Posts Tagged ‘Force Structure’

USAF to Abandon 86 Wing Structure

January 9, 2009

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Aviation Calendar 2009

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In a recent article, Air Force Magazine cites a  little-quoted and oft-forgotten edict of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review directed the Air Force to maintain 86 combat wings. The service never really defined what that meant, and the number is now likely to fall by the wayside, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in a Dec. 22 interview with Air Force Magazine. Schwartz acknowledged that the Air Force has proposed some force structure cuts in the 2010 budget, and they are not all in the area of fighters, the magazine reports. “I don’t think anyone sees that number [86 wings] as a line in the sand,” Schwartz said. He added that the Air Force will reorganize itself “in a way that makes the most sense,” and not necessarily to meet a particular number. He also said he believes that “there is excess capacity” in the Air Force’s basing infrastructure still, and would like to see that cut before retiring hardware, but he noted, “I don’t think there’s the will” in Congress to order up yet another BRAC round anytime soon. (For more, read Eighty-Six Combat Wings.)

Is a 325 Ship Navy Optimal?

December 20, 2008

The Washington-based think tank  Center for National Policy recommends that the Navy should grow its fleet to 325 ships by 2025 — 12 more than the Navy has planned — and pay for the increase by moving to lower-cost platforms and cutting unnecessary requirements like the top speed on the new Littoral Combat Ship. The study is titled: Agility Across the Spectrum: A Future Force Blueprint. Read the full report

US Navy Needs More Amphibious Ships

November 30, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Inside Defense reports that the Navy is mulling adding more amphibious ships to the fleet as part of the force structure changes detailed in a draft of the tri-service Naval Operations Concept (NOC) 2008, which aims to “operationalize” the maritime strategy signed by the three naval service chiefs in October 2007.  (paid subscription required)

Geren says Army speeding growth to boost dwell time

November 24, 2008

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The Army has accelerated plans to grow its ranks in an effort to widen the span between downrange deployments, its top civilian leader said Saturday.

Army Secretary Pete Geren said the service wants to add 74,000 soldiers — including 65,000 on active duty — by 2010, about two years ahead of previous projections. The move means soldiers will see more time at home with families, and units will have a larger window to meet changing training needs, he added.

Right now, the Army’s 12-month tours to Iraq and Afghanistan are followed by a year back home “at best,” he said.

“The one-to-one ratio cannot be sustained. Read the full article at S&S

November 21, 2008

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Retired US Army General Barry McCaffrey is providing professional advice to the Obama transition team. Two vital points he’s made:

The most pressing contribution for the incoming Obama administration is not ending the Iraq war or planning a way ahead for combat in Afghanistan, but creating a military that is “appropriate” for the next two decades. And

The greatest contribution that the Obama administration can make in the defense arena is engaging in open debate about a long-term national defense strategy which should include modernizing a “falling apart” Navy to conduct nuclear deterrence in the Pacific.

Read the details at www.defensenewsstand.com (paid subscription required)

Air Force senior leaders take up key decisions

October 9, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

The nuclear enterprise, cyber organization, end strength, force shaping, and command and control of Air Force operations were just some of the topics discussed when Air Force senior leaders met at CORONA on Oct. 1-3 at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley set the tone stating, “Over the past two days we addressed several issues, making decisions on key Air Force missions necessary to move our Air Force in the right direction.”

The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, followed with comments on the importance of the conference saying, “CORONA is a forum for decision. The teamwork manifested in this room will allow us to accomplish what our Air Force needs done.”

As a follow-up to the recent nuclear summit, the briefings and decisions at CORONA were dominated by discussions on the nuclear enterprise. Discussions included options to reconfigure the command structure for nuclear forces, roles and responsibilities of the Nuclear Weapons Center, the required skills and force development for personnel conducting the nuclear mission, and stand-up of the new nuclear-focused staff element organization within Air Force headquarters.

The leadership also decided to establish a nuclear focused major command to concentrate Air Force support for the nuclear and deterrence missions.

“We will announce decisions soon because they are crucial steps toward attaining excellence in our nuclear enterprise and revitalization of the nuclear culture across the Air Force,” said Mr. Donley.

Initial planning will be integrated into the Air Force Nuclear Roadmap, which will be unveiled in a few weeks.

In addition, the senior leaders discussed the Air Force active duty end strength ceiling, now to be 330,000 personnel, and addressed which missions and functional specialties should obtain additional allocations based on emerging missions as well as critically-manned career fields.

“Force shaping across the Air Force is hard work. There are many factors that need to be considered as we determine where manpower billets will be placed…everything from new missions that are directly contributing everyday to joint operations to shortfalls in specific functional areas,” said General Schwartz.
“The leadership will work to close this issue for this budget cycle in the coming weeks.”

A key component of the Air Force’s contribution to the current Global War on Terrorism is the execution of command and control of air assets supporting theater operations.

Leaders initiated discussions on how the service can better fulfill the responsibilities to organize, train, and equip command and control capabilities for the Joint Force Commander, as well as how the Air Force can best identify and overcome potential shortfalls in our capabilities.

“How we prioritize and utilize our command and control capabilities in support of joint force operations are key to the overall success of every mission,” said General Schwartz.

