Moderated by Donald L. Peterson, Executive Director, Air Force Association
General T. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff
General Bruce Carlson, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC)
General William T. Hobbins, Commander, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)
General Paul V. Hester, Commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
General Ronald E. Keys, Commander, Air Combat Command (ACC)
General Duncan J. McNabb, Commander, Air Mobility Command (AMC)
General William R. Looney, III, Commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC)
General Kevin P. Chilton, Commander, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)
General Craig R. McKinley, Director, Air National Guard (ANG)
Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, Chief, Air Force Reserve (AFR)
Lt Gen. Michael W. Wooley, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2006
Sept. 26, 2006
Don Peterson: Chief, do you have any opening remarks before we start rolling?
General Moseley: Thank all of you all for coming this morning to participate in this. You’ve got an opportunity here with the leadership of the Air Force to address the things that concern you and the things that you think we’ve done to irritate you, so please bring those up also. Also, if you’ll notice in this panel for the first time we have General Wooley, who is commander of AFSOC, we have General McKinley, of the Air National Guard, and General Bradley of the Air Force Reserve. You all have heard all of us say that this is a total force and it’s a total force in everything we do and so this morning I think you’ll enjoy having all of us up here together so we can address any questions across that whole spectrum. So, thanks again for the opportunity to get us here and do this.
Peterson: Thank you, Chief. Okay we’ll start off with the first question. What’s the Air Force doing to better prepare our Airmen for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan?
General Keys: Boss, let me jump in on that. We’re doing a lot, and I don’t think we’re getting a lot of credit for the things that we’ve done. The most visible kind of thing we’re doing is a lot of ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so we’ve had to change our program so we get expeditionary combat Airmen out there that know the skills and know how to deploy and know how to defend and know how to combat lifesave and things like that. So, we have changed the program all the way starting with Bill Looney and the training for the folks that come into the Air Force to make them more familiar with the ground combat skills. Then as we work through our taskings, each one of the bases are working on those expeditionary combat skills and then we have the top-off training at what are called power project platforms by the Army to make sure that the people that go down range in harm’s way have those particular skills. Now in a broader range, we’ve changed a lot. We are pursuing a number of things, and those are both training the Airmen and changing the way we fight. We’ve accelerated our MQ-1s and our Reapers (MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle), we’ve accelerated our Global Hawks, we’ve changed the centers about three times on our Predators, and we’ve upgraded the Hellfire warhead. We’ve accelerated the small diameter bomb (SDB). In fact, this next rotation, Tom’s guys are going to be using the small diameter bomb in combat for the first time. We have changed a number of things on our sensors, so that we can cross cue and we can get the information down on Rover units to our Special Forces and conventional forces on the ground. We’ve changed a tremendous amount of our training. Previously, Red Flag, as most of you know, has been the marquee training event to get ready to go to war. We are now changing Air Warrior one and two, which is a close air support sort of venue into what we’re calling Green Flag for two reasons. One, we’re going to change the focus of what do you go to in order to get ready to go to Iraq and Afghanistan. And then in these particular exercises, we’re doing urban operations; we’re doing a lot of the advanced targeting pod operations that we have to use down range. We’re getting involved with the soft and conventional forces that are flowing down range so they get eye-to-eye contact with the folks that are going to be supporting them. So, there have been a tremendous number of changes, including the events that we require our aircrew to be combat-ready with, events that we work with our intelligence analysts on what they have to know and how they fuse the information. So, I think across the Air Force you can see a real focus on changing what we do in operations and then training to be able to accommodate those changes.
Let me ask General Looney to jump on that also, because he’s got a big dog in this fight relative to basic military training (BMT), tech schools and focusing on our most junior folks that come onboard.
General Looney: Well as the Chief said, we are focused on the BMT, but I’ve got to tell you it’s not just something that is recent. It’s something that’s been in effect now for about five years. A number of groups have come together, especially our former Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force, and others to review BMT and to determine how best we can do that, so there has been a real push towards increasing the focus on combat versus folding your underwear and your socks and marching and things like that. We still do a little bit of that, but not nearly what we used to do. And I would say that the focus right now in the six weeks, probably about 60 or 70 percent of it is on combat skills and then there’s the airmanship piece that rolls in. Now last year, General Moseley gave us the task to determine what is the right length for basic military training and after a pretty thorough review we determined that we needed to add a couple of extra weeks and put it at about an eight and a half week course. And in order to do that, there are a number of things that are going to occur with building an AEF (Air Expeditionary Force)-type of facility for the folks to deploy to and work out of, along with increasing the amount of time that we spend in the combat skills training. For example, right now we’re giving them some combat lifesaving skills — our goal is to be able to give them somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 hours of combat lifesaving skills during this BMT — teach them how to give an IV, teach them how to put on the tourniquet properly and all those other types of things, not the standard buddy care that we used to be focused in. I think another area we’ve really worked on is changing the mindset and one of the biggest steps we’ve done to make that happen is the second day a trainee arrives at Lackland (Texas), they are issued an M-16. Now we do take the firing pin out for obvious reasons. We don’t want anyone going postal on us, but in addition to that they then live and breathe with this M-16 for the next five weeks. And it’s one of those things where you don’t go anywhere without your M-16 and if you’re caught without it, there’s a severe price to pay. And that really changes the mindset — the first thing it changes is that everyone, regardless of the career field that they’re entering into, realizes that their first role is that of a combatant. It’s not those guys that get into airplanes and fly hundreds of miles to go into harm’s way. We’re now all in harm’s way and it changes that mindset. And then the responsibilities inherent with being familiar and comfortable with a weapon begin to also work on the mindset. I believe we’re making significant improvements — we need to because everyone is a combatant in this Air Force today and will be during this War on Terror, however long it lasts. We won’t be full up and running with an eight and a half week course until a couple of years from now due to the MILCON (Military Construction) requirements and the requirements to bring new instructors in, etc. But, once that happens we will have made significant progress in changing it, and in the interim we’re making small steps and increasing the focus on combat skills, etc. And along with what we’ve done in BMT, Chief also gave us another tasking, to look at how we can create what we call CBATA: Common Battlefield Airmen Training, and so we are now working through the concepts of putting that together; determining a location where we could hold that training. Eventually we can see it involving up to 17,000 Airmen a year that go through a follow-on course to what they get in BMT, that takes them to an even higher level of training, so that they will be prepared and have the talents and skills and the tools so that when they’re put in harm’s way on the battlefield, on the ground, they will not only be able to execute the mission almost flawlessly as we do today, but to come back and survive the challenges that they will face. So, those are a couple of things that we’re doing with respect to that, and I think there are others that may have a comment or two.
