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Air Force announces Future Total Force initiative

12/2/2004 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lt. Gen. Stephen Wood, deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, hosted a media availability Dec. 1 to announce the first six test initiatives in support of the Air Force Future Total Force plan.

Colonel Ford: We'll go ahead and get started. I'm Col. Dewey Ford from the (Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs) media desk. We'll make some introductions first here. We have Lt. Gen. Steven Wood, the deputy chief of staff for plans and programs; Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau, and it's actually H. Steven Blum if anybody wants to make sure you get that correct.

General Blum: You'll pay for that later. [Laughter].

Colonel Ford: Lt. Gen. Daniel James, III, Air National Guard; and Brig. Gen. Rick Ethridge, the deputy chief of the Air Force Reserve with us today. We also have Maj. Gen. Jerry Ragsdale, the adjutant general from Texas with us.

General Ragsdale: I'm not the TAG, I'm the commander of the Air Guard.

Colonel Ford: We're going to be on the record today, obviously. Just a few ground rules here. We'll have one question and a followup and please direct them to the person you'd like to address that question to. General Wood will have a few opening comments and then we'll launch into some Q&As. We have 45 minutes today. We'll call for one final question and then wrap it up at the 45 minute mark.

General Wood: Good afternoon. I do have a couple of prepared remarks for you all and then we'll get to your questions. Welcome back to the Pentagon or welcome to the Pentagon. We are here to discuss the Air Force's Future Total Force initiative and test initiatives we will undertake to validate some of our transformational organizational concepts for the future.

The Air Force has always viewed our three components -- the active duty, the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve -- as equal partners. We have taken great pride in our seamless integration and expeditionary operations and feel the time is right to try this integration at home.

The test cases will confirm the effectiveness of our future integration activities as we respond to the challenges of modernization and recapitalization and execute the directions resulting from the BRAC process.

The organizational concepts we introduce to you today will allow us to maximize the combat capability of our equipment and balance experience levels of our people, improving their training and effectiveness. Furthermore, they will allow us to capitalize on the rich experience of our reserve components and the quick deployability of the active duty in both emerging and enduring missions.

Transformation, according to OSD is changes in organization, technology and concepts of operation, all integrated, that yield a near order of magnitude in increased combat capabilities. These test initiatives fit that definition.

As I understand it you have a handout of the initiatives and the four of us are here to answer your questions. I'd like to get started at this time.

Q: Reading through these, I actually have a bunch of questions. One of the things that you mention in here is that these missions [inaudible] mobilization. How many folks in the Air Force, the reserve components, have been involuntarily mobilized in the last few years, and how will this reduce that?

A: In the total reserve component?

Q: Whatever you've got.

A: In the Army and Air National Guard it exceeds 200,000 since the 12th of September 2001. And what this really does is to reduce some of the stress and allows us to access the capabilities that reside in the human resources in the reserve component without putting them through the pressures or the stress of the mobilization process. It's good for American employers that these citizen soldiers and airmen work for day to day, and it's good for their families and it's good for the Department of Defense because they're able to access and get the special skill sets or the military expertise of these individuals without a cumbersome or a formalized mobilization process, and it allows us to leverage those capabilities basically on the servicemembers' terms that they can tolerate the best, balancing their family life, their civilian jobs, and their military careers.

Q: The initiatives you think do that?

A: Oh, every one of these that you have listed on there do. Each and every one.

Q: [inaudible]?

A: Why don't we come back as a follow-up, let me be the moderator here for us so we stay with our plan. Another question?

Q: General, you're bringing together Air Guard and Reserve and active duty units. There's a question of command. Are Guard units going to lose a command billet if they come under an active duty command?

A: Actually the model we're using is our associate model that we had a lot of great success with it in the Air Force Reserve. We'd have a single commander but it would be associate units that will be parallel with the active duty.

Q: Is it active duty or reserve component commander?

