Military News

Friday, February 13, 2015

116th Services Flight serves up a culinary delight at night

by TSgt Regina Young
116th Air Control Wing


2/11/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Food service professionals from the 116th Services Flight, Georgia Air National Guard, put their state-of-the-art mobile kitchen to good use during the February unit training assembly, providing hot meals to aircraft maintainers working the nightshift.

Providing a meal over the UTA provided an opportunity for the services flight not only to interact with the maintainers, but also gain valuable training and team building experience using their disaster relief mobile kitchen, according to the superintendent of the 116th Services Flight.

As the maintainers were on the flightline recovering an E-8C Joint STARS aircraft, the 116th Force Support Squadron's Services Flight was busy preparing barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and rolls.

They provided dinner Saturday evening and a hot breakfast Sunday morning.

"It was nice to come straight from the flightline and get a good hot meal," said an Airman from the 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The superintendent went on to share how the disaster relief mobile kitchen trailer, or DRMKT, provides the Georgia Guard a valuable resource to help out in a state emergency management situation.

"This opportunity has been weeks in the making and we have been excited about coming out here and showing the great work our team has been doing and support our maintenance group," said Lt. Col. Rebecca Gray, 116th Force Support Squadron commander.

The free-standing mobile kitchen is designed for fast setup and shutdown and can be deployed quickly to feed first responders during a natural or man-made disaster.

"Having the force support squadron come out tonight with their mobile kitchen and providing outstanding food for our maintainers, is a great example of what a team does," said Col. Lynn Morris, 116th Maintenance Group commander.

Leaders discuss Combat Air Forces future at symposium


by Mike Meridith
Air Combat Command Public Affairs


2/13/2015 - ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- Four senior Air Force leaders gathered here Feb. 12, to discuss the key issues facing the nation's Combat Air Forces.

Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the commander of Air Combat Command, joined Gen. Frank Gorenc, the commander of U.S Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa; Gen. Lori Robinson, the commander of Pacific Air Forces; and Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, on a CAF panel at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium.

During the hour-long discussion, the leaders touched on a variety of issues including budget concerns, ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group, the future of fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II, and the challenges of emerging cyber-based threats.

The impact of sequestration
With the Budget Control Act still the "law of the land", the leaders were unanimous in their concerns about its potential future impact on the Air Force based on what they saw during the 2013 sequestration.

"An important thing we learned about operating in a sequestered environment was the effect of not flying airplanes," Gorenc said. "If you have a squadron sit down for a month, it takes an exponential effort to get it back to readiness. The corrosive effect of having squadrons not flying can't be understated ... it does long term damage to our Air Force."

Carlisle reinforced the point, noting that although the Air Force is better prepared than in 2013 in terms of planning, operating at BCA-level budgets would have a significant impact on the CAF's capabilities.

"We have to produce the very best Air Force we can, given the resources the American people give us," he said. "If we live through BCA-level budgets into the next decade, we will not be able to do what we do today."

Robinson added that beyond lost capabilities, the cost of sequestration extended to international relationships.

"We did pay a price in partnerships when we had to cancel exercises and TDYs," she said. "It is a concern for the long-term commitment, trust and confidence of our partners and allies."

Collectively, the leaders pointed out that at least one positive impact of sequestration was that it highlighted Air Force capabilities to the American public, serving as a reminder of the importance of the service's mission. The point was made especially clear by Wilson as he discussed America's nuclear enterprise.

"Most people don't think much about the ICBM leg of the [nuclear] triad. Our missiles are foundational to our national security because they prevent an out-of-the-blue attack on the U.S.," he said, reaffirming the Air Force's commitment to ensure a credible strategic deterrence for the nation which became all the more important when planes were not flying.

Operation Inherent Resolve
Combat operations against ISIL took center stage during the panel discussion with audience members questioning the effectiveness of air power in Operation Inherent Resolve. Carlisle expressed some frustration with the perception by some that air power was "not working", noting that substantial impacts had been made against ISIL

"Air power is actually very effective," he said. "We have changed the way they [ISIL] operate. Their ability to mass, communicate, and control their forces has been degraded significantly."