General McNabb: The other portion that I’ll tell you, as General Keys mentioned, and you think about the mobility forces, they’re doing very much the same thing with tactics and techniques and procedures coming back doing lessons learned, getting that into the wick that comes under General Keys now. All of those things are happening, but one of the things that I think is a great follow-on, which is Eagle Flag, which is our combat logistics support folks. To go in up at Ft. Dix, Lakehurst (New Jersey) area, go in there and practice going in and opening up a base, all of the things that go with that, the teaming that must go on, they do it under fire so they practice all those skills. It’s kind of the graduate level for the combat logistics support — it’s much like what Red Flag is for the operational forces. So, when you put that synergistic effect, one of the things that General Keys and I have talked about, is as you take this to the final thing and get all of this together into one huge exercise. I mean, you see where we are and how far we’ve come and when you look at the results, the effects on our Airmen that go into harm’s way, how well they’re doing it is truly awesome. One of the reasons that some of the other services really enjoy having our Airmen out there is because of this great training.
Peterson: Any other comments on that? This one I think is probably for General McKinley. We’re just coming through a little bit of turbulence from BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) and of course working a lot of total force initiatives right now to tighten up our relationship with our Guard and our active force. Could you talk a little bit about that?
General McKinley: Yes sir. Secretary Wynne and General Moseley gave us some mandates, one, to take future total force and make it now, which is total force initiatives. I walked into an office that was rapidly transforming itself to achieve the BRAC recommendations and to move our units from somewhat of a legacy structure to a reset that would meet the needs of the 21st century. So, I have great leadership with Secretary Wynne and General Moseley and my boss in the National Guard Bureau, General Blum, to work with the adjutants general—make sure those people who were moved or relocated due to BRAC decisions are taken care of, taking care of our Airmen, and then trying to reset our force with modern equipment, new missions, sunrise missions that will carry the Air National Guard well into the 21st century, so we’re well on our way to getting there. The adjutants general will be meeting with us later this fall and we’ll kind of show them the reset and they’ll probably be some puts and takes there, but we’ll probably be on the way to transformation that I think all of us in the Air Force want to see.
Peterson: As General Keys mentioned, there’s some sense that we’re not getting the credit for all we’re doing around the world and what our great Air Force is taking on in the Global War on Terrorism. Any comments about how we can push that word out to the American public?
General Moseley: Let me jump on that one first and then I know you all will be interested in what the others have to say. I’m often asked that question — what are you guys doing? It’s normally by someone fairly ignorant that asks that question, and so it offers the opportunity to educate. But, let me give you some thoughts about that. The United States Air Force is unlike any other service; somewhere between 52 and 54 percent of the Air Force on any given day is committed to combatant commanders around the world. No other service has that size percentage of people and its force structure committed to combatant commanders 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. And by that let’s start with the ultimate high ground of space. Out there right now are 100 plus or so hundreds of satellites flown by General Chilton’s experts from geosynchronous orbit down to low earth orbit doing communications, navigations, weather, early warning, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, committed to USSTRATCOM (U.S. Strategic Command). Everything that moves through space moves through that medium that our space warfighters are responsible for fielding. We’ve got hundreds of missiles and silos north of (Highway)I-80, manned 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, by the professionals of Air Force Space Command and also committed with those intercontinental ballistic missiles with USSTRATCOM. General Hobbins’s world and General Hester’s world of United States Air Forces in Europe and Pacific Air Forces also have committed 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week forces assigned to EUCOM (European Command)and PACOM (Pacific Command). General McNabb’s world of Air Mobility Command, some of you have heard us say this, but every 90 seconds, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year, a big grey airplane takes off from somewhere on the surface of the earth with Air Mobility Command markings on it to include Guard and Reserve, so every 90 seconds somewhere out there a big gray-tailed airplane with a big American flag on it takes off in support of USTRANSCOM or U.S. Central Command or U.S. European Command or Pacific Command or Southern Command or Special Ops Command. So, you’ve got space and missiles, you’ve got USAFE and PACAF, you’ve got AMC, you’ve got Guard, Reserve, you’ve got Air Force Special Ops Command, all that is occurring 24-hours-a- day, 7-days-a-week. That makes up over half of the United States Air Force people, every day, committed to do this mission. That includes Central Command’s mission, by the way. This morning we had over 30,000 people deployed into the CENTCOM AOR (Area of Responsibility)working for John Abizaid. That’s more people than the United States Marine Corps have deployed into the Central Command AOR. Now when you look at what General Keys does, as a major force provider for this, for bombers for fighters, for sensors, USSTRATCOM is the major consumer of our airbreathing sensors. USSTRATCOM is a major consumer of the bomber fleet. We have bombers operating in Central Command, we have bombers forward deployed in the Pacific Command. The distances from Diego Garcia to targets in Afghanistan are the same distance from Tampa, Florida, to Juno, Alaska, so your bomber crews that are out there operating in the Indian Ocean flying normal routine missions into Afghanistan or flying the same distance from Florida to Alaska every day and making it look easy. So, whether you talk about global vigilance or global ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), or you talk about or global reach or you talk about global power or global strike, that’s what your Air Force is doing every day. Not only alongside soldiers and sailors and Marines inside Central Command’s AOR, but on a true global scale. Let’s also not forget about the 5,000 or so people that are out there right now functioning under in-lieu of taskings, doing detainee security, doing interrogations and driving vehicles, a completely different notion. Who would have thought that four or five years ago we would have that sort of activities going on that General Looney’s responsible for training them and getting them up to speed on the tactics, techniques, and procedures to go out and do those things? So, that’s a great question, but when you really think about what your Air Force is doing on a strategic level, what your Air Force does is set the stage for the strategic scenario. It sets the stage at the operational level, and it sets the stage at the tactical level for any activities. Secretary Wynne has nailed this down in a couple of presentations about the predicate to any other activity is the United States Air Force, whether it’s coming from orbital systems in space, high altitude systems, whether you’ve cut strategic, operational or tactical, whether you cut it by aircraft or spacecraft, or you cut it by surface — that’s what your Air Force is doing. And that includes everything the Guard and Reserve and Air Force Special Ops Command do also. So, that’s my generic answer. I’ll defer to my brothers here to see if they have something else.