A: It would depend. In some case it would be an active commander; in some cases it would be an Air Force Reserve commander, and in other cases it would be an Air National Guard commander. It would really depend on who was the most qualified at that particular time to do the mission or to leave the mission set that's in place. This is a huge leap forward towards future total force for the Air Force. In fact we've got to be able to overcome those kinds of manning obstacles that we've lived with for too many years so that we can get to a point where we can capitalize all the human resources that we have in the active, Reserve and in the National Guard Air Force.

Q: The integration [inaudible] language. Will this result in a reduction of aircraft [inaudible] combine the two wings together, will they combine their F-16s or --

A: Our plan right now is, for the near term, is not to have any reduction of aircraft.

Q: Would you explain the Predator mission, transferring that to Texas and Arizona. Are you going to be adding Predator squadrons for wings? Or are you going to be taking them away from Nellis?

A: Actually we'll be adding squadrons. Again, we're doing test initiatives here. We don't know all the answers to this yet. What we're trying to do is we're going to have a future total force team so it will be working these issues out and things that we see developing. So over the long term we'd come up with a model and examples of how to put this all together.

Q: Can you say how many you're adding? How many squadrons of Predators you'd be adding in Texas and Arizona?

A: Our test case right now is one squadron in Texas and one squadron in Arizona.

Q: [inaudible]?

A: We don't have bases with it.

Q: When do you think --

A: If I can follow up with just that, or --

A: We don't want to talk bases right now because we have BRAC constraints and some other things to consider. What we're doing is we're putting together a team that's going to get together with folks from the state, the leadership of the state, and with the programmers here and with the National Guard Bureau and determine where the best places to put these are. There are all kinds of considerations here. You have air space considerations in the United States that you've got to consider that you wouldn't necessarily in a combat area. You've got proof of concept that you've got to work through. So what these new organizations will do for us, it will give us some real good data and some concepts of operations that we can carry forward for future force structure.

Q: Will they be Predator A or Predator B units? Also [inaudible] border patrol be part of the mission area?

A: I can answer that we haven't determined which type of Predator we'll be putting there. That would be one of the things our Future Total Force team will do. What we're planning there is to replicate the active duty missions that we currently do at Nellis to add to our force structure. Unmanned aerial vehicles are what we're calling remotely piloted aircraft now. We believe that's an important combat capability that we're going to continue to expand for our nation.

Q: Is border patrol ruled out completely? Just for training missions?

A: Well, any DoD capability that we have in the Army or the Air Force is optimized, obviously, for the overseas joint warfight but there are very few capabilities that we have in the Department of Defense that are not from time to time called upon by civilian organizations through a vetted process to support law enforcement or other federal or state agencies when their capabilities are exceeded and I think there's a mechanism down the road to do exactly what you're suggesting, but that's not one of the up-front initial reasons why we would want to move to these initiatives. This is to provide the combatant commander with its warfighting skills that can be delivered out of its Air Force, its air component. Now whether those skills come out of the Air Force Reserve, the Air Guard, the active force or a combination of the three working together is what this is all about.

Q: How long do you anticipate these test cases will be in effect before you stand back to assess their success and their implications for the Air Force overall?

A: We haven't put an end term or a date on those, but we're going to be constantly looking at those through our future total force steering groups. We have a general officer steering group that's stood up to look at all of this. We'll constantly be reassessing it to see how we can do it better and see if in fact it does work. But for us, there's a huge benefit for this from combat capability. This is a great news story for the Air Force.

A: -- in some of the concepts prove themselves out even sooner than others where we've had some experience in those areas like associating --

A: Right.

A: -- because we've got such a long history in that.

Q: You said there are no plans to reduce the number of aircraft, but isn't the Guard planning to cut back on the fighter wings? Isn't that already in the works?

A: Let me make sure I clarify. I said there was no present in the near term to reduce aircraft. After BRAC and in the future, some of our units are flying 30 year old aircraft and even older. We want to do, part of our objective here is to get our Reserve forces and our Guardsmen into new aircraft.

A: Or new missions.

A: Or new missions. Predator and new intelligent missions and those kinds of things that are emerging as we speak.

Q: So the force structure would be the same, but maybe different kinds of airplanes?

