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QDR Directs Air Force Future

QDR Directs Air Force Future

By Senior Airman J.G. Buzanowski, Air Force Print News.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPN) February 3, 2006 -- The Department of Defense released the results of the quadrennial defense review Feb. 3 here.

"The QDR guides and supports Air Force transformation in pursuit of key joint, interdependent combat capabilities that enable us to deliver more sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interest," said Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Wood, Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs.

Southwest Asia (AFPN) -- A Global Hawk taxis down the runway after landing at a desert base. The Department of Defense’s quadrennial defense review will add to the unmanned aerial vehicle program.

Southwest Asia (AFPN) -- A Global Hawk taxis down the runway after landing at a desert base. The Department of Defense’s quadrennial defense review will add to the unmanned aerial vehicle program. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mike Hammond.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Mike Hammond

The QDR is a congressionally mandated review of how the armed forces plan to fund current and future projects specific to each service.

“The QDR was an exhaustive look at how each service operates and supports the combatant commanders now, as well as how they will support them in the future,” General Wood said. “The studies and analyses provide us a guidepost that will improve the capabilities and sovereign options the Air Force provides the president.”

The QDR re-affirmed the strong role the Air Force plays in special operations and irregular warfare. Furthermore, it added strength to that effort with increased combat aviation advisors, dedicated Predator units and recapitalization of the special operations fleet.

In addition, the QDR reinforced the Air Force importance in emerging missions and strengthening the Air Force’s role in space and cyber operations. To underwrite investment in new capabilities, the QDR calls for easing restrictions so the Air Force can trim the number of older aircraft it operates such as the C-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotankers and B-52 Stratofortresses, he said.

General Wood is positive about the Air Force’s future based on the initiatives in the QDR.

“The QDR process was a reaffirmation we’re headed in the right direction,” he said. "Several credible and independent agencies both in and outside DOD examined the needs of the Air Force and came to the same conclusions we have -- that flexibility, stealth, speed and new advanced technology are necessary for our ability to project airpower and support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.”

Other additions the QDR calls for are:

-- A new long-range bomber in the next 12 years
-- A significant increase in the fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles
-- More special operations forces
-- Fielding more battlefield Airmen to support our sister services on the ground
-- Airmen trained to fight with emerging technologies, such as protecting the nation through cyberspace

“The Air Force is focused on the global war on terror and we’ll continue to transform the force to provide combatant commanders with the tools they need,” General Wood said.

Those transformations will affect the total force -- from added weapon systems to a decrease in manpower. The Air Force will further reduce its strength by roughly 40,000 Airmen; 88 percent will come from active duty.

“This is a team effort and the Guard and Reserve are part of that team,” General Wood said. “So while 12 percent of our manpower cuts will come from them, the future of the Air Force will also see Guard and Reserve Airmen in our newest missions and equipment.

All in all, the QDR process was lengthy and drew input from a number of sources.

“It really is a credit to the Secretary of Defense as well as Air Force leadership that we were able to voice our opinions about how the Air Force should evolve for the future,” General Wood said. “Tough decisions had to be made, but what’s most important now is that we’re all on the same page and we know what we have to do. Now we just have to get out there and do 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).