General Hobbins: Let me just enter the fight here about what we’re doing in the United States Air Forces in Europe. I think it really applies to the question directly. First of all, there are many, many missions the Air Force does that we often times don’t get credit for. I would really point to things like Medical Flag exercises that we do in Africa. Locations like Ghana, for instance, we just completed Med Flag 06 in the country of Ghana with the doctors out of the 52nd Wing at Spangdahlem (Germany)and the doctors out of the 86th Wing at Ramstein (Germany), their mission was to travel to Ghana, train with the Ghanaian doctors there and then get in a convoy protected by Ghanaian forces, drive north to a small community called Tamale in the heart of Muslim territory and then begin seeing patients. And of course when they arrived there, the drums started beating and the people came out of their villages, and our doctors went to work and got some of the most rewarding efforts they can ever feel in their whole life. As a matter of fact, when you talk to them about some of the cases they see, these are doctors, these are dentists, and pediatricians, etc., but the young children being carried into the camp that are on their last days of nutrition and being fed intravenous and to stop the dying instantly is a pretty meaningful mission, and to get the Ambassador Bridgewater come back and say what a great sight it was to see hundreds and thousands of people lining up for our medical care. And we did in fact see 3,200 patients, we did in fact give out 2,400 glasses, and I think there were about 5,000 teeth pulled in a 10-day period. Another area that’s very important in Africa is this Trans Shale area, and it goes around the bulge of Africa, a 10-nation area there with Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, and they’re all engaged with terror along the typical Trans Sahel region that runs from Chad, Sudan, through the Darfur region, which I’ll mention in a minute for another Air Force credit, that runs all the way up through Morocco. These are old family tribes, old family regions that in fact are sponsors of traditional family ties and smuggling routes. These things are alive and well today, and a lot of terrorism routes exist along this line between Northern Africa and Southern Africa. So, we’re engaged there with our C-130s doing airdrop missions with the Special Operations Forces on a routine basis, getting a power presence of our service being there and giving the credibility of the air forces in the area. The Darfur region, many of you have heard of a lot of dying that’s going on there, created in between the regions of Sudan and Chad, and it’s our C-130s and our contingency response groups that are down there in Kigali, Rwanda, picking up two battalions of Rwandan troops and the Ugandans, and depositing them on each side of the region, on the east side and on the west side, to stop the rebels from their fighting and of course stop the misery that’s going on for the people there. Now this is an African Union mission that we’ve been asked to support. One last area I don’t think we get enough credit for is our air-evac missions—here in USAFE and CENTCOM, our doctors, our critical care transport teams, our nurses, especially our in-flight docs that are critical care docs, you know, transporting the troops from the battlefield to Landstuhl and eventually into the United States. We’ve got a tremendous accomplishment here with getting our wounded off the battlefield in less than an hour, getting them to Landstuhl in less than 24 hours, and stabilized and then into the United States in 48 hours, and doing that with a 76 percent survival rate. And I think that’s pretty significant things for us to talk about.
General Hester: Chief, I could jump in on this. A couple of things. I believe that most of us inside the Air Force understand what we do everyday; it is in that expression of how we then tell the story that becomes the more difficult piece. And I think that goes to the heart of what the question was. How does an Airman get the Air Force story told to the important people, every citizen of this country, so they understand that their Air Force is actively engaged in the things that Chief Moseley has talked about as well as Tom Hobbins has? I think each one of us engages with our public affairs –it sounds too simple and too easy, but it is the right way because they have the right training and techniques for how to get the public engaged. My public affairs officer leading my team is Col. Loose Canon—the nickname is appropriate for what I’ve given him as a mission to go and do. And I’ve told Loose that there’s no story about any Airman that is too small to tell; there is no story and action by any Airman and unit that should not be told. And so he is pushing stories into the newspaper, onto the website, getting the opportunity for our media of all kinds to see and hear from Airmen and keeps doing that every day. And as a former commander of mine once said, you need to sell that soap every day and keep selling it every day with the same message until people finally hear it and drag it through their grey matter enough times that it in fact sticks. General Moseley has, at this Air Force Association, invited his newly formed civilian advisory council—they’re sitting here close to us in the front row. They are a key part of helping General Moseley at the strategic level get the message out. Individually in our commands, at locations all over, in each one of our commands, are civilian advisors at the individual base level and individual community level that help our wing commanders understand what the missions and needs are of the individual Airman and families on our bases. They are a marvelous source of opportunity to reach from the base into the community for education as well. Last year, I took several members of the business community of Honolulu with me, took them to Korea. We served Thanksgiving dinner twice at both Osan and Kunsan — then they came back, had an opportunity, and gauged back through the Honolulu community to educate what Airmen are doing out in the foreign reaches of the western pacific. I’ve given no less than five interviews this week and I know each person on this panel has done that with many more to come. Those are just examples of continuing to sell that soap, and the engagement that we have every day across the United States to talk to civilian counterparts, talk to military counterparts. I’ll leave here and go to ROTC units to continue to sell that soap—I’ll be down at Columbus Air Force Base (Mississippi)talking to the pilot training and given out new wings Friday morning. And talking to those families and how proud we are of them as they enter our Air Force. Those opportunities are the ones that you continue to spread with your fingers out into society so that they particularly understand it. And every time you run across someone in civilian community, tell them thank you. Thank you for the support that they are constantly giving, constant support that they give through their prayers, constant support that they give by welcoming us to their communities, into their schools, into their churches, into their business communities every day. Thank you to them for exactly what we do, and then of course, ultimately, capitalizing on what our Secretary says that every Airman is an ambassador, every Airman is also a spokesman for our service and how they tell that story. Consequently you’ll notice that through everything I’ve said in the past couple of minutes, I’ve never used the word troops one time. You’ll never hear that expression out of my lips. If a soldier is proud to be a soldier in the Army, and a sailor is proud to be a sailor in the Navy, Airmen should be proud to be Airmen in our Air Force. And if you use the word troops continually in this society that we have, the only thing that impressed anybody’s mind is you’re talking about Army troops and soldiers walking the ground. Be proud to be an Aairman, tell them you’re an Airman, and keep selling the Air Force message.
General Carlson: If I could just mention a few things that we’re trying to do at Materiel Command and make sure that Air Force people are supported as well as other services in the theater. We have a large team of people that work directly on the IED (Improvised Explosive Device) problem, providing options and in fact solutions, into the theater every day. We have sped up the development testing and production of Predator. In fact, I think AFSOC will be the next beneficiary of that acceleration of production. We moved SDB, small diameter bomb, well ahead, got it out ahead of time, under cost, and right now I think Tom’s people from Lakenheath(England)are deployed in theater with that weapon. We’ve been able to get Rover out in mass quantity, which is a capability to get direct feed from airborne Predator or Joint STARS or any other sensor down to people on the ground, whether they be ours or other services or coalition. We have sped up the acceleration of targeting pods, both Litening and other. Big Safari has done a number of very specific highly dedicated packages that collect very targeted intelligence and the specific nature of that I can’t get into, but we’re in that business every day, and we put those sensors and collection capability on a number of platforms. We have restructured our entire Air Force Research Lab so that it is highly responsive to the COCOMS as well as the MAJCOM commanders. Direct results of that have been limited deployment of directed energy capabilities as well as new developments in body armor. In our test community, we have taken an airplane out of the Iraqi Air Force that had never been tested, didn’t’ even have a flight manual with it, and rebuilt the airplane, tested it, unfortunately we found the airplane was not worthy to fly, but we found that before anyone else killed themselves. And we’ve done the same sort of thing for the Afghan Air Force as well as acquire a number of, a limited number of capabilities, for each air force very rapidly through our AFSAC center. I think we’re all committed to the war effort.
