Down to the Core

The Air Force’s 12 core functions established this year as part of the Pentagon’s recently released quadrennial roles and missions review form a reference point for helping the service mold its strategic priorities, risks, and tradeoffs, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Thursday. Speaking at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Donley said there are general-purpose and special-purpose capabilities within these core areas. The former group includes capabilities like tactical fighters; the latter set involves capabilities like nuclear forces at the high end and special operations forces at the low end of the conflict spectrum, he said. Donley said USAF seeks the “right balance of resources” between both sets of capabilities, while at the same time achieving “greater adaptability and flexibility” in its general-purpose forces and enabling forces like command and control, airlift, and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance elements to support the joint fight best.