The US is going to have less of an Air Force, but what there is will not be “hollow,” Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Tuesday. In his headliner speech at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Schwartz said that after the current round of deep budget cuts, the USAF that emerges will be “smaller in size and scale. “ He said, “We will still be an extremely capable and effective force,” but, he added that force would be “able to be in fewer places and to achieve fewer effects in the rapid succession to which we have become accustomed.” The risk of being smaller will be mitigated somewhat by partnering more with the other services and with allies, Schwartz said. The strategy for weathering the reductions is to “commit to readiness as a priority and hold the line against longer-term erosion in combat power availability and preparedness.” Schwartz assured the audience that USAF will continue to provide “the many utilities of airpower, as only airmen can provide it. … We’ll be there for our joint teammates and our nation. We will do it, or we’ll die trying.”
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.