A: The Air Force is [inaudible] reserve components. We're not going to reduce your force structure. We need that force structure to fulfill the commitments that we need for the warfighter through our AEFs. So obviously if we're going to take some older equipment out of the inventory we're going to replace that with new missions liked Predator missions and so forth. So this is a way of transforming the total Air Force. So we're not talking about just hiring here, we're talking about new relevant mission areas to get into. There are examples of all kinds of different things here that we may be doing --

Q: Logistics missions? Do you think maybe that will --

A: It could be. We're looking probably more at space command and control through our AOCs, intel reachback, ISR, that kind of thing. Those are things that we're -- And we've already started. We've already got six space units in the Air National Guard and we've already got to AOCs and we see an immediate need for two more and maybe as many as five more. So we're looking at it. We work in partnership with the Air Force to identify those and then try to make them happen.

A: Let me follow on where I think you may be trying to go or may have a curiosity. The Air Force is not doing this in isolation. They're part of a joint team. And they have to deliver certain capabilities for our armed forces so that our Army can be a joint and expeditionary operational force. As the Army becomes more CONUS based and more expeditionary in how they conduct their operations there will be some adjustments necessary in the Air Force, particularly in some of the logistics and how we deliver these logistics. There will also be some real change down the road, moving much closer and faster towards joint logistics. Where it isn't Air Force logistics and Army logistics and Marine Corps logistics and Navy logistics, it's just logistics for the joint warfighter team that's in theater. That means the Air Force will have to reconfigure some of its capabilities, units, organization and technology which are all three components of Secretary Rumsfeld's transformation. He wants us to fight as an efficient, effective joint team. Some of this takes us in the first steps to being able to move further and faster in that direction.

Q: It's interesting to me on the private air. What the Army's been trying to do with its reserve component is divest itself of its requirement to rely on them in the early days of conflict. In any way Predator now has proven itself, it's going to be there early and it's going to be there for the long haul. So why increase your reliance on the reserve component to run your Predator? That seems to fly in the face of what the Army's experience has been.

A: There are a couple of levels we can look at this. First of all is reachback. We are flying from Nellis which is also one of our test cases, bringing the Nevada Air National Guard into the Air Warfare Center and into our Predator operations there. They're flying combat operations from Nellis.

A: I want to go back to the gobbledy gook question because that's part of the answer. If you live in Nevada and you can put several days in a month or weeks in a month or several months in a year because of your civilian occupation and your ability to sharing your time to flying that reachback or that rear located control right in your neighborhood, and the system itself may be 10,000 miles away in Southwest Asia or some other place, that leverages your ability to -- We can get your skill set on your teams as a volunteer without having to involuntarily interrupt your life from your family and your school and your work, and yet your nation is getting your services. It's a win/win for the service member, it's a win/win for the nation.

If you take the ground station in New York, you asked me the other state. When General McGuire stands this up in New York it will not only service the Air Force, its real customers will be the United States Army largely. They will be able to do their work right there in New York to support soldiers that are in the field in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and anywhere else around the globe. And again, we'll be able to leverage the brainpower and the special skills of that person without ripping them out of their civilian life and sending them halfway across the world for one year boots on the ground.

So it's not gobbledy gook. This is a no-kidding capability. It's smart. It's how do you get the best out of the people you have without putting them under undue pressure. Just because they're patriotic doesn't mean we need to abuse them and drive them out. We need to keep them.

A: Can I just address one part of that? Very short. You mentioned the Army's approach to utilizing the reserve components in place of the Air Force The Air Force has made a commitment for years now and they backed it up with their resourcing to keep their reserve components at the highest combat readiness status -- the same C status, as we call it, that the active component does. Now for resource reasons the active Army's going to start doing that and they're going to do what we do in our air expeditionary forces in what they call modular forces.

So there's been a purposeful commitment by the active Air Force to make sure that we have the same inspections, the same resources, we're making the same combat ready status. Therefore they can use us and we can deploy within 72 hours and get to the fight. As a matter of fact, some of our tankers have to be on station before [inaudible] just to get the rest of the forces to the fight.

Q: Aren't you afraid that's going to -- Secretary Rumsfeld has been sort of hammering against this idea that you have to mobilize the reserve in order to go to war [inaudible] United States. That's a problem for all of the reasons that I think everyone is familiar with. So aren't you getting into that situation?

A: See, that's what I'm trying to clarify. Because you spend the time and resources to keep your forces ready you can utilize those forces and you can utilize them in a balanced manner. What our Secretary will say to that is, I think the Air Force has it just about right. Let's take a look at it. When the Secretary of Defense says something like that you're going to respond, but the point of the matter is we think we've got this just about right. There are a couple of areas we need to look at and we might rebalance them like inter-theater airlift or something of that nature. But by and large we think we've got it balanced about right and we do have the commitment and we'll keep our people ready and --

A: And to be fair and accurate, --

Q: -- mobilization and --

A: It's all through volunteerism.

A: And I think to be totally fair and accurate, it's not an absolute. Secretary Rumsfeld does not feel that it's going to be 100 percent. He realizes that to take large troop formations, brigades, battalions, 500 people, 3500 people, it's a little bit more difficult, a little bit more time-consuming in the process of taking them, transforming them from citizens to soldiers and shipping them overseas just because of the sheer numbers and the volume of our equipment.

What he is saying is it's reasonable to give a citizen soldier, when you can, let's try to give them 30 days notice so that they can get their affairs in order, give some fairness to their civilian employer to hire or readvertise, to backfill for the person, and to give their family time. That's not an absolute and that's not for everybody.

There are small units and special niche expertise such as some of these things that are discussed in here that exist in both the Air Guard and the Army Guard, where the 30 day rule doesn't apply. In fact, to be totally frank, the Air Force and the Army cannot do their job day to day defending this nation without the reserve component, both Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Army and Air National Guard, and some of them will be involved in the early hours of any deployment. But the big muscle movements in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, he wants to give them a realistic time and he wants the Army to rebalance its forces to be able to do that.

The Air Force balance I would have to agree is about as close to being right, right now, in that way, in measuring that part of it as possible. What isn't right is there's some rebalancing of skill sets and mission sets that we're addressing now and when we do that we want to optimize active, Guard and Reserve brain power, people power, human resources, and we want to absolutely get the most out of the three components of our Air Force. These are magnificent first steps, significant, measurable steps, in fact to doing that. Not to having a concept, but to actually have a prototype on the ground that we can evaluate and fine-tune and see if we want to do more of these or do it in a slightly different manner.

And notice, these are not one size fits all solutions. They are tailored solutions because we realize there are some complexities here involved and some of those complexities you've actually brought up.

Q: Regarding the replacement that the Guard is going to be experiencing, what kind of time table is set up to ensure that if there are gaps or anything like that that the resources of the Guard are still in place as those new missions are developed for the Guard? If there's a gap is there a time table set up to ensure that those resources will still be there if a certain mission changes for a certain part of the Guard?

A: I don't quite understand your question.

A: If you're asking me are we putting the current capabilities of the Air National Guard at risk betting on the future capabilities of these prototypes, is that what you're asking?

Q: Pretty much.

A: If we bet right, that's okay, but if we guess wrong, what is my fall-back plan. Is that what you're asking?

Q: Pretty much, yes.

A: Okay. What we have done is, first of all, you have to know that the people that are involved in this plan held their hand up and said I have some structure that is not terribly useful for the future of the Air Force. Rather than to wait until my stock that I'm holding is devaluated to the point where I can use it for wallpaper because it has no cash value, I would like to reinvest the portfolio that we have in these states that held their hands up, and move to this future force early. These are pioneers. These are people that held their hand up and say I want to do this.

The Air Force wisely said that's nice that you're interested. Make your business case to us and show us that what you're asking to do you have the capability to do. And the states in fact did that.

Then the Air Force competed all of those that held their hand up and their business cases and made, in my judgment, an excellent suggestion at picking the best of breed with the best chances of success to make this prototype a successful transition. So that's why the states that are selected have been selected. It's not for any other reason than what I just described. And frankly, I completely endorse the selection process and the outcome of this. And for that reason I don't think there's much chance that these things are going to fail. Number one, the states want them to work; number two, they have all the things in place to make it work; and most of the things that are necessary for transformation is your mindset and their mind is set in the right direction.

