Summit, the gathering of Air Force four-star generals heard from representatives in industry, the political arena and government on why change is important and what the service needs to do to make the needed changes.
"Corona Top was an excellent vector check as we chart our course to remain the world’s premier air and space power," said Gen. John Jumper, Air Force chief of staff. "America’s adversaries have demonstrated their willingness to challenge us both at home and abroad — make no mistake, the threat is real.
"Our nation’s security can only be guaranteed through the dedication of its military professionals. The challenge before us is to proactively shape our future. America’s freedom depends on it."
Setting the stage during the three-day event and setting the course for why change is needed, Herb Kelleher, president of Southwest Airlines, told the audience that "only in change is there security," highlighting the reality that those who fail to adapt face an unenviable future. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, challenged the group to "set very big goals with short timelines and delegate the authority to achieve those goals," emphasizing the ability to create your future through proactive involvement.
Mark Herman, from Booz Allen & Hamilton, reminded the audience that "transformation was a journey rather than a destination," underlying the fact that the Air Force must embrace change and the opportunities it provides.
With that framework set, Jumper said one aspect of the post-September environment is the reality that the Air Force is no longer experiencing surge operations; rather, it’s facing a new, higher standard of operations tempo.
"And while our operational rhythm will fluctuate with world events, it’s unlikely we’ll return to a pre-September level," Jumper said. "Given this new reality, our success hinges on the ability to meet our future head-on."
To do that, Jumper said, requires a responsive, agile, and deployable force. The Air Force presents that in the form of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force as flexibility is a key element of the Air Force’s rich heritage and will remain so in the future.
"Unfortunately, our past success guarantees nothing, further it can potentially stifle creative thought," he said. "The Air Force can ill afford to merely stand by and watch the future play out. We must proactively engage those areas within our control to maintain our combat effectiveness."
Jumper said one opportunity to maintain that effectiveness is expanding the number of Air Force members included in deployment Unit Type Codes and making sure, to the extent possible, forces are deployed as units as opposed to the current piece meal fashion.
"We must develop properly sized UTCs for everything we do," he said. "This does two things: it provides all Airmen the opportunity to participate in our worldwide commitments, and it helps decrease the demand on those who are currently carrying more than their share of our deployment burden.
This effort will mesh with our "burn-down" plan to further reduce the impact of Stop Loss and to facilitate demobilizing our Guard and Reserve professionals, allowing them to return to their pre 9-11 lives."
Another key element in maintaining our combat effectiveness is making sure deployed forces return to their home units when they’ve completed their assigned tasks.
"The demands on our deployed forces are increasingly dynamic," Jumper said. "We will continue emphasizing training that guarantees our airmen are prepared to deploy fully mission capable, and ready to hit the ground running when they arrive at the deployed location. These efforts will dramatically enhance the capability of one of our most dynamic weapons systems, the Combined Air Operations Center."
The Air Force is leading the Defense Department’s effort to transition from a program-centric focus to one based on capabilities and effects, Jumper said. Service officials are taking transformational steps to maximize the service’s warfighting capabilities. These include standing up the Combat Wing Organization, developing capabilities-based concepts of operations and changing the way we plan, program, and budget for the future.
"Each of our six CONOPs continues to develop through dedicated efforts of our major commands and Air Staff champions," the general said. "This increased fidelity ensures our ability to correctly prioritize funding."
Since the Air Force draws its capabilities from the AEF, Jumper said major commands must continue to align their forces with contingency operations to maximize operational effectiveness. These efforts provide greater warfighting flexibility.
"We continue to emphasize the seamless integration of manned, unmanned, and space systems," he said. "It’s through such integration that we achieve the greatest return on our investment in our warfighting capabilities."
These integration efforts include fully integrating combat, mobility and space forces into Joint Synthetic Battlespace simulations; creating "Red-Flag-like" training for our mission support group commanders; and designating a greater role for ARC forces in the CAOC.
Looking to the future and the heavens, Jumper said as the Defense Department’s executive agent for space, the Air Force has a responsibility to properly integrate space operations into DoD’s warfighting structure.
"This will necessitate a far-reaching vision which will be closely monitored by our sister services and other organizations interested in space operations," he said.
Looking at the challenges ahead and the discussions held at Peterson, Jumper said, "This open and candid forum validated many of the initiatives our Air Force is undertaking as we continue our journey to a bright and promising future."