Balancing the Domains

The Air Force has performed the same core missions since its inception, providing capabilities like air superiority, airlift, command and control, intelligence collection, strike, and ground-troop support, said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. “We actually do exactly what we’ve been doing since 1947. The missions haven’t changed at all” and “aren’t going to change,” plus the Air Force has added ones like space superiority, he told leaders of the New York business and finance community on May 13 during an AFA-sponsored speech in New York City. What will change, said Welsh, is how airmen execute these missions. In the past, airmen operated just in the air domain, but now they also function in space and cyber, he said. “The trick for us going forward,” said Welsh, is determining the best domain or mix of domains to create the effects required for each mission. “The world is changing in so many ways and our Air Force has got to change with it or we will become irrelevant. It’s that simple. That is the transition that we are in right now,” he said. AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies sponsored Welsh’s speech, along with AFA’s Iron Gate Chapter and the Union League Club of New York, as part of the inaugural Annual New York City Symposium on Strategic Deterrence.