A Numbers Game

Yokota AB, Japan—The rotational air contingents to the Philippines likely will cross several numbered Air Forces and it’s not yet clear “how we will run the command and control for that,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Winkler, vice commander of 5th Air Force. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in April announced the first air contingent, which included A-10Cs from the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan AB, South Korea, which is part of the 7th Air Force, and HH-60s from the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, part of 5th Air Force. In addition, it’s possible future rotations might be pulled from 11th Air Force, which includes forces on Guam. “We’re going to continue to have an increased rotational presence. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that branch out to other countries in the Pacific,” said Winkler. “We’re doing activities in places where numbered air forces traditionally haven’t exercised control. We haven’t really come up with a concrete plan for that yet.” Winkler said Pacific Air Forces will have to create a command and control diagram, and noted one “effective” solution could be the establishment of a joint task force for training.