by 1st Lt. Carrie Volpe
Air Combat Command Public Affairs
9/16/2015 - NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Gen.
Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, addressed advances
in fifth-generation warfare and the importance of delivering
cutting-edge technology during day two of the Air Force Association's
Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition.
For an audience of Airmen, civic leaders, international military
representatives and numerous media affiliates, the commander of ACC
provided a brief history of airpower innovation Sept. 15 before focusing
on warfighting investments that will enable creative Airmen to deal
with future challenges effectively.
Before getting into the specifics of aircraft advancements, Carlisle
emphasized the importance of changing the way we think about warfare.
"Fifth generation isn't necessarily about an airframe," Carlisle
said. "It's really about technology and thought, and how we move our Air
Force to continue to be the best Air Force on the planet and what it
takes to get there."
He went on to highlight the performance of the F-22 Raptors, describing
the aircraft as an "aerial quarterback" that does more than what was
initially expected. When put in the hands of innovative Airmen, it
provides situational awareness that makes every aircraft that flies with
it better, he said.
Carlisle took a moment to reflect on the progress with the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter, which recently was delivered to Hill Air Force Base,
"It is the most powerful, comprehensive, integrated sensor suite we've
ever developed," Carlisle said. Those capabilities, combined with
electronic warfare and the ability to play multiple roles in combat,
represent a major advancement in operations, he said.
"We are a service that was born out of technology," Carlisle said.
"Airmen by nature are innovators. It's the way we think. We think
different than other people and that allows us to take advantage of
capability at a level that nobody else can do."
He addressed each of the core functions of the Combat Air Forces: air
superiority; global precision attack; command and control; global
integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and personnel
Carlisle said that keeping the technological and tactical edge in each
function is imperative to staying ahead of America's adversaries.
"The foundation of the joint fight is air superiority," he said. "Our
adversaries are getting better at a rapid pace, and our technological
advantage is shrinking."
The general stressed the importance of changing traditional approaches
to precision attack in the future in order to maintain the technological
"Directed-energy weapons are an area we're headed toward, and we're
going there at a fairly good pace," he said. "I think it's a lot closer
than people think it is."
"We've got to find the technologies to be able to do PR [personnel
recovery] in a contested environment," Carlisle said. "We have a moral
obligation to pick up our folks who are down behind enemy lines."
He elaborated on the current challenges facing the Air Force, citing
limited resources and outdated technology but singling out the need to
control high operations tempo.
"Our ops tempo is unrelenting. We simply don't have the capacity to do
everything the combatant commanders ask us to do," he said. "The Airmen,
we're burning them out and asking too much of their families."
He closed by saying that Airmen will succeed in any mission asked of
them -- if Air Force leaders, in partnership with industry and
government officials, will accept responsibility to give them the best
tools and training.