The general also noted that while there is still talk of "an influx of [ISIL] fighters," they can't be as effective if their command and control is interrupted.

Fifth-generation fighters
In praising the effectiveness of airpower in OIR, Carlisle highlighted the important role the F-22 has played, noting the fitfth-generation fighter has "exceeded expectations". In particular, he noted how the aircraft's capabilities enhance the effectiveness of other aircraft operating with it.

"When you have F-22s in a strike package, every aircraft in the package does better," he said.

Discussion of the F-22 also raised questions about the future of the Air Force's other fifth-generation aircraft, the F-35. Carlisle addressed concerns about whether the aircraft would reach its initial operating capability, projected between August and December 2015.

While Carlisle noted issues with maintenance manning were compelling, he believed the Air Force would reach IOC as projected. However, he added that IOC was "merely the beginning" of important issues the service would need to face moving forward.

"The Air Force is not getting any bigger," he said. "We have to figure out how to retire aircraft as we bring the F-35s online. Maintenance is just one part of the equation."

Cyber threats
The officers also addressed the growing threat of cyber-attacks and the need for the U.S. to grow its own capabilities to address them.

"One of the things I think that is interesting is the integration of cyber and kinetic effects. We're good at predicting the result of kinetic actions, not as good with cyber," Gorenc said. "The problem is the ability to predict creates so many branches and sequels it exceeds the capacity of the AOC [Air Operations Center] to do the work, particularly in a high-speed conflict."

Robinson echoed those concerns adding that she also worried about the problem of degraded communications versus merely the loss of them. "We'll either have comms or we won't. But I am worried about degradation and how we can detect it."

The leaders drew their discussion to a close by noting that while the CAF faces a challenging future, the future is still bright as its success is ultimately secured by its greatest asset: the men and women who daily carry out their missions in defense of the country.

Sea-Service Leaders Chart Priorities, Challenges



By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2015 – Producing more amphibious ships, staying on top of cybersecurity needs and facing new challenges in the Asia-Pacific region are some of the priorities of the sea-service leaders, a panel concluded at the Western Conference and Exposition in San Diego yesterday.

Panel members included Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle J. Howard and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft. The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association International and the U.S. Naval Institute organized the two-day exposition.

“Making sure we have Navy ships for the future is the most important part of our budget,” Howard said.

Navy and Marine Corps strategies come from the seas, Dunford added. And the Marine Corps needs about 20 more amphibious warships than the 31 now in existence, he added.

More Amphibious Ships

“There is a requirement for over 50 [amphibious] ships on a day-to-day basis,” Dunford said, adding that number is what combatant commanders need.

Connectors to move Marines from sea to shore, whether for forward operations or crisis response, also is a critical need, the Marine Corps commandant said.

The Navy is looking at its “best balance” in ship building, given budget constraints, Howard said.

“We’ll continue to [look at] how to build [ships] for the long term,” she said.

New Challenges

The Coast Guard sees as challenges the rising poverty, corruption, increased cocaine trafficking and smuggling in some Central American countries, Zukunft said. Crime in the region is putting strain on Coast Guard capabilities and assets, he said.

Rising crime and instability in some Central American countries has also led to a significant increase in the amount of cocaine the Coast Guard intercepts, Zukunft said.

Meanwhile, he said, the Coast Guard’s acquisition budget has declined 40 percent.

Cybersecurity Concerns

Cybersecurity is another top concern of the three sea-service leaders.

“The Navy has a big focus on cybersecurity,” Howard said. “[But,] we must have better systems. We’re working to be premier warfighters in the [cybersecurity] domain.”

Dunford agreed that cybersecurity concerns present numerous challenges. Zukunft noted that private industry has solicited the Coast Guard for cybersecurity tips following the Sony attack.