General McNabb: Just a couple of things that the Chief already mentioned every 90 seconds, but if you look at what is being asked of the mobility air forces and you think about the folks on the ground, General Abizaid said whatever you can do to get convoys off the road, he said that to General Schwartz and to I, and said whatever you can do so we can take our folks out of danger, please do it. And when you think of the kinds of things that we’ve done, and that’s from having C-17s and C-5s go directly into the final location where we used to take C-130s into, whether that’s have an IL-76 that we contract in to take some supplies around, when you think about today we put 20 C-17s in theater, two squadrons of C-17s that basically are flying a lot of the heavier stuff that traditionally had gone by the ground, allowing us to get those convoys off the roads, having all of the passengers around the theater being carried by C-130s, you think about the impact that that has had. Right now we look at about 9,000 folks a month we take off the roads and that doesn’t include those passengers that we move by air. And you think about that tempo -- that’s that every 90 seconds that goes into that. As General Hobbins had mentioned about the air-evac system, we completely transformed that from the standpoint where it used to have dedicated airplanes, now we have dedicated teams that will jump on whichever airplane is the next airplane through, and when they have a critical care person, an urgent care person that needs to get back to Landstuhl and then back to the States, we’ll have the next airplane that comes through, but now we have patient support pilots that can go on a C-17 or a C-5 or a C-130 or a KC-10 or a KC-135, and we drop that airplane in and the standard is that you have to pick these folks up when they say they’re ready to go in 12 hours, and we average roughly about 4 hours, from the time they say these folks are ready to go, get them to Landstuhl, and then from Landstuhl on back to the States. It is our promise to the all-volunteer force that we will do anything that we can when they’re in harm’s way to get them back to not only perhaps the hospital, but one hospital in all of the country or even in the world where they might save their life or save their limb or save their sight, but even to the doctor that may be the only doctor that can do that. And we do that day in and day out and it is awesome. Where it used to take 10 days to bring folks back in Desert Shield and Storm, we used to stabilize them, and not only then we would put them on an air-evac airplane, today, with that critical care in the air, it’s just like intensive care, we put them on with a patient support pilot, and they go on whichever airplane’s available. You save lives. And historically as General Hobbins was talking, it was about a 75percent save rate if you had wounds and if you go back all the way to the Spanish-American War, that’s about what it was. And today it’s 90 percent plus. It is amazing, it is amazing. I visited Balad and went to the hospital, and they said if you walk into Balad no matter how serious the injury, if you make it to Balad, if they bring you in on a stretcher, if you make it to the hospital in Balad, you have a 96 percent chance of survival. And these folks are folks that have taken head wounds. So, you think about some of the things we’ve done in recreating how we do things, and the last one I would mention is joint precision airdrop in Afghanistan. As we get smaller units of action out there, what we really want to do is pull the supply chain off the ground and out of the reach of the enemy in some of these places. And they’re asking us to airdrop and sitting down at 3,000 feet, but sometimes you come in at 3,000 feet and drop down to 1,000 feet to make the drop, like we used to do, you now are below the mountains as you come up this valley, and you become a pretty good target for some people out there. So, we’ve had a lot of C-130s and C-17s shot up. So, now we have joint precision airdrop which we’re actually putting a GPS onto some chutes and basically being able to sit above the threat and be able to use precision to have those chutes steer right on into the target area that needs to be done. Now you think about what that will be like, and you think about sitting up just like what JDAM did for precision strike, it made it cheap, you can do the same thing sitting up at 20,000 feet above the threat, you say you just got to be in the envelope, give me the coordinates where you want it, and this thing will steer in there. And we’re doing that today in Afghanistan and I’ll tell you it is awesome. We’re thinking someday of having, just like those little B-1s and B-52s that have kind of your selection of munitions that we’re always talking about, in this case you can imagine a C-17, a C-5, C-130, JCA, any of those sitting above, I think about C-17, C-5, sitting above with a choice of things, like hey, you want munitions, you want medical supplies, you want water, you want food, what do you need, and then we’ll just be in our basket, and we’ll let her fly. And it’ll just come right in. And someday you all will be sitting in one of those football stadiums or baseball stadiums—remember how you see all those paratroopers come in, it’s usually Mike Wooley’s guys that have all that fun, they come in and they land with an American flag right in the center of the field. Just think the first time you see one that doesn’t have any people in it. It just comes in and lands. Then it’s going to be awesome. Hell, we’ll be able to do cars, I mean this could be really good stuff. But, you can think about what this is going to do, and what it is going to allow us to do is as the ground forces go forward, we’ll be able to give them resupply in ways we’ve never thought about before—that keeps our folks out of harm’s way. At the same time it gives them more, you know, all-day, all night, all-weather, that kind of capability above the threat. So, this is an exciting time, and so when people do say, hey what did you do for us today? I’ll go, well this is the kind of stuff that we do, and we’ll still take care of a Lebanon NEO (Noncombatant Evacuation Operation), and we’ll still take care of Katrina or Rita, I’ll still take care of a tsunami, those are the kinds of things that your Air Force is doing.
Peterson: General Wooley, your command’s growing pretty quickly. Now could you talk a little bit about that and how you’re going to accommodate the growth and keep your mission moving?
General Wooley: You bet. ISR’s been mentioned a couple of times here, and before I get off onto that, I’d like to talk about ISR just a bit. It is exciting that our Airmen are flying Predator today. We have the 3rd SOS (Special Operations Squadron)at Nellis Air Force Base (Nevada), a great capability. We have coupled the great things in the MQ-1 soon to expand into the MQ-9 Reaper. Soft operators flying those Predators and probably the most important crew member in that booth flying that Predator is the sensor operator. What we bring to the fight is we take some of our aerial gunners, sensor operators with that soft mindset, couple them with that intel specialist and have increased the capability of Predator at an unbelievable pace. We also have the 11th Intel Squadron that has stood up on 1 August at Hurlburt Field (Florida)where we’re doing our own exploitation of those soft Predator missions. I’d like to publicly thank the Chief, thank General Keys, thank General Carlson for all the work that they have done to enable us in Air Force Special Operations Command to get that capability. General Keys and the folks out at Nellis have bent over backwards to make sure that the ISR capability for us is a reality. We’re flying ACC airplanes right now with AFSOC folks. General Carlson mentioned pushing it up, I understand that our airplanes went on contract last Friday—that’s a wonderful thing. To address the other pieces of that, the growth, QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review), other aspects of SOCOM’s mission, gaining importance in taking the fight to the enemy on their turf rather than giving them opportunity to take it elsewhere has been very kind to our command. So kind that we are out of room at Hurlburt Field, we are going to start our second special operations wing at Cannon Air Force Base (New Mexico). We will gain that real estate on 1 October 07, an exciting time for us, and a vision will be realized for us that we have had for over 10 years now to have a special operations wing west of the Mississippi. We will now have equal capability east and west. We will include in that growth our foreign internal defense mission that will give us the capability to have specialized languages at both east and west (locations). They can work their area studies aspect, become familiar with the folks they work with as they deploy to further their air force’s capability to do their own border defense and work the terrorism problem in their own country. An exciting time, we’re hiring, I made this pitch this morning, if you’re interested in being a part of us, we have opportunities. The CV-22 is a reality-we’ve got four that are training our crews out at Kirtland Air Force Base (New Mexico). We will deliver the first operational CV-22 on 16 November. That is going to be our 60th Air Force anniversary event. In fact, we will reflag the 16th SOW (Special Operations Wing) back to the 1st SOW. Do I hear any “amens” about that? Any air commandos happy about that? We are very excited about that. Then we’ll take the 16th SOW flag and it’ll become the wing out at Cannon. We’re going to put on a soft airpower demo highlighting the fact that we’re getting four new gunships, the fact that we’re getting more helicopter refuelers on the MC-130W models. U-28s, a single-engine turbo prop in-fill, ex-fill airplane in our 319th Squadron that flies low signature air to give us the capability that is sorely needed for the special ops community on today’s battlefield — to be able to take very small teams, one person, two people and deliver them either directly to the fight or at a civilian airport in an airplane that looks like a civilian airplane and can hide in plain sight, as we say. The Cannon -- Melrose aspect of our system is very exciting. The fact that Melrose is going to become Air Force Special Operations Command range for us is probably the best aspect of building the second wing. We’ll be able to do air ops, practice with our gunships, hone the skills there, work with ground teams, our own ground teams, our SF (Special Forces) Army brethren can come out there and train with us, a lot of exciting possibilities, and I thank you, Chief, for giving us the opportunity to move out there. Stay tuned for further developments, we are hiring, contrary to popular belief that there is a drawdown—that is true, but while the drawdown happens we are increasing the special operations capability in our command and would love to talk to anybody that’s interested in becoming a warrior Airman with our command. So, thank you very much for that opportunity.
