Schwartz: Air Force Will Preserve ‘Core Contributions’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Air Force lead­ers are focused on man­ag­ing poten­tial bud­get con­straints so that the ser­vice can con­tin­ue to pro­vide its unique con­tri­bu­tions to nation­al secu­ri­ty, the Air Force chief of staff said yes­ter­day.

Air Force Association's 2011 Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Nor­ton Schwartz speaks to atten­dees Sept. 20, 2011, at the Air Force Association’s 2011 Air and Space Con­fer­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Expo­si­tion at Nation­al Har­bor, Md.
U.S. Air Force pho­to by Air­man 1st Class Melis­sa Goslin
Click to enlarge

Speak­ing before hun­dreds of atten­dees at the Air Force Association’s 2011 Air and Space Con­fer­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Expo­si­tion here, Gen. Nor­ton A. Schwartz said ser­vice lead­ers will not allow bud­get pres­sures to cre­ate a future force that “mere­ly appears on paper to be effec­tive, but in real­i­ty is reduced sub­stan­tial­ly in depth and breadth.” Schwartz said the Air Force’s core con­tri­bu­tions reside in four main areas: con­trol and exploita­tion of the air and space domains, as well as mis­sion assur­ance in cyber­space; glob­al strike; rapid glob­al mobil­i­ty; and world­wide intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance.

These four con­tri­bu­tions are enhanced by the Air Force’s supe­ri­or com­mand and con­trol net­works, Schwartz said.

“In any bud­get sce­nario, we will be required to con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing capa­bil­i­ties that offer the nation’s lead­ers a wide range of strate­gic options for rapid and flex­i­ble pow­er pro­jec­tion,” Schwartz said. “Our core con­tri­bu­tions enable America’s glob­al per­spec­tive and result in appro­pri­ate­ly tai­lored effects at times and places of our choos­ing.”

The Air Force’s unique capa­bil­i­ties are essen­tial for the nation’s strate­gic inter­ests, eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty and mil­i­tary readi­ness, Schwartz said, describ­ing the Unit­ed States as an “air and space nation.”

“So as we may have to care­ful­ly con­sid­er reduced capac­i­ties in some areas while main­tain­ing, and per­haps increas­ing invest­ment in oth­ers, we must care­ful­ly con­sid­er and cal­i­brate our accep­tance of risk, man­i­fest­ed in a force that’s small­er in size and scale,” he said.

Such “dif­fi­cult choic­es,” will extend into the Air Force’s pro­cure­ment pro­grams, the gen­er­al said. Future devel­op­ment efforts will have to be less ambi­tious, and gov­ern­ment and indus­try must appraise and adhere to gen­uine oper­a­tional require­ments and eval­u­ate man­u­fac­tura­bil­i­ty ear­ly.

“We require straight talk from every­body,” Schwartz said. “Gov­ern­ment must ensure sta­ble require­ments and reli­able fund­ing streams, while indus­try must bid accord­ing to real­is­tic esti­mates, and resist offer­ing to sell more than what is oper­a­tional­ly required.”

The Air Force’s acqui­si­tion corps is ready for such chal­lenges, giv­en the progress it has made over the last three years, he said.

“Although we will always be account­able for respon­si­bly expend­ing hard-earned and pre­cious tax­pay­er dol­lars, we can regard our acqui­si­tion process­es and pro­ce­dures as hav­ing achieved a notable restora­tion of effec­tive con­trol and over­sight,” Schwartz said.

Anoth­er area the Air Force has made sim­i­lar progress in since 2008 is the nuclear enter­prise. “With­out rest­ing on our lau­rels, we can be proud of the result: a nuclear enter­prise that is renewed and focused on its com­mit­ment to avoid­ing crit­i­cal per­for­mance short­falls,” he said. “Our work in this crit­i­cal area remains wor­thy, val­ued and essen­tial to our nation’s secu­ri­ty.”

To main­tain such excel­lence across the Air Force, the gen­er­al said the ser­vice will inten­si­fy its efforts to devel­op air­men, “arm­ing them with intel­lec­tu­al and expe­ri­en­tial strength that is on par with the advanced capa­bil­i­ties that our weapon sys­tems pro­vide.”

Schwartz acknowl­edged the excel­lence dis­played by all air­men by rec­og­niz­ing the achieve­ments of Staff Sgt. Robert Gutier­rez Jr., a joint ter­mi­nal attack con­troller who, despite suf­fer­ing seri­ous wounds, helped save his Spe­cial Forces team in Afghanistan dur­ing a Tal­iban attack by expert­ly call­ing in air strikes.

Sec­re­tary of the Air Force Michael B. Don­ley recent­ly approved the award­ing of the Air Force Cross, the service’s high­est mil­i­tary hon­or, to Gutier­rez, Schwartz announced dur­ing his remarks.

While air­men face a future of fis­cal and oper­a­tional chal­lenges, Schwartz said he remains con­fi­dent that the Air Force will remain ready to defend the nation and its free­doms.

“The U.S. Air Force will be pre­pared for what­ev­er the nation requires of us,” he said. “We will pro­vide the many util­i­ties of air­pow­er, as only air­men can pro­vide it: vital in the nation­al con­text and indis­pens­able in the proud pur­suit of our nation’s inter­ests.

“We will be there for our joint team­mates and for the nation,” he con­tin­ued. “We will do it, or we’ll die try­ing.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter