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US House Armed Services Committee






 March 10, 2004


Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, today I would like to discuss the requirements, challenges, and opportunities the USAF faces as it transforms into a Future Total Force, and highlight some of the innovative new organizational constructs that we will use to meet evolving and future requirements.  The USAF is a team of Active Duty, Air Force Reserves, Air National Guard, and civilian personnel brought together to maximize the contributions of air and space power for the security of our nation.  We look forward to working closely with you as we integrate these organizations into a Future Total Force that is reshaped to meet the demands and capabilities of the future.

America has entered the 21st Century as a nation holding unprecedented military advantages, but at the same time, we face a security environment of unprecedented uncertainty.  As two-plus years of a Global War on Terrorism have taught us, our adversaries are fluid and adaptive, changing as we change, to present an ever-moving target to our strategic planners. To meet these unpredictable and varied challenges, we are transforming.  We've changed our planning processes to produce a force based on capabilities.  Our goal is to continue to transform our air and space forces for flexibility-a force able to conduct operations across the entire spectrum of conflict, from peace operations and homeland security to urban operations and conventional high-intensity warfare.  Key to our successful military transformation is producing the Future Total Force that will man our air and space forces.


A successful military transformation also must be a joint transformation. And by "joint," I don't mean the Services transforming themselves individually at the same time-although that is also important. What I mean is that the Services must "close the seams" that divide their capabilities, to provide the joint force commander with the most effective options for any situation, regardless of what the individual Services contribute and how it is all pulled together. The Air Force plays a critical role in this unification of effort, because we provide so many of the joint "enabling" capabilities that all the branches depend on.

For example, during the race to Baghdad last year, the Marines, Army, and special operations forces bet their lives on air and space power in ways they had not in the past.  And these bets paid off better than anyone expected.  They paid off in responsive, accurate fire support to our partners on the ground; in a persistent ISR net which gave us unprecedented situational awareness and targeting capability; in rapid resupply and troop transport provided by a new, nimble use of the C-17; and in a robust space umbrella which provided the architecture for unhindered secure communications and precision navigation that has changed the face of warfare.

Almost half the Air Force budget is invested in joint enablers in FY05, and we will sustain this investment into the future.


The combat laboratories of Iraq and Afghanistan have driven home the message that when we can close the seams, we truly transform joint warfighting.  We increase the effects that coalition forces can produce, and we increase the joint force commander's flexibility and rapidity in the fight.  This is indeed the end product of transformation.

As the Air Force planner and programmer, I look at planning our future as going from strategy to task to capabilities.  To support the national defense strategy of assure, dissuade, deter, defeat, what tasks will we need to be able to perform, and then, what capabilities will we need to perform those tasks?  So, our approach to planning and programming looks at building our force with a capabilities-based process.  In the past, we built our force structure program by program and platform by platform, focusing development efforts on making each individual system go higher, faster, and farther, with little consideration of how it would integrate with other capabilities in the Air Force, in other Services, or with our allies.  We've had to turn this around.  Now we look at our national strategy and determine the effects the Air Force must create. We next determine what capabilities we need to create the desired effects.  Only then do we talk about what platforms, or combination of platforms/systems, we need to provide these capabilities.  Effects and the capabilities needed to achieve them became the drivers for everything we do.

For instance, the joint forces commander may have an effect in mind, to destroy or neutralize something, to save something, or to simply learn more about it.  Creating that effect starts with being able to put the cross hairs over the target.  Now, to successfully put cross hairs over the target, many things must happen perfectly. It is indeed the sum of all the parts-sensors; command and control net centricity; decision tools; munitions or payloads; and access, trust, and training.  We are striving to put the cross hairs over the target much faster and much more precisely.  And the effect does not necessarily have to be a JDAM coming through the skylight. Once we can get the crosshairs on target, we want to give the joint force commander a palette of options-to watch and track the target, to deceive or disrupt it, to save it, or in fact to kill it. 

The Future Total Force

It is in this context, in our transformation to a capabilities-based, effects-based force, that we are setting the long-term plans for our people.  Transformation ultimately is achieved through a marriage of operational concepts, technology, organization, and the people that meld these together. In the end, the process of transformation begins and ends with people.

In the next two years, we will find ourselves in the midst of "the perfect storm," with a rare chance to reshape and transform ourselves as a Total Force-first through the BRAC, so we can get our infrastructure right to serve our force structure, and then through the QDR, which will cement our approach for how we train, equip, and organize our force for the future.  We say this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Two major considerations will dictate how we reshape the Total Force of the future.