Peterson: General Chilton, how do you see the space and missile career field operating in the operational side and house the operations fight as we carry on around the world?
General Chilton: I think that Chief really keyed me up real good for this when he talked about all the things that space is doing today in the fight. Comm-wise, and we’ve talked about Predators, we’ve talked about Global Hawks, we haven’t talked about U2s, but these are our airbreathing ISR platforms that bring back critical intelligence both to the battlefield commanders, but also all the way back here to the United States to analysts who are in the fight engaged back here through reachback, and that reachback is completely enabled by our communications satellites that are operated by our great space folks. We talked about time sensitive targeting, if you want to get the decision back to the CAOC (Combined Air Operations Center) and then back forwarded to adjust fires in real time on the battlefield you’re going to be doing that through communications satellites over the horizon. Same way on the strategic strike area or the global strike area, if you want to change vectors which is the power we have unlike any other air force in the world, to launch an airplane on a mission and midcourse re-vector it, retarget it, update what it’s going after, you’re going to use satellite communications to make that happen and our space folks are making that happen every day, they’re on the switch 24-7. Kind of a unique thing about Air Force space forces, unique to any other command, I think is that they’re all chopped to a combatant commander all the time, so we not only have to worry about organizing equipment and evaluating, but every day they’re doing the mission. They are taking orders from General Cartwright through General Shelton or through General Cartwright through General Deppe for ICBM crews, and they’re standing alert, they’re ready to go, and they’re executing every day. And that’s a little bit of a unique aspect of being part of space command. We don’t do a single operation, I bet, in the Global War on Terrorism. That before the operator goes out the door, I don’t care what service they’re in, they ask what’s the weather going to be like? And it’s your United States Air Force that brings them the precision weather that they need through our space assets to support every operation. GPS is one that just has become so much a part of our society and our culture and our nature and the way we fight today. I love my colleague, General Dodgen, who’s commander of Army Space, tells a story about the young soldier that’s being interviewed and asks him do you need space to do your mission in Iraq? He says, oh no, sir, I don’t need space, he says, all I need is my M-16, this box of ammo, and that little black box over there that tells me where I am. You know, that’s called being taken for granted, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being just part of the fiber, culture of the way we do business. But when people ask me is space in the fight, you bet. We’re in every aspect of the fight 24-hours-a-day, every day. One other thing about JDAM, I just love the JDAM weapon, when General McNabb talks about the future that GPS will bring to precision delivery of cargo and critical supplies to folks anywhere in the world, when I think about what General Hobbins talks about, operating in the Trans Sahel area of Africa—I’ve flown over that area, there’s nothing. There are no landmarks out there, folks, you can’t see go over that hill because it’s a sand hill and it will blow away the next day. You need GPS to find your way around out there and to conduct the operations that he was talking about. I remember the first bomb I dropped as young captain in an F-4 — it wasn’t real pretty, you know cranked in the manual side, rolled in, dropped the bomb, came back, my buddy said, "You know, Chili, you realize you would have missed the Rose Bowl with that one." Now, General McNabb’s talking about putting a palette on the 50-yard line in the Rose Bowl, and we’re talking about being able to put a JDAM on that star right there. Well, by the way, a 2,000-pounder, or retarget it to the star in the back of the room. That’s just such an incredible capability that’s become such a part of our fiber, and I’m so proud of what our space folks do every day to make sure we got that available.
Peterson: Now that cyberspace is part of our mission statement, how do you see us organizing and moving ourselves forward in the area of protection?
General Moseley: That’s another great question. Secretary Wynne and I signed out a tasker to these guys here to get back with us pretty soon with some notions and some considerations on how to stand up a command responsible for the execution of activities in cyberspace. General Keys is working that very hard, General Looney’s working that very hard, General Carlson’s working that very hard, to come back with some ideas on how we would organize ourselves and therefore equip and man a notion of how we would present forces to US STRATCOM or to other combatant commanders relative to conducting operations inside this domain. I’ll share a thought or two with you on the domain. If we issued an essay test to all of us in this room, I suspect we’d get a variety of different answers about what is cyberspace. You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, but just consider for a moment what moves through it. Trillions of dollars are in movement through cyberspace at any given time, whether it’s U.S. dollars, Dutch marcs, pound sterling, franks, wan, yen, the global economy works on being able to move money and information through that domain. The archival data that’s in that domain includes all of our health records, all of our driving records, personal records, those all live in that domain. If there is an opportunity to somehow interdict or for hostiles or people with hostile intent to live in that domain to do us harm, it merits being able to defend it. It merits being able to have people specifically tasked with the notion of defending inside that domain and looking at opportunities for operational activities inside that domain. We value the security of our networks, we value the security of our personal data, we certainly value the security of a global economic network. So, the challenge is to get your arms around what is it, then to get your arms around how to think through and organize and prepare for those sorts of activities. But, this is a big deal — this is a big deal for all of us. We talk about operating in space, we talk about operating in the atmosphere, we talk about operating on the surface, this one covers all of those, it touches all of that activity. It touches every home in the United States, and it touches almost everything that we do. So, we’re focused on the notion of how to get at this problem and how to understand it better, but also how to organize ourselves to present forces to be able to do business in that domain. With that, let me ask General Keys to comment because he’s got a big dog in this fight as we think through this problem.
