Unity Needed

The extreme austerity of the new defense budget demands “unity” from the “extended Air Force family,” Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Thursday. In his keynote address to AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Schwartz said that while “we may not agree on how to compose a smaller force, we must avoid composing a lesser force.” On the F-35 strike fighter, the size and disposition of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, and other issues, “we can’t afford any splintering of unity,” said Schwartz. “This is the time for harmonized voices and partnership,” he asserted, “to ensure a future viable force.” Schwartz said the many “tough calls” that have been made regarding the relative sizes of the active and reserve components were made “together,” although “not always with unanimity.” Still, he urged his listeners to get behind the new plan, lest it be taken apart by more focused entities. The Air Force community must “articulate the undeniable need for airpower” in an uncertain world with many serious looming threats, said Schwartz.