Pick Your Battles

If the Air Force was asked to engage in a major fight with Russia or elsewhere, it would have to scale back its efforts in the Middle East, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told Air Force Magazine in a recent interview. Welsh said that Air Force “enabling capabilities,” such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, airlift, air refueling, etc.—”are stressed in every one” of the strategic scenarios the US military has to be able to do. The strategy calls for being able “to defeat one adversary, deny a second adversary, and defend the homeland as a joint force,” he said. For the Air Force, the “simultaneity” of those missions is “the biggest problem we have,” and there’s not enough to do everything at once. “If you have multiple things going on around the world, and a large scenario arises, we’re going to have to make choices. We just don’t have the force structure anymore to do otherwise. We’ve been cutting force structure now for 30 years, and we’re … at a point where there is no bench to go to.” He hopes Congress understands the situation. “We’ve tried to tell them clearly,” he said.