Q: I just want to kind of feed back what I'm hearing to make sure I understand it. There are kind of two themes in all these different proposals and with the idea of reducing, one of the ideas being reducing the involuntary mobilization. That's one, is allow Guard and Reserve to do the work back in the States and gear deployable forces, the ones that would go overseas would be the active duty. The other is that you mix reserve and active duty in some places with an eye towards making the active duty better at some of the things that the Guard and Reserve have traditionally focused on. So again, active duty might be able to take that expertise overseas?

A: I think you're a little bit off in some of your statements here, in my opinion. I think what we did is, now we're developing much wider capabilities. We can do many different kinds of things by getting our Air National Guard and our Air Force Reserve forces closer with the active duty in training and peace time requirements. Now there are benefits that they're going to be able to do such as Predator and other operations here, reachback kind of operations here. But they will still through voluntary means and possibly other ways deploy just like our others.

Q: How does this reduce --

A: Here's where I think we need to get out here, is improvement of combat capability. When you put our people together, if you look at our active duty they are very, it's very superb warriors but they lack the experience of our Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. By linking them, they're in close together, working every day together in the test initiatives now and as they prove the concept out later on possibly others, we will get the benefit of active duty to this incredible experience level of our Guard and our Reserves. It is a huge force multiplier and a huge improvement in combat capability for us. That's the message I'd have for you.

Q: How does all this reduce the need for involuntary mobilizations? Can you make that connection for me? What I see here is a lot more --

A: I'll be honest with you. I think both of you are overstating it. That's a secondary effect. That's not the principal reason we're doing this. We're doing this to develop a capability so that the Air Force can have a greater capability to be a full partner in a joint warfighting team. That's the reason we're doing this.

We understand that the most precious resource that any of the services have are its trained people. What we have had in the past are stovepiped, compartmented personnel organizations that don't allow us to do what was just discussed here. We're better together than we are separate.

So we're trying to have a seamless blending, integration of the active component and leverage the best of the active component and leverage the best of the reserve components, both the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, and put them together in ways that make sense so that this nation gets more defense bang for the buck, more capabilities are delivered by the Air Force for the joint warfight.

Now a second order effect of that that is not the primary driver of this is, a lot of this stuff through technology and organization will be done reachback. When it is done in CONUS in a local community then a community-based Guard or Reserve looks like it makes a great deal of sense to be able to do what I was talking to you about and that reduces the need for involuntary mobilization.

But these measures are not intended to eliminate involuntary mobilization. It has its purpose. First of all, there are times you want to mobilize the reserve component because you want to send a strong message of commitment or resolve to your adversary. It has some political implications to it that should not be understated. It has some diplomatic effect that should not be understated. It has some military utility that should not be understated. So it's not something we want to walk away from, but there are some times when you want to turn that down or ramp that down or reduce the pain level for our citizen soldiers and service members, their families and employers that we have to balance, and this will help us in that regard.

It's not a cure-all and it's not a panacea. It would be an unfair advertisement to say that this will deliver that. It won't. But it will have some curative effect on reducing the tensions.

A: We're setting ourselves up for success here. The model is out there with our reserve force, especially Air Mobility Command, where they've been doing this, our associate wings --

A: Since 1968 we've had the associate concept in place throughout our strategic airlift and it's been successful. I was a part of it for many years and so although we're calling these test cases, not all of them are untried. The associate business works and it works extremely well. We're using it today and we've been using it for the last couple of decades, so --

Q: Can you just explain what associates is?

A: It's where a Reserve or a Guard organization will, and there are different shapes and sizes to associate. The one that I am used to, we have an active duty unit, for example Dover Air Force Base, that has active duty crews and maintenance personnel and support personnel who fly C-5s, and we have an associate unit of Air Force Reservists who fly the aircraft, maintain the aircraft. When they're called up or mobilized or when they're doing some day to day missions, they come under the OpCom of active duty, still under the AdCom, administrative control of the Air Force Reserves, kind of almost a dual chain of command if you want to say that, but for operational control they're under the active duty control. They'll fly the same missions, fly the same aircraft and so forth. We've done that for a long, long time.