General Keys: Well, there’s a lot that we’re doing now, of course. We’ve gone from 17 network centers effective around the Air Force, we’re dropping the wrap loot at ten, and we’re going to get down to four, and we’re going to set up a system that we can in fact have commonality across this system. We can set out patches across the system, and we can get them implemented faster than we’ve been doing them in the past. Eighth Air Force right now has net ops for all of the Air Force, and every day I get reports about people trying to break into our system or getting into our system and we’re watching that extremely careful. One of the examples I give, I got a report, we got a kid that’s deployed down range and somehow it appeared that his system had been accessed by China. We had the forensics to go into that and actually look, and he said well, I’ve not been to China, and I haven’t given my password, but we had the forensics to go in there and figure out that what actually had happened and it goes to the problem of maintaining security in this system is that, as you know, these servers and IP addresses are all across the Air Force, are all across the world, and at some point his data went through an IP in China, but our system was sensitive enough to pick up that all of these packets of data were coming from some place that we did not know whether or not it was trustworthy or not. So, it was one of those innocent kinds of things, but we were aware of what was happening. And we’re moving to the common access card, which is a source of pain for a lot of us, but we have to do that, because that allows us to do is get away from having the passwords, and what you have on all of our systems is this password list, and some nefarious bad guy gets in there and picks up all of these passwords, and then he gets route access and then he starts listening to us and has the potential to corrupt our data. Or in fact, just cause damage within our systems, so we’re going to have to move to that and we got to figure out a way to move to that usefully. So, we have stood up Net Ops Command — I think they’re doing a remarkable process, when you sit down and you watch this, and it’s just as if you’re in a CAOC watching an airplane unfold, you’re watching all of the transmissions moving across, you’re seeing the little red lights that light up that tell you something’s not right here, someone’s accessing something that they don’t have the authority to access, so we’ve got that running. The next thing is we just stood up a Network Warfare Wing, the first Network Warfare Wing in the United States Air Force, to bring together the abilities to surveil, attack, and defend our networks — I mean this is not a one-way street. We realize the fact that this is the next frontier, this is the next battlefield, and we have to be able to not only defend our nets, but also take advantage of other peoples’ nets, those who are not doing a good enough job at defending. Along with that, of course, what we have to develop is the cyber warriors so that there’s a career progression, so that we have people who can make the policy, we have, you know, Tom Hobbins was the SAF/XE before he took over USAFE, now we got Mike Peterson who’s the XE and the CIO, we need to grow those talented people, that understand networks, who understand the capabilities and the opportunities and also the vulnerabilities. That’s the direction that we’re on, so how do we train them how do we sustain them how do we make sure that they’re not in a dead-end job, that they move in and out of cyberspace to become integrated Air Force warriors? That’s the challenge that we have before us right now in developing, how do we make this organization without stovepiping another organization, but how do we make an organization that has the equipment, the people, the technology that they need to persevere and win in the next war?
Peterson: Chief, how do you see the envisioning the future of a long range strike platform—it’s been in the news a lot and we’ve been working on that?
General Moseley: Thanks for the opportunity to talk about that one too. Let me start off by saying the soul of an Air Force is range and payload—always has been and it always will be. Our job, General Larry Welsh who used to be the Chief has taught all of us at this table how to think about things on a global scale. The first job we have in this Air Force that General Chilton and General Keys are responsible for is to be able to see things on the surface of the earth, whether we see things from orbit or whether we see them from atmospheric systems. The next job we have is to be able to range those activities or those targets. We range them to be able to continue to surveil them, or we range them to hold them at risk. We range those activities to deter and dissuade activities, or we range them to strike them. The third thing that we do different than anyone else is we command control those activities on a global scale, and the fourth thing we do is to be able to assess that effect. Were the only service that has that global responsibility and we do that from space and we do that from the atmosphere, so this issue of range and payload is a critical one for us, because you have to be able to range those activities. So, we now have the next-generation long-range strike work being done, we now have the authority to conduct an analysis of alternatives on the next generation long-range strike you can read “bomber.” And we’re beginning to move out on the notions of what’s possible with current technology and what’s possible with the current sets of engines, with the current sets of munitions, and with the current sets of sensors, to be able to look at something that perhaps is a backfill to the B-1 and the B-52. So, we’re just beginning this journey, we’ve just had the opportunity to hand over the task to Air Combat Command and Air Force Materiel Command to look at what’s possible with an analysis of alternatives and to look at what’s possible out there in partnering with others to be able to get at this capability. But, at the end of the day make no mistake, the soul of an air force is range and payload, and our beat is a global beat. Everything on the surface of the Earth we have to be able to see, we have to be able to assess, we have to be able to pass that information to US CENTCOM, EUCOM, PACOM, US Forces Korea, SOUTHCOM, Special Ops Command, and STRATCOM. And so the ability to stay ahead of the technology, the ability to stay ahead of the opportunities, and to be able to deter and dissuade with those capabilities, or the notion of forcing competitive strategies, is a very useful notion in today’s world. So, we’re on Step 1 of that journey right now for this next generation of long-range strike, parenthesis, bomber.
Peterson: How will the cut in personnel affect our ability to support our commitments at home and abroad, and how is it going to affect our AEF?
General Moseley: Okay, let me jump on that hand grenade first, and then, or let me put the pin back in that hand grenade. Let’s talk facts just for a minute. We’ve only deployed a little over half of the Air Force. We’ve been at this business in the Middle East now for 16 years. When we deployed into the eastern province of Saudi Arabia in the late fall of 1990 and began combat in 1991, the Air Force has never left the Middle East. We’ve operated out of a variety of different airfields; we spent years in no-fly zones; in the middle of that, two additional deployments, Vigilant Warrior and Desert Fox, back into the Middle East with large numbers of aircraft and people. And in the middle of that, we did Bosnia, we did Kosovo, all while we’ve done Korea, the Pacific, SOUTHCOM, SOCOM, EUCOM, etc. But we’ve been in solid combat in the Arabian Gulf area for close to 16 years. We’ve been at war in Afghanistan longer than World War II, much longer than World War II, in fact. And we still have only deployed a little over half the Air Force, so the challenge is to get at a more sizable piece of the Air Force that is trained and ready to go, carrying dog tags, leave and earning statement, ID, passport, ready to move out inside the AEF template. We now up to about 86 percent of the Air Force instead the AEF template. We’re inside the buckets for the AEF. So, we still have 18 percent of the Air Force that needs to be inside that so we can arrive at 100 percent of the Air Force that’s deployable. That doesn’t mean that everyone will be deployed, that just means that everyone will be trained and ready to deploy. So, when we talk about the drawdown what we really need to talk about is how do we access the entire population of the Air Force to be able to do this global mission? How do we get at 100 percent of the Air Force -- those that have deployed, the half or so that have? When you look at the Guard and the Reserve and their contributions, and you look at Duncan McNabb’s C-130 world, when you look at Ron Keys’ U-2s, when you look at some of the combat rescue assets, you see multiple deployments. You also see a fascinating reality that we have 263 AFSCs (Air Force Specialty Codes)which plays into General Looney’s world and for every one of those AFSCs is a schoolhouse. For every one of those schoolhouses are desks and books and instructors. Do we need 263 AFSCs or should we have a fewer number of deployable family groupings of AFSCs? So, the intent of everybody at this table is to get 100 percent of the Air Force and the AEF rotation option and to get our arms around everyone that is in the Air Force to be able to perform a combatant task. So, when we talk about the drawdown, sure there’s some stress on the system out there, but the bigger question is how to get 100 percent of the existing Air Force into a deployable bucket. Now we’re working the drawdown — it’s unfortunate, but when you look at the four colors of money, and the O&M (Operations and Maintenance) account, we’re at war, so we have to fly and we have to maintain our airplanes. When you look at the infrastructure of MILCON (Military Construction) accounts we’re not cutting off the quality of life for our people on our bases. We’re not going to reduce the quality of life in dormitories or base housing; we're not going to reduce the quality of life for our standards on bases. When you look at the personnel account, you have to pay everyone that’s on duty that morning, but moral imperatives are to pay people that come to work. The only other color of money you have is the investment account—all of our predecessors were forced by a variety of factors to take all of the challenges on the financial side out of the investment account, and the result is we have the oldest Air Force we’ve had in the history of the service. And it’s getting worse. So, you have to make a cut somewhere to be able to furnish the funds for the investment account, so that’s where the 40,000 people came from. But, when you look at only half the Air Force that’s deployed, the real trick is to fund the investment accounts and be able to respond to tasking and be able to get your arms around 100 percent of the force, so that’s our challenge.
