Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said he was recently given five minutes with President Donald Trump, and he used his time to emphasize the importance of space to the US military mission. The brief meeting occurred the day of Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ confirmation hearing, when each of the service Chiefs were offered an opportunity to talk with Trump, Goldfein told the audience at an AFA Mitchell Institute event in Washington, D.C., Friday. “We run and fly 12 constellations in space,” he told Trump, that are “sensing the globe” for the entire DOD operation. Goldfein also told the President that those satellites don’t interpret their own data. “Someone has got to take all those ones and zeros and turn them into decision-quality information,” he said, and the Air Force’s ability to do just that is a large part of “how we achieve air and space superiority.” Goldfein reminded Trump of the recent Whiteman AFB, Mo., B-2 missions that flew 34-hours round trip to bomb ISIS training camps in Libya, and he emphasized the role of USAF in providing air support for a range of US functions, including presidential activities. Finally, Goldfein said, he told the President “every Air Force mission is a growth industry” at a time when the force has shrunk to its smallest ever. “We’ve got to get this force sized right for what the nation requires,” he told the President.
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.