Defending Airpower: The Air Force needs to do a better job of promoting airpower and airmen need to believe in its power. That was the general consensus of the “Air-Minded Airmen” panel at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Sept. 18. “Airmen cannot put limits on the possibilities for airpower. They need to know that if they think without constraint they can solve almost any military problem,” said retired Col. John Warden, president of Venturist, Inc. Warden is the former commandant of the Air Command and Staff College. Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, president of the Deptula Group, said part of the Air Force’s problem is that service leaders assume the power of airpower will speak for itself. However, “the problem is that in this town people will argue successfully that one plus one equals three and then national policies will be based on that,” said Deptula. “Good strategy is developed through competition of ideas, but to have good competition you need good advocacy.” Retired Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap, former USAF deputy judge advocate general, said airmen need to be a little “aggressive” while defending their service. “The other teams are playing rough and they are advocating strongly,” he said. “I firmly believe that’s how you get the best. You don’t launch ad hoc attacks. You talk about what you are trying to achieve, which is mission success and wide stewardship of taxpayer resources.”
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.