The first is the long-term program for our "iron," our aircraft and materiel.  The Air Force's target force structure for 2025 is a product of capabilities-based planning, and as such, we envision a portfolio of military capability that hedges against the uncertainties of the future by investing in new systems and modernizing our legacy systems. We envision a force that capitalizes on the military advantages we enjoy today in stealth, standoff, and precision and one that creates a modernized, balanced, and affordable force that significantly improves the reach, awareness, responsiveness, and execution of joint operations. By 2025, for example, we expect to employ a fighter and mobility force of much more capable platforms than those fielded today.  Fleets of modern, more reliable systems, such as the F/A-22 and C-17, enhanced by joint enablers (space, command and control, network centricity, etc.), will be able to deliver more sorties, more munitions, and more tons of cargo per day.

To do so, however, we will need to have the appropriate mix of personnel and adequate "crew ratios" to ensure we get the most out of these state-of-the-art weapons systems-in other words, a cost-effective surge capability necessary during times of increased operations.

Increased investments in unmanned aerial vehicles; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; and space capabilities, meanwhile, will translate into increased prominence for "reachback" roles and missions. These open opportunities for our Reserve personnel to play vital, front-line combat roles without losing the stability demanded by their civilian lives.  Imagine, for instance, a reservist who can fly a satellite for a four-hour period before reporting to work at his or her civilian job, and never having to mobilize.

The second consideration is our maturation as an expeditionary air and space force. With 75% of our Active Duty force now postured to deploy, we have made the transition from a garrisoned, forward-based force to a flexible force based primarily in the United States, able to conduct a wide range of operations throughout the world. We have reorganized our force structure into ten Air Expeditionary Forces (AEFs), working on a 15-month cycle that puts two AEFs on call to deploy every three months. When off the deployment hook, each AEF goes through a year's progression of rest, reconstitution, training, exercises, and spin up for the next cycle. This way, Airmen's lives regain some stability and predictability.  This reliability and stability is critical to our ability to retain our great people for the long term.

To fill our 10 AEF "packages" year in and year out requires a concerted, integrated effort on the part of all the Air Force components. Simply stated, the Air Force could not sustain an expeditionary posture without the Guard and Reserve.  Today, even prior to mobilization, 20 percent of our AEF packages are composed of volunteer citizen Airmen.  Members of the ARC fly 80 percent of Operation Noble Eagle missions, guarding our nation's skies after the attacks of September 11th.  And although world events led us to mobilize a portion of our force, again, the lion's share of these citizen Airmen support our efforts in a volunteer status.

We stood up the AEF in 1998; in practice, our Active, Guard, and Reserve Airmen had been deploying as a fully integrated combat team since the early 1990s, when we took on steady-state responsibilities in Southwest Asia and elsewhere around the globe. Today, we are poised to take the next necessary step in reshaping our force-to further integrate, or "blend," our Active, Reserve, and Guard components formally, across the board, in peacetime as well as in wartime.

We see three compelling reasons for integration:

First, integration allows us to balance personnel tempo appropriately among the components.  In an expeditionary environment, it allows us to fully resource the equipment we have and are going to have, providing a cost-effective force multiplier during surge operations without imposing unneeded overhead in peacetime. We are currently standing up a fully integrated Predator UAV unit at Nellis AFB, the first of its kind, with all three components, Active, Guard, and Reserve, working together as members of the same unit.  This will be the first cross-border, multi-state unit, with contributions from the Nevada and California Air National Guard.

What's more, integration allows us to rebalance our skill mix to meet the demands of expeditionary operations.  For example, 600 Air Force Reserve instructors are integrated into Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training programs.  They provide highly qualified pilots to train UPT candidates, which releases Active Duty pilots to fill empty weapons system cockpits vacated by separating pilots.  At Offutt AFB, Nebraska, 80 Air National Guard personnel are integrated into the 55th Wing, providing aircrew instructor staff and augmenting the operations support function.

At the same time, we are migrating stressed specialties disproportionately represented in the Guard and Reserve to Active Duty billets.  For example, two years ago the 939th Rescue Wing, a Reserve search and rescue unit flying HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters out of Portland, Oregon, was serving, de facto, at a full-time "OPTEMPO."  We did the sensible thing and converted this unit to Active Duty, moving the aircraft and equipment to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, to marry up with an Active Duty wing. Last December, the Portland Reservists made their first deployment as the new 939th Air Refueling Wing-a KC-135 tanker mission-seven months after finishing their conversion training. Usually, a newly converted unit will not deploy for two years; it's a testament to the skills and experience of our Reservists that today we can accomplish these rather seamless restructurings.