“Cybersecurity is critical to our economy,” Zukunft said. The Coast Guard, he added, expects to roll out its latest cybersecurity strategy next month.

Big win, bigger surprise for Airman at annual awards banquet

by Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


2/11/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Then-Staff Sgt. Jillian Thompson knew the 50th Space Wing Annual Awards banquet was going to be a special night for her. She just didn't know exactly how special it was going to be.

Thompson found out that afternoon that she had been selected as the winner of the Air Force Financial Management Educator of the Year for 2014. She didn't know she was going to receive her technical sergeant stripe that night until it was given to her by base leadership.

"At first, I thought they were just goofing around because they had found out about the Air Force award," Thompson said. "I had no idea, I was blown away. I don't even know that there are words to describe that feeling."

Thompson's promotion was awarded as part of the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. She knew her supervisor had put in the nomination package, but thought that she had not been selected. She said the promotion was a complete surprise.

"Thompson joined the 50th Comptroller Squadron team in the summer of 2014, and this avid distance racer literally hit the ground running," said Lt. Col Kenneth Walker, 50th Comptroller Squadron commander. "She was critical to the wing's fiscal year 2014 closeout effort, has vastly improved our unit training program and is single-handedly implementing a women's professional development forum for the Wing."

According to Air Force Instruction 36-2502, the STEP program was designed to provide a means to promote Airmen, to staff sergeant, technical sergeant or master sergeant, for "compelling, although perhaps not quantifiable, reasons."

"It was incredible to learn of Sergeant Thompson's well deserved Air Force level award recognition and STEP promotion on the same day," Walker said. "She's an incredible Airman and we're proud to say she's on our team!"

Of course, the promotion was just icing on the cake for what was already a special night for Thompson. She spent the bulk of 2014 teaching at the Army Financial Management School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

"It was a special duty assignment that was advertised," she said. "I called and asked about it, they picked me to go and I worked for them for about three years."

During that time, Thompson was responsible for teaching three diverse groups of students. She taught the Army Basic Officer Leadership course for all new second lieutenants coming into finance for the Army, the Reserve Captain's Career course for new Reserve captains in financial management and the Planning, Program, Budget and Execution course, which is open to any rank.

Thompson said her role as an instructor at an Army school served as a learning experience as well.

"The Army does things completely different than the Air Force does," Thompson said. "You have to kind of relearn something you're going to teach from someone else."

The process of seeing students come into the ABOL course with either no, or limited, knowledge of being a finance officer and leaving 12 weeks later fully prepared for their job was special for Thompson.

"You have students for 12 weeks and they kind of become your kids," she said. "You see them come in not knowing anything, then they leave and they're going to go out to the world as Army finance officers. Hopefully I taught them something and even though you're happy to see them go, you're sad too."

All of these things played a part in Thompson winning the AFFM Educator of the Year award; however, they also made winning the award even more surprising to her.

"I didn't think I would win (at Air Force level) because I didn't serve in a traditional Air Force educator role," she said. "What I did was completely different, and I worked for the Army, not the Air Force."

Winning an Air Force-level award and getting STEP promoted in the same day served as a culmination of Thompson's eight years of hard work, and ranks right up there with her family on her list of lifetime achievements.

"That's way up there, it's pretty huge," Thompson said. "To win the Air Force award and STEP promotion in the same day, I don't know that I could really have a bigger day than that, other than with my kids."

116th Services Flight serves up a culinary delight at night

by TSgt Regina Young
116th Air Control Wing


2/11/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Food service professionals from the 116th Services Flight, Georgia Air National Guard, put their state-of-the-art mobile kitchen to good use during the February unit training assembly, providing hot meals to aircraft maintainers working the nightshift.

Providing a meal over the UTA provided an opportunity for the services flight not only to interact with the maintainers, but also gain valuable training and team building experience using their disaster relief mobile kitchen, according to the superintendent of the 116th Services Flight.

As the maintainers were on the flightline recovering an E-8C Joint STARS aircraft, the 116th Force Support Squadron's Services Flight was busy preparing barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and rolls.

