Michael Donley is Secretary of the Air Force. This is the third of four op-eds Sec. Donley wrote exclusively for Breaking Defense on the future of the Air Force. Today’s piece deals with the difficult decisions the Air Force must make to preserve its readiness to respond to crises around the world. We are running one op-ed a day, Tuesday through Friday.
Over the past decade, the Air Force has fielded new and impressive warfighting capabilities in support of joint and coalition operations. Bolstered by combat experience, our military has never been stronger. Keep reading →
HEADQUARTERS, ALLIED COMMAND TRANSFORMATION, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA: A new era is dawning for NATO — though no one knows quite what it means. Now Allied Command Transformation, the only NATO organization headquartered on US soil, is driving an overhaul of how the alliance trains, strategizes, and shares the burden among its increasingly cash-strapped members in a post-Afghanistan, post-”Pacific pivot” world.
That’s a tough task when NATO must make do with what its 28 member nations choose to contribute, each on its own terms. In Afghanistan, some NATO contingents have fought hard — France has lost 86 troops, Canada 158, Britain 438 — but others have been largely kept out of combat by “caveats” imposed by their home countries. In Libya, a European-led operation helped oust Muammar Gaddafi but struggled with intelligence-sharing and shortages of smart bombs. And back in Europe, the alliance has struggled since 2003 to stand up a 13,000-strong crisis-response unit called the NATO Response Force, NRF. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Hey, you want Special Forces? The Army’s got your back. Want air defense Missile defense? Communications? Intelligence? Logistical support? Joint Task Force headquarters? Go Army!
Just — just please, don’t cut our budget any more, okay? Keep reading →
NATIONAL HARBOR: As the US shifts its focus from low-tech Taliban “cavemen” to an aggressively modernizing China, the Air Force has launched an urgent effort to find near-term countermeasures against a foe that can jam sensors, hack networks, disrupt communications, and shut down GPS.
“Mostly we’re looking at the next three to five years,” said Randall Walden, the director of information dominance programs under the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition. On that schedule, he said, “you’re not talking about a brand new system. You’re not even talking about cutting a hole in a current plane [to modify it]. You’re talking about pods and concepts.” Keep reading →
While the active-duty Air Force and the National Guard are at odds over budget cuts in Washington, the relationship seems smoother at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base, where an Air National Guard officer assigned the an active-duty 33rd Fighter Wing became the first Guard pilot to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the controversial product of the Pentagon’s biggest procurement program. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: To squeeze the most it can out of every training dollar in an era of shrinking budgets, the Army Reserve will rely more on simulators and long-distance learning to replace traditional drill weekends, outgoing Chief of Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jack Stulz said today. Those efficiencies, in turn, will free up funds for ambitious new efforts to do more training abroad with allies and in three state-of-the-art training centers in the US: Fort Hunter Liggett in California, Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, and Fort Dix in New Jersey.
“We’re going to have constrained resources,” Lt. Gen. Stultz , who retires this summer, told reporters this morning in a farewell conference call. While his six years as Chief of Army Reserve were a period of virtually “unconstrained” resources but never enough time in the rush to support the war effort, Stultz said, his successor Lt. Gen. Jeff Talley will face the challenge of sustaining the force affordably for the long haul. A key part of that will be a new approach to training. Keep reading →