Q: Don't you do that in the fighter community already when you individually mobilize fighter pilots into an active duty unit?

A: No. They will belong to the same unit and fly their own aircraft. Right now we do not have any associate fighter units where active duty or reserves own the iron, own the aircraft, and a Reserve or Guard unit and/or an active duty unit associates with the unit that owns the airplanes. Under one command for operational control, but you may have two different chains for administrative control.

Q: If I may ask a specific question locally on Nellis Air Force Base, what changes are you going to see there? Both there and Indian Springs?

A: I paid her to ask this question because I've been here a month. Before that I was commander of the Air Warfare Center at Nellis. I can answer this question for you. [Laughter].

I think what you'll see is first Guardsmen and Reservists from Nevada, Reservists coming in and working alongside their active duty counterparts. Initially in the Predator operations and then expand to other missions within the Air Warfare Center at Nellis. So I'm real pleased with the way that's going.

Q: So will you see any expansion of facilities or --

A: I think it's too early to tell with that. That's part of, again, these test initiatives with it. We know where we're headed, we just don't necessarily know exactly all the little bits of bends and turns in it, what we need to do. That's the reason we're just taking this slowly and properly.

Q: I was wondering, does the Future Total Force envision a smaller active duty Air Force? And is that part of the reason for doing it?

A: I think that what it does, it allows us to roll our active duty force -- If we need to get smaller based on mission requirements and support of joint operations, I think it just gives us more flexibility with our active duty. If we need to get smaller then we certainly can, but that's not the primary reason we're doing this. To me, as I look at it in hindsight as we start to evolve this, it's almost, it's not unnatural, but just an evolution of our warfighting capability, to practice like we do.

When we send Guard or Reserve units overseas they are linked up right there with their active duty counterparts. But now we're linking them together in a more, in a proper way here in the United States, in CONUS, for training.

A: Let me answer your question as directly as I can. I'm not in the Air Force. I'm in the Army. I don't feel like I'm pandering to answer this question. The whole point to these initiatives and why I'm so excited and happy and delighted that they're moving in the direction that they're going, is it's going to develop a more capable United States Air Force for the joint team. It will make an Air Force better able to support the Navy, the Marine Corps, and most especially the Army. For that, I am very very happy about these initiatives. Now whether that makes the Air Force larger or smaller remains to be seen, but it will be more capable.

Q: -- the fighter units that are involved. When do you expect to start seeing these changes actually take place where active duty airmen will start getting the option of going up to Vermont or --

A: I don't think we've necessarily pinned an actual date where they have to be in place. We're trying to formulate all those plans and bring all the players, all the people that have an interest in this to work those details out.

Q: Do you see fiscal 2006 --

A: I think we want to get on with it but I don't have an exact time line for you.

Q: I was going to ask about the F/A-22 fighter, sort of a similar question, schedules for those, getting them trained and getting them ready for deployment.

A: Again, it would be the same answer. We're working through those details now.

Q: The fighter units, you're talking officers and enlisted, maintainers and the whole gamut.

A: Yes, absolutely.

A: The Air National Guard, two of its core competencies, and that's what General Wood was alluding to earlier, the experience of our fighter pilots, all of our pilots and our maintainers. We have very very experienced people. So we will use those folks to help bring the experience level up in these units that we associate with.

Q: Do these state ANGs have to identify in their sets and their budgets to, when new hardware is added like DCGS and Predator, [inaudible] already done but add to it?

A: If they have that what they do is bring their initiative, and if they have for example an organization, as the Chief was saying, its mission is becoming less relevant to the warfighter or to the Air Force in its AEF, they would identify that as an offset and say we would like to do it this way. Now some of them the Air Force has said we will provide the initial manpower for it. That's always been the difficult part of transformation is getting the manpower to transform to these new missions.

A: You've got a couple of Adjutants Generals and their representatives here over on the side. One of the reasons I think they were so anxious to participate in this is once a mission is given to them, resources come with it. They don't have to make a budget adjustment. It's not their budget. It's the Air Force budget. So the Air Force would then resource the mission and then those resources would flow through the National Guard Bureau to the affected state so that they have the funds and the equipment that they need to accomplish the mission.