They provided dinner Saturday evening and a hot breakfast Sunday morning.

"It was nice to come straight from the flightline and get a good hot meal," said an Airman from the 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The superintendent went on to share how the disaster relief mobile kitchen trailer, or DRMKT, provides the Georgia Guard a valuable resource to help out in a state emergency management situation.

"This opportunity has been weeks in the making and we have been excited about coming out here and showing the great work our team has been doing and support our maintenance group," said Lt. Col. Rebecca Gray, 116th Force Support Squadron commander.

The free-standing mobile kitchen is designed for fast setup and shutdown and can be deployed quickly to feed first responders during a natural or man-made disaster.

"Having the force support squadron come out tonight with their mobile kitchen and providing outstanding food for our maintainers, is a great example of what a team does," said Col. Lynn Morris, 116th Maintenance Group commander.

STARBASE Academy lands at Peterson

by Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer


2/11/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A ribbon cutting ceremony marking the official STARBASE Academy opening took place Feb. 2, introducing the facility to dignitaries, students and other interested parties. The academy is located in building 850.

Under a beautiful, blue Colorado sky, McAuliffe Elementary School fifth-grader Stephanie Molina positioned the ceremonial scissors and snipped the red ribbon opening the pathway to unique encounters with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education. Col. Michael Hough, 21st Space Wing vice commander, said it is good to finally have the project completed.

"It's been a long time coming," Hough said, "The application was made in 2010, but the vision for it started well before that... we hope this is the first of many, many years to come."

Plans to bring STARBASE to Peterson were ready to go when sequestration hit, Hough said. He credited retired Gen. Gene Renuart and his wife Jill for their commitment and effort to bring the facility to fruition.

"It would not have happened without them pushing," Hough said. "They paved the way. We are so happy it finally materialized."

Fifth-graders from McAuliffe Elementary School who were the first group through the local STARBASE Academy agree with Hough.

"I think it's awesome! I like that it's a fun way to learn," said Landin Langridge.

"It's really awesome. I like that it teaches you chemistry," said Nicole Rodriguez. "We've done measures and learned why some pennies' weight is different than others."

Jose Parra elaborated on his classmates' excitement about the facility.

"I think it's good because I get to learn a lot of stuff," he said. "Today I learned about volume and that you can redesign something that didn't work out. I think all children should do this."

The STARBASE Academy focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education and operates on a set curriculum, said Yvaal Hampton, STARBASE Academy director. The classes combine teaching and hands-on experience to provide students with something that will stick with them after their time at STARBASE is over. The first day covers the engineering design process and students build an "eggbert" space shuttle. The program also covers math mysteries and students examine hair and DNA, Newton's Laws of Motion, build models of molecules, cover chemistry and even Bernoulli's Principle and a geocaching activity.

The facility has unique equipment on site and more coming soon. For example, Hampton mentioned the CREO 3D computer assisted design program, an expensive, top-of-the-line program provided by John Deere and the Department of Defense. To make the program even more valuable Hampton said STARBASE will get a 3D printer in the coming months.

The program targets fifth grade students from local public schools. Public schools provide transportation to and from the academic site for their students. STARBASE is a five-day program with students attending one day per week for five weeks.

"We can modify it per school, especially if there is something like state mandated testing a year out or something," Hampton said, "so we try to be flexible."

Collaboration is a big part of what STARBASE does as well. Hampton pointed out a planned field trip to the Peterson Museum, a tour of the 302nd Airlift Wing's C-130s and a guest from Schriever Air Force Base talking about STEM and how it is used on the job.

"I also want to say collaborating with School District 11 has been such a great experience for me," Hampton said. "I've had a lot of positive feedback from the community."

Funding for the building's renovation came from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs in the amount of $335,000. Air Force Space Command
covered the remaining $118,600 for construction and design. In March, OASD-RA provided $450,000 to cover startup costs and first year operation expenses. The facility includes a director's office, two instructor spaces, one assistant area and two classrooms.  Along with Hampton, there are two full-time instructors and two part-time assistants.

