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SECAF Describes Air Force's Future Direction

SECAF Describes Air Force's Future Direction

By 1st Lt. Elizabeth Culbertson, USAFE Public Affairs.

Ramstein Air Base, Germany -- (USAFENS) January 3, 2006 -- The secretary of the Air Force said the service is headed towards more integrated operations during a holiday visit here.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, returning from trips downrange and to Air Force bases in Germany, expressed the importance of force integration, new weapons platforms and Air Force people.

“We used to talk about the future total force. I think we need to stop that. The Total Force is now,” he said during his Dec. 23 visit.

Secretary Wynne said he noticed during his trip that units of Reservists, Air National Guard and Active Duty were fully integrated to complete the mission, whether at Balad Air Base in Iraq or at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

“It is an amalgamated force that we’re fighting with today,” he said. “It was hard to tell who was a reservist, who was an active and who was a National Guardsman.”

The total force concept aims to tap into the inherent strength and experience of all three Air Force components to increase overall combat capability.

The secretary said Airmen have only to look to the new F-22A unit to see the service’s recognition of the importance of total force.

“It is truly an historic event that we are standing up our finest weapons system, the F-22A, in an associate Guard and active wing. This is where the Air Force is going…and it’s going there in a hurry,” he said.

Secretary Wynne said the announcement that the F-22A has achieved initial operational capability is the “end of a quest” lasting more than 20 years.

“This is a capstone moment, when we finally achieve stealth, speed and precision in one platform,” he said.

The secretary also mentioned the next fighter platform, the Joint Strike Fighter.

“I want to make sure that (the F-22A) is available to our country until we get another fifth generation fighter, the Joint Strike Fighter…operationally ready,” he said.

Secretary Wynne said that no matter what platform is used, the Air Force’s greatest strength remains its Airmen.

“(The Air Force) has developed incredibly capable, innovative, and I would say, inquisitive Airmen,” he said.

Secretary Wynne described Air Force maintainers working in Iraq that were recruited to up-armor vehicles. Now, he said, the manufacturer sends these Airmen prototypes to evaluate.

“The innovations that the Airmen bring are our single greatest accomplishment,” he said.

Airmen are also functioning in an increasingly joint environment, said Secretary Wynne, operating with the Navy, Army and the Marine Corps in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“This war is about a joint fight, more than anything else we have seen. It is a remarkable synergy. What Airmen bring to a joint fight is the unique capability and capacity to innovate and understand airpower,” he said.

Secretary Wynne said that in the coming year he hopes to see Airmen embrace the new Air Force mission statement and become more proficient at delivering sovereign options for America through air, space and cyberspace.

“What I want is to make sure that the Airmen are very knowledgeable and that they are accountable at the end of the day to do what they say and say what they do,” he said. “Master that—become knowledgeable, provide your great innovative and creative ideas on behalf of the joint force and the joint fight, and America will be better off for it, and I think the world will be better off for it.”

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).