General Keys: Let me jump on a couple of things here. You know we’re bringing on the F-22 Raptor, and you look at the Raptor, and for every Raptor I’m buying, I’m probably going to get rid of at least three F-15s. So, there’s an, I’m saving people. Now the Raptor doesn’t come with as many people to maintain it as an F—15 does. When I bring on Global Hawks, when I start replacing my U-2s with Global Hawks, I’m going to have a manpower savings here, simply because it doesn’t take the same number of people. As we bring on a larger fleet of Predators we’re going to be in the same situation. So, there’s some rationale to the fact that as you get new equipment, you’re not replacing it on a one-to-one basis, which means you need fewer people. The second part of that of course is it’s fairly obvious to us that you can’t take 40,000 inboxes and take all of the work and spread it out to everybody that’s left in the Air Force. That’s not going to work. So, there are two challenges and we’re meeting this challenge through what we call Air Force Smart Ops. Now I’ve lived through the Quality Air Force and we’re not living through that again. That didn’t work the first time, it was painful, and we all got wrapped around axle and the metric was how many people did you change, not how many things did you change? We’re going at it differently—the first thing is you have to figure out what are the right things to do? There are a lot of things we do in the United States Air Force that we do better than anybody else in the world, but it just doesn’t have to be done. And if it has to be done, it doesn’t have to be done by us, because we’re going to have to make some hard choices on what are we going to have to stop doing. Once we define exactly what it is we’re supposed to be doing, then we have to figure out what’s the right way to do it. And that’s the essence of Smart Ops. The guys out at Nellis (Nevada), they’re training, they’re in overdrive out there, but they have taken the time to figure out how to put Eagles on the ramp 15 more days a year. Now if you go through a fleet that you’ve got on your base, and you can put an airplane on a ramp 15 more days per year that makes important advantages for you. That means that you don’t have to be in a 12-hour shift, that means you’ve got airplanes that you have more scheduled maintenance on, that means that you’ve got more tails that you can go do the job that you have to do. The guys out of Pope (North Carolina) have done the same thing — they’ve gone through how you generate an A-10. They figured out they’re wasting about almost 6,000 hours a year just walking to and from the airplane because of where the entry control point was. You go, “How can we miss something like that in the great Air Force that we have?” That’s what Smart Ops allows you to do. We’re changing the rules on how we operate and asking the question, “Why do we do it this way?” That’s the way I think we’re going to work through. I’m going to lose 12,600 people in Air Combat Command. That’s a lot of people. On the other hand, that’s about 10 percent of my force. Can I do that? I think I can do that, but we have to make sure that the stressed AFSCs that we have don’t become more stressed and we don’t unintentionally make stressed AFSCs out of ones that are solid now. The challenge that I just gave to all my wing commanders is tell me what it is that you’re not going to do. And not around the margins, we need to kill something big here so that I can do what it is I have to do. That’s a challenge that we’re all facing. The great news is that you have a lot of enthusiastic people out there that anytime you go around and visit, you ask them, hey how are you doing, and they will look you in the eye and say, great, general. The next question I’m going to start asking is, how do you know? And I’m going to get a blank stare for a while. And what I wanted to say is that because this is what I’m supposed to be doing, this is the process that I do it by and these are the metrics that say I’m doing it faster, cheaper, better, and they say I’m doing great. If we can get down to that kind of objective analysis, I think we’ll be well on our way to success in our Air Force as we work through this 40,000 people cut.
General Hobbins: Let me just echo one thing to line up with what Ron’s talking about with Air Force Smart Ops 21 and how it just completed this value stream analysis for our major command in United States Air Forces Europe. One of the things we wanted to launch off on is looking at process improvement in the way it attacks these PBD 720 cuts, so if you’re out there looking at your ammo systems or the large number of cuts that are occurring in your wings then you find the comm. Computer systems are like number two, and the personnel are number three, and age might even be number four, then you’re looking at process improvements in those career fields, if you will, that will in fact turn into efficiencies in your work. So, you start off with baselining the work hours, and then you go from there and you look for processes that will in fact save hours and time and money in these areas, and the main objective there is to convince the Airmen that we have an understanding that as the faces are leaving we know that there’s pain out there, it’s not about doing more with less, it’s about doing more with less in a very smart and efficient way. So, AFSO 21, I think you’ve heard the Chief and the Secretary both mention this, it’s the way of the future, I think the efficiencies are out there, and we really have to concentrate on convincing the Airmen that we have their best interests in mind, and were looking at those areas that are going to be cut abruptly here with PBD 720 to find the efficiencies, so that instead of doing 240 hours overtime that they’re doing in the engine phase inspection on C-130s now, they’re doing zero, because we did an AFSO 21 event. And that will help that overall career field and the ones that associate with it.
General Moseley: Let me sum this up. The real bottom line here is that our job is to fight and win our nation’s wars. Our job is to fly and fight and win these wars. And to do that inside a magnificent joint team, and to do that inside a magnificent coalition team, alongside soldiers, sailors, Marines, coastguardsmen. The average age of our aircraft is not going to take us in 10 years or 15 years to a place where we’ll be able to do that. We have to come off of this old equipment. We have to be able to recapitalize and get this Air Force into a place with newer equipment with our people on the leading edge of warfighting skills, joint warfighting skills, interoperability, interdependence skills, and this AFSO 21 is the ability to recapitalize and modernize. That’s what this is about. So, let’s make no mistake about the path that we’re on, that’s to get the Air Force into the 21st century, and still be able to fly and fight and still win this country’s wars.
Peterson: General Hester, we recently saw the launch of several missiles out of North Korea. You’re command obviously spans a giant geographic area, could you comment a little bit on the activity of the Pacific, and how we’re working to maintain security in the area?
