Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it's a pleasure to have a chance to discuss the Quadrennial Defense Review with you. I'll talk about three topics. First, I want to discuss what we did to prepare for the QDR. Second, I will tell you what we did during the conduct of the QDR. Finally, I will share my response to the report itself.
Over 2 years ago, the Secretary of the Air Force and I decided the service needed to embark on a long-range planning effort. We sought to develop a new vision for the Air Force that would serve the nation in the coming century.
When we started our long-range planning effort we began by reassessing our responsibilities as the United States Air Force. While the other services have splendid air arms, we have one Air Force.
Therefore, we are charged with the responsibility of providing air and space power for the nation across the entire spectrum of crisis and conflict. There is no competing priority within our service across that spectrum. We concentrate solely upon air and space power.
As we started into our long-range plan, we wanted to make sure we understood the core competencies that air and space power must provide the nation in the first quarter of the 21st century. We wanted to get it right, and we wanted to communicate it to our people and the American public.
We used studies produced at our Air University, such as "Spacecast 2020" and "Air Force 2025." We initiated the Air Force's Scientific Advisory Board technology study called "New World Vistas." The RAND corporation, under the auspices of Project Air Force, produced a study about future force structures.
After almost a year of preparation, the senior leaders of the Air Force spent an entire week in October 1996 discussing the future. We talked about capabilities. We talked about the most valuable part of our force - our people - their career patterns and values. We talked about technology and trends. After discussing all these issues, we identified six core competencies that the Air Force must provide the nation in the first quarter of the 21st century.
I want to emphasize that these core competencies are not proprietary. In other words, just because the Air Force says "this is a core competency" does not mean we are trying to exclude some other service or agency from providing it. What we are saying is that as the force responsible for the development and fielding of air and space power, we must be engaged in these things. The nation holds the Air Force responsible for these things. Besides, you can't claim a competency - you've got to earn it. We have done so.
As we began to explore the capabilities of air and space power in the future, it became clear we needed to recognize the impact of the revolution in information technology. In the first quarter of the 21st century you will be able to find, fix or track, and target - in near real-time - anything of consequence that moves upon or is located on the face of the Earth. Now, I realize that statement has drawn some adverse comments in the past, but I meant it before and I mean it now.
Quite frankly, we can already do most of that today. We just can't do it in near real-time. When fully mature, that capability will have a profound impact on all the services - not just surface forces, but all military forces - and we have to think about what that means before a conflict begins.
The first of these core competencies is air and space superiority. What we are talking about is not just freedom from attack, but being able to dominate the other person's airspace. The second core competency is precision engagement. If you have air and space superiority, then you want to be able to exploit that advantage to precisely engage an adversary. Precision engagement goes well beyond delivering iron on a target. It's also precision airlift, precision aerial resupply, and the precision that comes from being able to attack the right node in an adversary's command and control system by both lethal and non-lethal means. It is the employment of our special operations forces.
Global attack is another core competency we felt the nation needed and the Air Force should provide. This core competency has two dimensions. One is the ability to strike targets while operating from bases in the continental United States. The other is the expeditionary nature of our forces that can deploy forward and provide sustained combat operations.
The fourth core competency is rapid global mobility. The Air Force must provide the capability that meets the nation's requirement to reach out and influence events - either lethally or non-lethally - around the world.
The fifth core competency is information superiority. This entails the idea that you must be able to defend your own information systems and attack the other person's systems. Since information systems will continue to grow in importance, we must stay engaged in these areas.
Agile combat support is the final core competency we identified. Since we cannot deploy large numbers of heavy forces and supplies in the first hours and days of a fast rising crisis, we have to be able to pick up and quickly move light, agile forces to prevent or deter escalation of a crisis.
When we were developing this vision, we were missing something on joint warfare. Since the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, we have been talking about joint warfare, but many people define joint warfare as having a sailor, a soldier, an airman and a Marine involved in everything we do. This is a superficial definition that obscures true jointness.
Last summer, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff published "Joint Vision 2010." This forward thinking document provided a vision for how we fight as a joint team in the future. It talks about four key operational concepts for joint warfare: dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection and focused logistics. When we saw that document, and saw the fit between it and our core competencies, we knew we were on the right track. Finally, it appeared that Joint Doctrine was moving toward the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and would now be able to harness airpower more effectively.
To move these ideas and core competencies from vision to reality, you need to try new things and figure out how these things will work in wartime. In fact, many of the RMA capabilities the Air Force is so proud of were already tested and proven in the crucible of America's resounding victory in Desert Storm. We took the lessons from that wartime experience and folded them into the F-22. The F-22 program is not about higher, faster, farther. It's about the Revolution in Military Affairs, making it possible for all of our forces to play their parts and we can operate with risk levels the public can support. The F-22 program has been carefully crafted. It's not extravagant. However, the alternative -- giving up American air dominance -- would be unaffordable, because we'd be paying in the priceless currency of our sons and daughters.
