FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Air Force Association Statement in Response to Remarks by the Secretary of Defense
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association today released the following statement in response to remarks by the Secretary of Defense at Maxwell Air Force Base:
We note with interest the comments today at Maxwell Air Force Base by the Secretary of Defense.
The Air Force is at the leading edge of innovation in the deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), with 85 percent of Air Force’s Predators deployed to the Area of Responsibility (AOR). The remaining 15 percent are in depot, used for training or are in for maintenance. The reason the Air Force achieves this high rate of deployment is because so many of these UAVs are centrally controlled from Nevada. The Department of Defense requires 21 orbits flying 24/7 by 2010, but the Air Force already maintains 23 orbits today, 24/7 – two years ahead of pace. It is also worth noting that in the next budget the Air Force is purchasing 93 aircraft of which 52 are unmanned vehicles. To say the Air Force is not giving enough forces to support operations is mistaken.
All of this is juxtaposed with the U.S. Army Concept of Operations for its unmanned vehicles, organically assigned with only one-third in theater at any time. The Air Force is assisting the Army with its concept of operations to improve this performance.
In December of 2007, the Air Force offered to shut down training to send nearly 100 percent of its Predators to the AOR and the Defense Secretary rightly turned down this offer.
We can only conclude that the Secretary of Defense was referring to the Army in his remarks at Maxwell or he does not have enough air advice in key positions. We note that of the top 11 positions at Joint Staff, none of them are filled by Airmen.
AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has more than 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing more than 125,000 members. Visit AFA at http://www.afa.org.
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