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.


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

AEDC and AFRL collaborate to make advances in hypersonic technology

Air Force photograph by Mike Smith As part of the U.S.-German cooperative program known as Hypersonic International Flight Experimentation, an integrated aerodynamic and aerothermal test and analysis of a hypersonic cruise vehi...
 
 

Minuteman III rocket motor aging surveillance test completed at AEDC

Arnold Engineering Development Complex personnel completed testing of a Minuteman III Stage II motor in the Complex’s J-6 Large Rocket Test Facility for aging surveillance of the 48-year-old defense program. “The Stage II motor is part of the Minuteman III Aging and Surveillance test program to obtain motor performance data that is used to identify...
 
 
navair-triton

MQ-4C Tritons to arrive at Pax River this fall

  MQ-4C Triton test air vehicles at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., will fly cross-country to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., this fall. The MQ-4C completed a test flight Aug. 19 with updated ...
 

 
global-hawk2

Air Combat Command loans Global Hawk to GVCTF

Air Force photograph by Jennifer Romo The 412th Test Wing’s Global Vigilance Combined Test Force received a Global Hawk Block 40 Aug. 6, on loan from Air Combat Command. Tail number 2035, from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., is jo...
 
 
C130b

C-130 Hercules still going strong at 60

Air Force photograph The C-130H Hercules dons the new eight-blade NP-2000 propellers. The 418th Flight Test Squadron replaced the C-130H Hercules’ four-bladed propellers with the eight-bladed propellers in 2008 in support...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Brandon Hubbard

Romania air base replaces Transit Center Manas

Army photograph by Sgt. Brandon Hubbard Oregon Army National Guard, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers from load onto a C-17 Globemaster III Aug. 13, 2013, bound for Afghanistan from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romani...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>