Air Force vision stresses need for innovation, improved training
Air Force officials vowed this month to focus tightly on force structure, modernization and acquisition of advanced technologies to avoid becoming a hollow force in the wake of two decades of war and a difficult budget environment that could become worse in the months ahead if the March sequestration is not avoided.
Despite these harsh realities, the state of the Air Force remains strong, said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley at a Jan. 11 press briefing timed with the release of the service's new Vision document.
Nevertheless, the Air Force is struggling to deal with the "ongoing budget gymnastics" that are creating a sense of unease among the Air Force and the other U.S. military services, Donley said.
Sequestration and continuing resolutions have created uncertainty and interfered with planning, he said. Prudent planning is required to mitigate budget risks and minimize impacts to readiness, Donley said, noting that the service expects to receive guidance "in a few days" to begin planning for the uncertain budget environment ahead.
Air force readiness has taken some hard hits as a result of two decades of war and other operations, Donley said. That reality has "had an impact on our readiness, straining our airmen and their families, reducing opportunities for training, and taking a toll on equipment," he said.
Donley pledged that the service will do everything in its power to avoid a hollow force. Together with that, Air Force leaders will make sure that they have adequate resources for training and for keeping pace with advancing technologies.
The service's new Vision document identifies Air Force responsibilities as air and space superiority; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; rapid global mobility; global strike; and command and control.
The Vision document stresses the inherent value of innovation possessed by airmen and their role in maintaining the service's edge over its adversaries. At the same time, it focuses on the continuing need for high-quality education and training.
As the service moves forward, it will refine educational and career development programs by moving beyond traditional classroom-based training and by incorporating leading-edge concepts, the document states.
The Vision document calls on all airmen to "rethink the battle while incorporating new technologies" to accomplish the various missions set forth in the document.
"Every Airman should constantly look for smarter ways to do business," the document states. "The person closest to the problem is often the one with the best solution. Leaders should empower Airmen to think creatively, find new solutions, and make decisions."
William Welsh is the managing editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @WilliamWelsh12.