In addition to the Renuarts, other individuals noted for their contribution to bringing STARBASE to Peterson were Ernie Gonzalez for his advocacy and funding, and Barbara Koscak, co-founder of STARBASE Academy, for her support and efforts in establishing the program.

AF chief of staff shares 'random thoughts'

by By Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information


2/13/2015 - ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III shared his thoughts on where the Air Force is, where it's going and how it's going to get there with an audience of Airmen, industry representatives and Air Force supporters during his speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 12, in Orlando, Florida.

"One of the great things about this job is I get to spend a lot of time talking to Airmen," Welsh said. "There've been lots of distractions - it is an unending stream of things that have kind of grabbed our consciousness and, while we continue to fight the fight really well while we're deployed and the folks who support it from home station focus all day long on fighting do fantastic work, as soon as you step away from that environment, or you 'redeploy,' the conversations turn to this stuff."

Welsh said the questions he gets the most from Airmen revolve around things like sequestration, compensation packages and health care. His call to the Air Force is to refocus on the primary mission of the Air Force.

"We need to refocus on the things that really matter to us as members of this service and this profession," he said. "I think we have to start with a refocus on our mission - and our primary job which is to fight and win the nation's wars. All that other discussion will still happen - we'll still include our Airmen in it - but that shouldn't be the focus of every conversation we have."

The operations both around the world and in the U.S. should remain the primary focus for the Airmen who perform and support those operations, Welsh explained. Having a distracted military can lead to serious problems if it continues over time.

"We've also been refocusing on our core values," he said. "We've kind of been reminded that if these three simple words with elegant meaning, [integrity, service, excellence] if they're really going to be foundational values for our service then they have to be cared for and sustained. They have to be embraced; they have to be discussed over and over and over."

Welsh talked about the importance of not only being a professional, but being a member of the profession of arms - being an Airman first.

"This is a different business," he said. "It's an ugly business sometimes, and somebody's got to be good at it - and the people who are, need leaders who care. Everything we teach in terms of those core values, leadership and supervision, has to be in context of the profession of arms."

The Air Force is standing up the new Profession of Arms Center of Excellence at Air Education and Training Command. This center will ensure the concept and culture of the profession of arms is taught at every level of leadership and supervision.

Welsh tied culture to understanding and appreciating the vast area of responsibility (AOR) in which the Air Force operates, by showing the audience a picture of the Earth.

"Every centimeter of it is covered by air, and surrounded by space, where you operate," he said. "I don't even want to begin to figure out how to determine how much terrain is in the cyber environment that surrounds all of that. This is our AOR."

Welsh talked about the decreasing size of the Air Force, and the evolution behind every major shift in priorities throughout the Air Force's lifespan. Air power has consistently changed and adapted to the needs and challenges placed before it, and resets about every 25 years, learning lessons along the way.

"We made Operation Desert Storm look ridiculously easy," Welsh said. "It wasn't that easy, but we were that good - and that large. But any weapon, no matter how technically proficient - no matter how functionally advanced or functionally capable, can be too small to accomplish its desired purpose - and so can air forces."

There are a few areas Welsh sees a specific need for a reset: infrastructure, space, cyber, total force integration and the Air Force's self image.

"As the leading service proponent of innovation, we were born from it," he said. "It should be in our DNA, and I think it is - we're just kind of hesitant to brag about it. Let's talk this up. Every Airman should be, can be, I believe must be innovative if we're to succeed in the future.
Commanders can't be intimidated by that; supervisors shouldn't be scared of it. We ought to be embracing it."

The Air Force has implemented new processes in decision making and developmental planning, and has given Airmen a roadmap for the future.