Q: So that means when two Predator units, for example, are added, that Texas and Arizona don't have to subtract a squadron somewhere --

A: That's absolutely correct. Not necessarily, but -- Let me explain to you. When we started looking at transformation in the Air National Guard some of the states, like Texas, identified duplicate force structure and said we want to get into the intel business, and said that in order to do that we have to find some manpower from these two identical squadrons. They identified that manpower and said we want to put this in the Air Intelligence Center there at the same base where our squadron is located. So it's not the same for every case. If it's a large base and it has offsets that it can offer, that puts them at the head of the line. If it doesn't have offsets they can offer and has smaller force structure like Vermont, the initial manpower has been committed from the Air Force.

A: I just want to be very up front and tell you it's not a quid pro quo. Okay? But when I said they presented their best business case, part of their business case would be any offsets that they wanted to offer up. In some cases there were offsets. In some others there are no offsets. It's just the willingness to move to a new skill set or a new capability that doesn't exist.

Q: Has anything like that been decided as yet? Subtractions offered or accepted?

A: No.

A: Not as far as this initiative. But some of the states, New York for sure, we've offered up, I don't want to use the word offsets, we've offered up aging legacy type missions for 21st Century missions. That's a different subject --

A: See, the word F is Future. We're focusing on the Future Total Force. The total force of the AC/RC represented up here today. The Future are the mission sets and the capabilities the Air Force must have, or at least we think they must have, for the future to be able to be more effective as part of the joint team. What General McGuire is saying is he has some pieces in New York that may not fit the future and he wouldn't mind, you call it offering up as an offset, but he's saying he would like to basically reclassify or move from that mission set that is really a mission set from the past, to move to a mission set for the future. This is totally consistent with the guidance that the Secretary of Defense has given both the Army and the Air Force to rebalance both their active force and their reserve component force to be more capable, to be more relevant, to be more reliable and more ready for the future. not to be perfectly set up for the past.

Q: What effect will this have on call-ups? And even if the time commitment of individual personnel doesn't change, are they facing the extra strains of having to travel to get to these locations? Will it be harder on them and their families?

A: With the Reserves, we try to recruit from our local area, so hopefully we'll be able to recruit from the area that the mission will begin. In the case of Hill, we've got a unit already there. We've got people there. With the Predator mission, we anticipate that we'll have folks from that area, so that shouldn't impact the families as far as the traveling goes. AS far as how it impacts the call-ups, we hope eventually to reduce the level of reliance, the mobilization that we're at right now.

A: We see it just the opposite. It will provide a degree of permanency for the families and the employers, replacing the mission [inaudible] with reference to New York. I don't want to speak for the other states, but we see that going to a location which is already extraordinarily cybertech, nanotech rich, the point General Blum was making, and just laying on top of that the mission of the Guardsmen working in the same type of career field, and yet living within 50 miles of either his or her full-time position or her Guards person position.

A: I'd characterize it as leveraging, one of the advantages of the reserve component is that it is community based. One of the disadvantages is sometimes it's community based.

So what we've done in partnership with the Air Force is we've taken what could be a disadvantage, community based, and take the part that is an advantage, the community based piece, and in some of these initiatives that even makes it a win/win proposition for both the Air Force and both the community where these new initiatives will be fielded, or where these citizen soldiers and their families are going to reside or at least where they'll come from.

So I don't see the travel issue that you're bringing up. We're not going to be moving people from New York to Nevada. We're bringing the mission to them, okay? We're not bringing Mohammed to the mountain, we're moving the mountain to Mohammed in this case. So it should be a win/win for all concerned.

Q: On the issue of Title 10 versus Title 32 when they're training and operating at home, not in a combat zone. A couple of years ago the Air Force started the blended wing down at Robbins Air Force Base and ran into some sticky points on those issues. How are these initiatives maybe different and/or what legal compensations do you make [inaudible] how you will address that?