General Hester: We were working very closely of course with General Chilton and his folks in observing with our space assets what was happening in North Korea. And we’ve worked very carefully through PACOM as well as through PACAF to Japan where we had an opportunity to observe those launches out of North Korea as well. As you are well aware, we are not changing significantly the force structure across the Pacific, both in Korea, Japan, Alaska, and Guam and Hawaii; we are not changing our force structure very much. What we are doing as the chief is starting the modernization program, we are modestly increasing the number and the quality of airplanes and equipment that we are bringing into the Pacific such as the first-ever C-17 stationed outside the mainland of the United States. The first eight arrived in Hawaii this year; the next eight will arrive in Alaska this coming year. This coming year, we’ll see the first F-22s stationed outside the mainland of the United States, put our first squadron into Alaska, and our second squadron will be there in 08. The third squadron, which will be the seventh of the seven that we currently see, in our F-22 program, will be stationed and placed at Hawaii Air National Guard and that’ll be out in about 2011. So, consequently, we are going to have very modest growth with those people, as General Keys just mentioned, as we see the number of people will grow modestly, as we see the number of people reduced number per airplane, per platform, as we remodernize and recapitalize our equipment, as the Chief has articulated. Those assets along with the ones that come from the mainland presently of the United States, out of General Keys’ command in Air Combat Command — the bombers that have been continuously deployed into Guam for the past two years, now going on three years. The tankers that come out of the AMC assets that are out there supporting those, the AEF rotation and deployment of F-15Es, F-16s that have come into our theater, we will see that and those assets collective, together, are providing the stability for our command and also provide the right face to those who would cause harm in the Pacific to peace and stability.
Peterson: General Bradley, your command is also going through a bit of change—especially with the initiatives we have of merging active and reservists together. Can you talk about that just briefly on how it’s coming?
General Bradley: You bet. Thank you for the forum and thanks for inviting us to be here. We are undergoing a lot of change in many ways, we’re doing a lot of base closures, we’re undergoing a number of the cuts that we’ve previously discussed, and PBD 720. But, the exciting thing about our future as we take some of those reductions and move out of some of the bases for which we now fly, is the total force integration efforts that the Secretary and the Chief have encouraged us to move forward on. We have funded all the initiatives that the Chief and the Secretary asked us to do in our long-range budget, our program. There are many exciting things there. General Hester just mentioned the F-22s going to Alaska. He and General Moseley asked us to set up an associate’s squadron there. We’ve selected our first maintenance and operations people to begin that effort hand in hand with the 3rd Wing and Pacific Air Forces, and I’m very very excited about that total force integration. But, we’ve been doing this kind of thing for a very long time. We have, in the air mobility world, since 1968 had associate wings and squadrons, with every strategic airlift unit in the United States since 1968. We began doing it in KC-10s and SAC (Strategic Air Command) in 1979 and 80, and then in the 90s we got into associate squadrons in space and with AETC and the undergraduate pilot training business and with F-16 training. We’ve done it in AFSOC associate units; we’ve done it in AWACS. So, we have done a lot of this kind of thing in the past, so we’ve got a track record here. And I see a great future for us in total force integration. A quick little story about how this is going right now. Three weeks ago, I was in Bagram, Afghanistan, visiting an A-10 squadron that was doing close air support, dropping more bombs than they’ve dropped in Afghanistan since they went in there in Oct. 2001, and there was an A-10 fighter squadron there doing close air support for our joint partners and coalition partners, and doing great work for us. Before that deployment took place, the wing commander from Spangdahlem, Col. Fingers Goldfein, and reserve wing commander at Whiteman, Col. Pat Corde, got together and decided how they wanted to do this. And Spangdahlem provided a squadron commander and I provided an ops group commander there and we sort of split the airplanes, 8 & 6, and we sent in maintenance and ops folks. Spangdahlem sent some folks over to Whiteman to get some training on the Litening AT targeting pod, we’ve got those pods, and we got a Rover mod in it that helps downlink to the JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers). It’s a great system, but we provided training to those Spang pilots and they totally integrated when they went to Bagram, so I went out on that flight line and I saw a line up of jets, and I saw Whiteman folks working on Spangdahlem jets, and Spangdahlem folks working on Whiteman jets, and Whiteman pilots flying Spang jets and vice versa. And the flights were integrated; it was unusual to find two Spangdahlem pilots flying together or two Whiteman pilots flying together. That is total force integration. And the real measure of that was the Spang squadron, the 81st Fighter Squadron had the lead on this expeditionary fighter squadron, but they decided this is a joint effort, and the 81st and the 303rd Fighter Squadron, the 81st decided let’s call this is 384th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, they added the two numbers together and they made up a patch, it had elements of both. That’s a heck of visual signal to me that we have total force integration. We know how to work together, we know how to interwork and fly together and fight together and I think that is a great way of the future. But we’re doing it now, and that’s because we got Airmen out there working in this AEF business doing close air support. So, to sum up, we are going to continue to do more and more of these total force integration efforts which will be more reserve units associating with active, some guard units associating with us and vice versa, and some reverse associate, where for instance, at Pope Air Force Base, Air Mobility Command C-130 folks will associate with our outfits, so we’ll do more of that all over the country. It’s a great future for us, and with the reductions in the people we have we find great efficiencies and economies in a proven model.
Peterson: We see every day in the paper, in the civilian industry, major cuts and benefits for their employees, do you see that happening to us in our Air Force?
General Moseley: No. I don’t see that. I don’t see any desire to reduce the quality of life of our people. I don’t see any desire to reduce the level of benefits to our people; I don’t see any of that. One of the challenges, though, is the benefits come to us from the Hill and sometimes the money doesn’t come with that. And I know the Air Force Association’s been actively involved and engaged on the Hill with that and we appreciate that. You’ll see no distance between us and the desire to take care of our people and make sure of the benefits and everything that we can accrue to take care of these magnificent Airmen. That’s where we are. Sometimes the issues to take care of people gets a little bit ahead of the check that’s written to cover that. You’ll see us get a little more active on asking where’s the money. Because the people are not only our biggest treasure, but also the most expensive thing that we have in this Air Force, and so to maintain this treasure, and to maintain the care of these people, and to maintain the quality of this life and the future of this Air Force, that’s where that balance is. And for the Air Force Association leadership here today, for all of us, thank you for helping to identify that, and thank you for helping make sure that that was on everybody’s plate when we talk about this.
Peterson: One last question here sir, from the personnel side. What’s the status of the approval of the ground combat badge?
General Moseley: Let me help correct you a little bit, it’s not a ground combat badge. As we look at the process we’ve got this thing now to a place that I’m told that Roger Brady who’s our A-1 can bring this to Corona next week so that these folks at this table can look at it and we can take it to Secretary Wynne for him to look at. But let’s also be very clear on this, this is not a ground combat badge. This is a combat badge for the Air Force. We have a variety of other ribbons involved in this, but what the intent here is to recognize personal close combat whether you are airborne or whether you are on the surface. And so as we get closer to this thing, we’ll get a good look at it next week. I’ve not seen all the details, other than the Secretary and I have told Roger go figure this out. As a previous DP, you’ll appreciate that. Go figure this out. So, next week we’ll get a first look at it, those of us at the table here, so we can talk about that with Secretary Wynne. It will not be a ground combat badge. But it merits discussion, because there’s no intent here to separate our surface warfighting professionals from those that fly in the air or vice versa. An airman is an airman.
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