"Our vision [is] who we would like to be some day," Welsh said. "It's something that just keeps calling us forward. Global reach, global vigilance and global power - it's what we do for America. A Call to the Future - the lead document in our strategic document series - this is who we are going to be 20 years from now. New Air Force Concept of Operations [is] how we're going to operate once we get to that point. It gives us a target. It gives us a concept of how capabilities will fit together. The new Single Air Force Master Plan [is] the game plan to make the Call to the Future and Concept of Operations a reality."

Throughout his speech, Welsh shared the amazing things Airmen are doing, and the stories of individuals who inspire him. He said finding balance is one of the best ways to refocus the force and to ensure the Air Force remains the best in the world into the future.

Generals outline Combat Air Force's future challenges

by By Maj. Mike Meridith
Air Combat Command Public Affairs


2/13/2015 - ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- Four senior Air Force leaders discussed key issues facing the nation's Combat Air Forces at the Air Warfare Symposium here, Feb.12.

During the hour-long discussion, leaders touched on budget concerns, ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant terrorist group, the future of fifth-generation fighters like the F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II, and various emerging cyber threats.

Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Air Combat Command commander, joined Gen. Frank Gorenc, the commander of U.S Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa; Gen. Lori Robinson, the commander of Pacific Air Forces; and Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, on a CAF panel at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium.

The impact of sequestration
With the Budget Control Act still the "law of the land," leaders were unanimous in their concerns about its potential future impact on the Air Force based on what they saw during the 2013 sequestration.

"An important thing we learned about operating in a sequestered environment was the effect of not flying airplanes," Gorenc said. "If you have a squadron sit down for a month, it takes an exponential effort to get it back to readiness. The corrosive effect of having squadrons not flying can't be understated ... it does long term damage to our Air Force."

Carlisle reinforced the point, noting that although the Air Force is better prepared than in 2013 in terms of planning, operating at BCA-level budgets would have a significant impact on the CAF's capabilities.

"We have to produce the very best Air Force we can, given the resources the American people give us," he said. "If we live through BCA-level budgets into the next decade, we will not be able to do what we do today."

Robinson added that beyond lost capabilities, the cost of sequestration extended to international relationships.

"We did pay a price in partnerships when we had to cancel exercises and TDYs," she said. "It is a concern for the long-term commitment, trust and confidence of our partners and allies."

Collectively, the leaders pointed out that at least one positive impact of sequestration was that it highlighted Air Force capabilities to the American public, serving as a reminder of the importance of the service's mission. The point was made especially clear by Wilson as he discussed America's nuclear enterprise.

"Most people don't think much about the ICBM leg of the [nuclear] triad. Our missiles are foundational to our national security because they prevent an out-of-the-blue attack on the U.S.," he said, reaffirming the Air Force's commitment to ensure a credible strategic deterrence for the nation which became all the more important when planes were not flying.

Operation Inherent Resolve
Combat operations against ISIL took center stage during the panel discussion with audience members questioning the effectiveness of air power in Operation Inherent Resolve. Carlisle expressed some frustration with the perception by some that air power was "not working", noting that substantial impacts had been made against ISIL

"Air power is actually very effective," he said. "We have changed the way they [ISIL] operate. Their ability to mass, communicate, and control their forces has been degraded significantly."

The general also noted that while there is still talk of "an influx of [ISIL] fighters," they can't be as effective if their command and control is interrupted.

Fifth-generation fighters
In praising the effectiveness of airpower in OIR, Carlisle highlighted the important role the F-22 has played, noting the fitfth-generation fighter has "exceeded expectations". In particular, he noted how the aircraft's capabilities enhance the effectiveness of other aircraft operating with it.

"When you have F-22s in a strike package, every aircraft in the package does better," he said.

Discussion of the F-22 also raised questions about the future of the Air Force's other fifth-generation aircraft, the F-35. Carlisle addressed concerns about whether the aircraft would reach its initial operating capability, projected between August and December 2015.

While Carlisle noted issues with maintenance manning were compelling, he believed the Air Force would reach IOC as projected. However, he added that IOC was "merely the beginning" of important issues the service would need to face moving forward.

