Preoccupied with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Air Force may have become too complacent about its structure and methods, said outgoing Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. In a mid July exit interview, Schwartz said the Air Force, under a new Chief of Staff, needs to “encourage and incentivize innovation.” This is “vital to our Air Force, and in some respects, I think that we . . . maybe became too ‘status quo,’” he said. Schwartz pointed to the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century program—known as AFSO21—that former CSAF Gen. Michael Moseley and Secretary Michael Wynne pushed as emblematic of the kind of self-assessment and reinvention the Air Force needs to renew. “It was appropriate at the time” to set AFSO21 aside, given “other priorities,” said Schwartz, and maybe AFSO21, per se, should not be revived. But the new Chief of Staff “will have an opportunity” to shift the service back toward a culture of greater innovation, he said.
Two Airmen endured -45 degree temperatures during an Arctic survival course in the far north, where national security experts worry the U.S. is underprepared to counter Russia or China.