SecAF, CSAF discuss future
of the Air Force
By Tech. Sgt. Natalie Stanley,
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information.
Washington D.C. – (AFNS)
– January 15, 2015 – Senior leadership addressed the key issues, priorities,
initiatives and challenges facing the Air Force during the State of the Air
Force press briefing, Jan. 15 at the Pentagon.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and
A.F. Secretary, Deborah Lee James
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.
Mark A. Welsh III, focused on the Air Force’s highest priorities and said they
have been working hard to balance resources and preserve combat capability in a
tough fiscal environment.
“Everyone wants more Air Force,” James said. “We’re meeting
those demands with the smallest force in our history. Couple a smaller force
against the backdrop of austere budgets, and you have a total force that is
under significant strain: active duty, Guard, Reserve, civilian, and their
Welsh had the same concern.
“It’s about some very tough decisions we have to make to
recapitalize on the Air Force for the threat 10 years from now,” Welsh said. “We
don’t have enough money last year or this coming year to fund all the things
that we currently have in our force structure.”
While fiscal year 2015 still presents some enormous budget
challenges for the Air Force, James and Welsh strongly agree enough is enough
when it comes to force shaping and stated Airmen will see no involuntary boards
“We cannot go any lower,” Welsh said. “We are getting too
small to succeed as opposed to too big to fail.”
James said challenges with the budget in no way minimalize
the responsibilities of the Air Force.
“As Air Force demands around the world continue to increase,”
she said. “We cannot afford to get smaller and sacrifice capability.”
One of greatest demands James and Welsh addressed was
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements.
“Not only do combatant commanders want more ISR, they want
the globally-integrated, persistent ISR that Air Force capabilities provide,”
the secretary said.
James and Welsh acknowledged the significant stress the high
operations tempo has placed on its experienced operators. To combat that, they
have developed a plan to meet combatant commander warfighting requirements while
relieving some of the unrelenting strain felt by operators.
The intentions of the ISR goals outlined by James and Welsh
will provide near-term relief to stressed crews by implementing a number of
options to immediately increase manning.
The future of the Air Force continues its focus on balancing
today’s readiness with tomorrow’s modernization.
“The American people expect our Air Force to fly, fight and
win against any adversary,” James said. “It is important that we continue to
afford our nation the Air Force capability it needs well into the future by
appropriately investing in our people and in our platforms.