Still Winning without All the Advantages

The Air Force is slowly trying to change the culture of its combat forces by exposing combat pilots and crews to a more challenging threat environment in training drills, said Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command boss. Speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., last week, Hostage said he is continuing an initiative begun under his predecessor, Gen. William Fraser, to replicate denied environments for them. “Today, our systems are so reliable, when they turn things on, from radars to sensors, they always work,” said Hostage during the April 11 talk. “Today, I’m taking [communications and sensors] away from them. Every day, they fly a scenario where something is not working,” from GPS to radar to data links, he added. “What I want them to be able to do is operate routinely and effectively in a degraded environment,” he said. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Senior Fellow John Stillion, who has conducted extensive research on air superiority, said the future of air dominance would hinge on countering combat advantages. “What we have seen over time is increased reliance on sensors and weapons,” he told the Daily Report on April 16. “That, I think, is going to drive us into an arena where we have this growing measure-countermeasure competition.”