Also discussed was how the Air Force can improve support to Joint Force Commanders. One decision made is to assign a senior Air Force officer to appropriate JFCs with command authority to direct air support. The leadership also decided to strengthen our air to ground integration by increasing the number and training of the Airmen supporting tactical air control systems and accepting offers from other services to integrate their personnel into our command and control units.

Leadership also decided to establish a Numbered Air Force for cyber operations within Air Force Space Command and discussed how the Air Force will continue to develop capabilities in this new domain and train personnel to execute this new mission.

“The conduct of cyber operations is a complex issue, as DoD and other interagency partners have substantial equity in the cyber arena,” said Mr. Donley. “We will continue to do our part to increase Air Force cyber capabilities and institutionalize our cyber mission.”

Locations for the new nuclear command and cyber NAF were not addressed and require further deliberation.

Other key AF issues discussed include an update on the status of joint basing initiatives, the development of a common Logistics Standardization Evaluation Program, and review of the concept of integrating the networks used to repair the Air Force’s weapon systems.

“We came together to discuss key issues, chart a way ahead and move forward with sound decisions,” said General Schwartz. “Our goal is a more stable Air Force, focused on our core missions, as a key member of the joint team.”

“What Airmen do every day across the Air Force is not easy work. What our leadership team did over the last couple days at CORONA was not easy work,” said Mr. Donley. “But we all know how to rise to the challenge and the Air Force is better because of everyone’s efforts at making key decisions.”

Air Force Will Need 50 Years to Replace its Aircraft, Says AFA President

October 9, 2008
Aviation Calendar 2009

Aviation Calendar 2009

Our military Aviation Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US and allied military aircraft in action. Buy the Aviation Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

Air Force Association President Michael Dunn has presented some frightening statistics. According to his calculations:

First, the AF is procuring 750 aircraft over the six year period of the FYDP. That equates to 125 aircraft per year. At that rate it will take about 46 years to replace every aircraft in the inventory. This means that – unless something changes – the average age of our aircraft will rise to 46 years.

Secondly, about 270 of the aircraft are UAVs … and arguably are not replacing other aircraft in the inventory. That leaves about 80 aircraft per year – which equates to a replacement rate of 72 years.

Thirdly, you say not all aircraft need to be replaced. OK – let’s assume the Air Force is only going to replace about two-thirds of its aircraft. That means it will take 50 years to replace them all.

Finally, the reason the number is so high for 2008 is the war time supplemental bill. DOD has indicated that it no longer wants to submit a supplemental funding bill … which would, if put in place this year, have resulted in only 93 aircraft being procured – 52 of which were UAVs. This results in a replacement rate of 141 years.

Read the facts and figures on USAF aircraft procurement plans in a PDF file by clicking here: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/Aircraft_Procurement.pdf .

Army Modernization Strategy 2008

September 4, 2008
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Last week the Army released the 2008 Army Modernization Strategy, the blueprint for the future of Army modernization.

Maj. Gen. Dave Halverson, the director of force development, discussed the new strategy in an interview with on-line journalists. He provided information about the survey and how it supports the Army’s goals to provide the best equipment and capabilities to Soldiers.

Specifically, Halverson focused on how the modernization strategy offered an actionable way ahead for today’s Army.

“Many times, with a modernization strategy, everyone’s so focused on ‘here’s a weapons system’ or ‘here’s a certain thing and here’s what it can do; here’s what it can’t do’…and it’s like a catalog of performance measures,” said Halverson. “This strategy that we’ve worked very hard with is much shorter, much better – because it actually explains why we have modernization and why we modernize within the forces – especially in persistent conflicts.”

Halverson also pointed out how the modernization strategy is linked to the recently released FM 3-0, and how the modernization strategy supports the overall Army objective of dominance as a landpower.

In outlining Army progress in modernization, Halverson noted the need to continue to field talented scientists and engineers to build and create new equipment.

As a member of the Army Science and Technology Board, Halverson said he is frequently involved in discussions as to how science and technology investments today can pay off for Soldiers tomorrow.

“Within the Defense Department, and obviously within the Army, we are pushing those things because I think it’s very important,” said Halverson, “because our Soldiers deserve the best, as they’re fighting on foreign soil, and we have to have that so we can quickly give them the best advantage over the enemy.”

One of the ways to provide that best advantage, according to Halverson, is through the fielding and acceleration of Future Combat Systems technologies into the battlefield.

“The reality is that it’s just not future anymore,” said Halverson. It’s going on now, and we’re giving capabilities to the Soldier…we’re testing it now at Fort Bliss.
“As soon as we see things that we like, we can bring it up to the senior leaders and say, ‘yes, this is where our investment needs to be.'”

One of the key components of today’s modernization strategy, said Halverson, is that it isn’t just focused on where we want to be in the future. In this era of persistent conflict, it is also fielding technologies today and continuing to modernize for tomorrow.

“We need to sit there and modernize to the next iteration,” said Halverson, “because we have a learning enemy in this persistent conflict. He’s trying to pull new things out there. We’re seeing new threats…so we have to learn with that. And we have to do it with those Soldiers in contact – we have to give them the best and the most, so they can defeat this enemy and come home with their heads held high in victory.”

You can find a copy of the 2008 Army Modernization Strategy at www.g8.army.mil/.

Linda Kyzer (ANS)