"The Air Force is not getting any bigger," he said. "We have to figure out how to retire aircraft as we bring the F-35s online. Maintenance is just one part of the equation."

Cyber threats
The officers also addressed the growing threat of cyber-attacks and the need for the U.S. to grow its own capabilities to address them.

"One of the things I think that is interesting is the integration of cyber and kinetic effects. We're good at predicting the result of kinetic actions, not as good with cyber," Gorenc said. "The problem is the ability to predict creates so many branches and sequels it exceeds the capacity of the AOC [Air Operations Center] to do the work, particularly in a high-speed conflict."

Robinson echoed those concerns adding that she also worried about the problem of degraded communications versus merely the loss of them. "We'll either have comms or we won't. But I am worried about degradation and how we can detect it."

The leaders drew their discussion to a close by noting that while the CAF faces a challenging future, the future is still bright as its success is ultimately secured by its greatest asset: the men and women who daily carry out their missions in defense of the country.

Air Force Seeks $10 Billion Over Sequestration Funding



By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2015 – The demand for Air Force capabilities is increasing, therefore the service is requesting $10 billion more than sequestration-level funding provides, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said today in Orlando, Florida.

Speaking during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition, James discussed why the Air Force is taking its strongest stand to date against sequestration.

“There is just absolutely no question in my mind that we are the best Air Force on the planet -- precisely because of who we are, what we believe and what we do,” she said.

Fully Engaged Air Force

“Today, our Air Force is fully engaged in joint operations around the world,” James said, to include participating in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the Middle East, contributing to the maintenance of a strong NATO alliance or deterring possible conflict in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Or it might be humanitarian disasters anywhere around the world,” James added, “or the very important mission of protecting Americans right here at home.”

Regardless, she said, the demand for Air Force capabilities across all three of its warfighting domains -- air, space and cyber space -- continues to rise.

“So, in short, the way I put it is, everybody wants more Air Force,” James said.

Stand Against Sequestration

James explained what the Air Force is doing about a “perfect storm” of factors that are coming together as the budget forms.

“We are trying to take the strongest stand yet, that we have taken, to date, on sequestration,” she said. “We have said many, many times that sequestration, if it is implemented in [Fiscal Year] ’16, will damage our national security.”

Consequently, James said, the Air Force has submitted a proposed FY ’16 budget that contains $10 billion more than sequestration-level funding would provide.

“Now, $10 billion more represents the difference between a force that our Air Force combatant commanders require and our nation expects, as compared to an Air Force that, with $10 billion less, will not be able to meet the defense strategy -- period,” James said.

The Air Force cannot meet the national defense strategy with $10 billion less in the proposed budget as currently written, James said. The additional funding being requested, she added, “recognizes just how important the Air Force is in every joint operation around the world as well as how important the Air Force is in protecting the homeland.”

Saving Taxpayers’ Dollars

The proposed increase in its budget will enable the Air Force to better support its top priorities, which include taking care of its people, striking the right balance between maintaining today’s readiness level and preparing for tomorrow’s anticipated threats, and ensuring that every taxpayer-provided dollar counts, James said.

The Air Force also requires more funding to modernize, she said, while always keeping an eye on spending taxpayer dollars in the most efficient manner.

Force Readiness

The previous day at the Orlando event, James noted, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III discussed the Air Force’s reduced end strength, making it the smallest Air Force since its establishment in 1947.

“You also heard General Welsh talk about our aging aircraft,” she said. “The average age is about 27 years and that’s the oldest that they have ever been in our history.”

The Air Force’s readiness level is also “not where we want it to be,” James said, “especially not for what we call the high-end fight that we might, one day, have to fight.”

James said she’s aware of today’s difficult budget environment. But, she added, the Air Force is under fiscal pressure and it needs more funding to perform its missions.

“These are all serious facts,” James said. “There’s no ignoring these facts. We are the best on the planet, but we are also an Air Force under strain and something’s got to give.”