Second, integration plays to the strengths of each component.  Where the Active Duty provides a guaranteed, on-call resource pool, the Reserve Component brings an invaluable experience base. We are currently studying a concept in which inexperienced Active Duty fighter pilots and maintenance personnel are "embedded" into an Air National Guard unit.  This isn't a new initiative; we've done it before in the Air Force to respond to manpower fluctuations.  This initiative, along with the Reserve fighter associate program, allows young pilots and maintainers the opportunity to work with truly "seasoned" Reserve Component personnel, most of whom have spent significant time on Active Duty and many of whom are instructor qualified.  Having highly experienced personnel working side-by-side with the young troops saves countless dollars in training, seasons our more junior Active personnel, and ensures training pipelines continue to flow during normal deployment rotations.

Finally, integration provides a continuum of service, an expansion of institutional knowledge, and preservation of human capital. Integration positions us for the seamless retention of airmen who have decided to leave Active service, helping us recapture our personnel investments. Reservists and Guardsmen bring with them unique capabilities they have acquired in civilian jobs, especially in the technology sector, introducing skills that may not exist in the Active force.  And because Reservists do not PCS at the same rate as the Active Duty, they sustain the corporate knowledge base.  This mitigates the effects of the higher turnover rate of Active Duty personnel.

In some respects, the Air Force has been integrating since the first Air Force Reserve associate units stood up in 1967.  At these bases, which exist at virtually all Air Mobility Command bases today, associate Reserve units operate and maintain the same aircraft as Active Duty units.  The increased manpower provides increased mission capability and a surge capability in a cost-effective manner, and takes advantage of Reserve personnel experience.  Another example of integrated units is the first "blended" unit, the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Georgia. Over the last two years, the 116th took integration to the next level, creating an organization composed of Air Force Active Duty and Air National Guardsmen.  The proof of the success of this organization was shown in the crucible of war.  When the 116th deployed to OIF in 2003, it was the first ever deployment of a blended wing and the largest ever by the Joint Surveillance & Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS).  730 Active Duty and Guard personnel flew 191 flights in the wing's nine E-8Cs, providing over 3,000 hours on station and generating over 30,000 synthetic aperture radar images.  Because of the contributions of the 116th, the Iraqi military could not hide from coalition forces, not even in a sandstorm, and the Race to Baghdad went spectacularly well for our coalition.  Your Air Force is continuing to examine new opportunities to integrate various Air Force units where it is clear that such integration will produce measurable benefits, savings, and efficiencies.

To support integration, we also need to ensure that our people are ready to provide a balanced set of capabilities-we need capabilities-based manpower to complement our capabilities-based force structure. Through the new Force Development construct, the Air Force has a transformed vision of how it trains, educates, promotes, and assigns the Total Force in a more deliberate, coordinated, and connected approach.  Historically, we have measured the life cycle of our manpower, but not the outputs the manpower produced or the skills it was ready to perform.  We focused on a series of transactions throughout an individual's career (e.g., Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College, AFIT, Air War College, Fellowships, Internships, advanced academic degrees, and key assignments), instead of managing the career to produce the outcomes-the effects-needed to fill future Air Force requirements.

As part of this initiative, we've begun providing the opportunity for our enlisted force to obtain advanced degrees from our highly acclaimed Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).  We're also revamping our personnel assignment system to better develop our future leaders through a purposeful pairing of primary and complementary assignments and experiences.  Future plans will expand the Force Development construct to include our Reserve Components, enlisted corps and civilian workforces.

We believe we can successfully integrate by leveraging the unique capabilities and characteristics of each component; however, we strongly intend to allow each to retain its cultural identity.  We cannot overlook the fact that citizen Airmen form the backbone of the Reserve Components, and we are highly sensitive to the impact recurring mobilizations have on Reserve Component members and their families, as well as their employers.  We believe the synergies achieved through FTF will make the Air Force Team more effective than ever . and the time has never been better.  As we continue to reshape our force while managing limited resources, we look to you for help and support; we cannot do it alone. We need your support as we bring our future, reshaped Air Force through the Congress.  We also greatly appreciate your past legislative support, such as Section 516 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which you passed last November. 

It is critical to the success of the Total Force, for the barriers it will take down for our commanders.  In the end, the Future Total Force is about making the most of our most critical resource-our great Airmen. With the support of Congress, we are confident we can put the right people in the right place with the right training-to fight and win our nation's wars. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

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