Stay Flexible

The challenges that the Air Force faced in winning air superiority over Vietnam illustrate the need for the service to remain flexible in the way it trains and is equipped so that it can deal with a wide range of potential threats, two retired senior Air Force generals said Sept. 15 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in Washington. “Strategically we just better be ready for whatever the world hands us in the future and not be locked in on a particular mission or set of missions,” said retired Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 2001 to October 2005, during a panel discussion on the evolution of fighter aviation. Retired Gen. Ronald Keys, former head of Air Combat Command, agreed, saying “All these people who talk about [how] they know what the future holds, I don’t think do.” He continued, “I don’t know what it holds, but I know that the equipment, training, and people we are getting today are going to have to carry us for the next 30 years.” Accordingly, Keys said the Air Force needs to have “the flexibility to adapt to whatever the situations are.” That is “the lesson we ought to take out of Vietnam,” he said.