We plan to explore the future by establishing new, focused battle labs in several of these key areas: space operations, unmanned aerial vehicles, battle management, air expeditionary forces, force protection and information warfare.
We came out of this long-range planning effort with two products. The first was a short 20- to 25-page statement of our strategic vision. We published that in November 1996 as "Global Engagement: A Vision for the 21st Century Air Force." It is the road map - the architectural framework - for where we go in the future. The second product is a no-kidding, long-range plan that contains objectives and milestones and serves as the actionable part of this process.
It was an exciting and fascinating process. Even if we had never produced a document, the intellectual effort would have been worthwhile for the US Air Force. Most importantly, the long-range planning effort left us superbly prepared and finely focused as we entered the QDR. We used the ideas generated by our long-range planning to prepare for the QDR. We will use those same ideas to fulfill our responsibilities in the future.
During the QDR, there was ample participation from the Military Services and the Unified Commanders-in-Chief. Frankly, I wish there could have been more time. That would have led to even more extensive involvement and we could have had a full, interactive, and iterative process. We didn't have the complement of time I'm certain everyone involved would have preferred. I think the drafters deserve praise for a tough job done well. Overall, the report is comprehensive and insightful. There are some specifics of which we are particularly proud.
Perhaps our most important contribution was assisting the Secretary of Defense as he crafted a new national military strategy. In it, we see a reflection of increased appreciation for the advantages and possibilities responsive and capable forces provide to the nation. The strategy includes a new special emphasis on the critical importance of an early, decisive halt to armed aggression - an area in which air and space forces have disproportionate value. I firmly believe more examination of the phases of this strategy - halt, buildup, and counter-offensive - is warranted.
As a service, our strength lies in projecting lethality with less vulnerability. I don't apologize for that, but it has some necessary consequences. The first and most obvious of these is that with the advance of technology, we can substitute a smaller, more agile force for a large, standing one and deliver more firepower in the process. I won't apologize for that, either, because the net effect is savings in dollars and lives.
The force structure implications of this change in strategy demand the effective use of our citizen soldiers. Every recommendation made was within the Total Force concept, and the Air Force intends to take advantage of further opportunities for consolidation by sharing the operational burden with the reserve component. We firmly believe the course we have outlined to be appropriate, cost-effective, and consistent with American values. We embrace the Total Force concept - the Air Force couldn't go to war otherwise. We simply want to make certain we receive full credit for the savings we've accumulated and those we generate by our effective use of reserve and Guard airmen.
Mr. Chairman and Members, getting "lean and mean" is no easy feat. We can be mean if we have to but we need your help to get lean. In fitting our force structure to coming needs, we had to make some hard, but necessary recommendations on infrastructure. These recommendations are consistent with the way the nation's Air Force should be postured in the coming decades. As a steward of air and space resources, the Secretary and I pledge that we will allocate identified savings toward key modernization programs as well as other areas that enhance modernization efforts. The Secretary of Defense has made a collateral pledge - the $4.6 billion saved by the Air Force will be reinvested in the Air Force.
I am pleased to see a commitment by leadership to engage our forces as selectively as possible and to continue the efforts to manage peacetime OPSTEMPO and PERSTEMPO within sustainable limits. The continuity, pace, and frequency of these engagements is something I'm becoming more concerned about with every passing day. We're seeing the indications of some real wear and tear on the force. We can't ignore or neglect those indications. For the airman in the field, there are really only three concerns: will things get better, will they stay about the same, or will they get worse? Based on everything I see and hear, most of our force feels the latter is most likely.
There's one last topic area that might not make everyone here stand up and cheer. As you recall, in Global Engagement we made a commitment to aggressively reduce costs through outsourcing and privatization. We will follow through on that commitment in order to sustain current readiness while modernizing for the future. One of our key objectives during the QDR was to see whether we could achieve savings while maintaining a strong defense. We firmly believe we can. Give us the chance to prove it. The free market made American business innovative, responsive, and powerful. The Air Force shares those characteristics, so we are natural partners in the collective enterprise of national security.
Finally, I have some thoughts on the entirety of the QDR. I have heard it said, and believe it to be true, that this is a journey and not a destination. We have begun a great debate over the size and composition of US military forces. That debate is going to continue for some time to come. This process requires time time to intellectualize, time to propose alternatives, and time to build a consensus. I will do everything I can - both as a member of the Joint Chiefs and in fulfilling my Title 10 responsibilities as the principal advisor on air and space power - to make certain that the recognition of the full contribution and potential of air and space forces comes sooner, rather than later.