Defense

November 21, 2012

Air Force secretary addresses rebalance to the Pacific

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley spoke about the Air Force’s role in the U.S. defense strategy to rebalance to the Asia-Pacific during the Air Force Association’s Global Warfare Symposium in Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 16.

Donley closed the symposium, which gathered more than 320 airmen, industry officials and Air Force Association members together to discuss the current state of the Air Force, as well as the increasing demands on space, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Since the release of the President’s Defense Strategic Guidance last January, the document’s reference to the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region has generated much interest, said the secretary, but “it’s important to dispel the myth that this dynamic and diverse region was ever thought to be unimportant. As a Pacific power, the United States has substantial strategic and commercial interests in the region.”

The Asia-Pacific region is home to the world’s six largest militaries, and the United States is party to five mutual defense treaties with countries in the region.

Transnational threats, including terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and weapons proliferation all pose risks to peace and stability in the region, Donley said.

Additionally, natural disasters have caused widespread damage and destruction in the Asia-Pacific and have made multinational humanitarian assistance efforts a regular occurrence.

“In hindsight we can speculate that our Nation might have devoted greater attention to the Asia-Pacific region if urgent requirements in Afghanistan and Iraq had not intervened,” said Donley, but the end of operations in Iraq and the active transition of operations in Afghanistan have made possible a reassessment of U.S. global strategic interests.

“[The Defense Strategic Guidance] envisions a joint force for the future that will be smaller and leaner, but will be agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced,” he said.

For the Air Force, that means the opportunity to “build upon” a long history in the Pacific.

“A history that includes innovative World War II Airmen whose island-hopping strategy – evading the enemy while establishing critical airfields to extend our reach – demonstrated to great effect the advantages airpower can provide,” the secretary said.

It also means an opportunity to leverage the unique characteristics of airpower – range and speed – in an area of responsibility spanning more than 100 million square miles and 15 time zones.

“With respect to force structure, we are well-postured to overcome the vast distances we have in Pacific Command,” Donley said.

Approximately 60 percent of the Air Forces permanent forces outside of the continental U.S. – some 43,000 Airmen at nine bases – are stationed in the Pacific.

The Air Force has prioritized Asia-Pacific for its most capable modern systems, and the rebalance means the service will continue to invest and modernize capabilities needed to project power in the region. This includes the long-range strike bomber, the KC-46 tanker, improved precision munitions and satellite programs, but also a commitment to research and development to ensure future modernization.

As important as rebalancing and modernization are to the effort, Donley said U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific are strengthened by long-standing alliances.

“Our bases in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam are critical to protecting U.S. territory and defending our interests, and our steady forward presence in the Republic of Korea and Japan has deterred conflict and promoted a stable and secure environment in which all nations in the Asia-Pacific region have prospered,” the secretary said.

Donley’s final comments focused on how the Air Force will make strategic decisions going forward in regards to the budget.

“As the defense budget works its way through Congress, the Air Force will stand firm on our strategic choices: trading size to maintain a quality force, and staying focused on readiness and modernization,” he said.

Beyond these challenges, the secretary spoke about the threat of sequestration.

“These additional and arbitrarily applied across-the-board cuts would leave the military without a workable strategy to counter global threats,” he said. “We remain hopefully and stand ready to work with Congress on the way forward to avoid a hollow force.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India¬†– French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year¬†– In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>