A: First of all, we had the discussion about the associate unit and the structure, about the associate unit. One of the things we learned from the first integrated or blended wing that we had was that we do have some issues with Title 10 and Title 32. We have received some legislative relief statutorily that would make that a better organization. But when we look at the associate model that the Air Force Reserve has used, although we duplicate administrative control, active and Guard or active/Reserve, it does allow us to utilize those organization's skills and leverage those organizations. So we're not going to have as much an issue here with these new organizations because they're going to be either blended -- excuse me, associate style units more so than blended or integrated units. We're doing that because of some of the lessons we learned in the Title 10/Title 32 --

A: I'll be honest. I'd be very careful with putting the label blended, integrated, we're not sure what we're going to call it. But we are absolutely sure, taking that unit that you just brought up as a perfect example. They performed superbly in theater and do every day. They're absolutely delivering essential capability to the United States Air Force and the joint warfighting team that we would not have been able to deliver had we not found some way to put together the best of the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard and the active component together -- both equipment, hardware and people. We saw the goodness in that and we see in the future, as the defense budget faces some severe competition in the out years for defense spending we are going to have to learn to leverage the human resources of the active and the two reserve air components to deliver this country the kind of capabilities it needs, and we can't afford to have the wasteful, redundant, stovepipe systems that we had before. These steps that you've all been exposed to are significant steps forward in achieving that. I think that's why it's so right for the Air Force and it's so right for the defense of America.

The biggest beneficiary of this is the American taxpayer because they get more defense for the defense budget than they would doing it otherwise. So I think that makes the Department of Defense, Department of the Air Force, extraordinarily good stewards of the American taxpayers' money that they've given them.

Q: To follow up with Liz's question --

A: Oh, you two work together here, huh? [Laughter].

Q: Maybe we're on the same wave length. I wanted to ask you a little bit more about A, the legislative relief that she mentioned with regard to Robbins, that's what I was going to ask about. Also, you mentioned that you wouldn't apply the term blended or integrated necessarily. Does that imply that the blended model that was specifically applied to Robbins won't be used again for whatever reason? Or is that just that you're not choosing to use it in these cases? And can you give us a little bit more definition of how blended is different than associate?

A: All of those words are labels that deliver different connotations to everybody in here, so if I say one of those words everybody in here has a different mental picture of what it is. I'm not sure any of those mental picture are exactly what we're doing. That's why I'm saying that. I'm not saying we're walking away --

What we want to do is have a seamless meshing of the full time Air Force and the part time Air Force in a way that it makes dollars and cents and delivers combat capabilities for our nation. That's what we're trying to do. You can call it whatever you want, but that's what we're trying to do. We're not walking away from it. As a matter of fact I think we're walking towards that. I think we see that in the future we're going to have to overcome any of these old differences to accomplish that because it's going to be essential if we're going to be able to deliver the kind of Air Force this country needs and deserves on the amount of defense dollars this country is willing to spend.

So it's a good business practice itself. It's what cutting edge competitive corporations are doing with their full time and part time force. They're making a seamless meshing so when they need to surge they can, and when they need to downsize they can. Without great peaks and valleys of employment and reemployment and retraining. We want to kind of follow that business model where we can.

Now the legislation that you talked about shows that Congress has demonstrated commitment to giving us clear, unambiguous statutory authority to do the kinds of things the Air Force is suggesting.

Q: What specific authorities does it give you to do this you didn't have?

A: It allows us to put Title 32 and Title 10 personnel in the same unit at the same time to have unity of command and unity of effort and this in the past was always very tenuous and difficult because the law was ambiguous. The laws are becoming less and less ambiguous. The Congress is giving us legislation and is giving us clear statutory authority and direction as to how to do this. And as we determine what these units need to look like for the Air Force I am confident that the Hill will give us even further clarification to overcome any administrative or statutory obstacles that prevents the United States Air Force from optimizing its human resources of the active component and the reserve component.

A: Let's close there, because I want to, I'd like to come up with some final thoughts if I could for you. I want you to leave here with -- Obviously you wouldn't be here if you didn't know the importance of this to the Air Force and what this means. We're real proud of it. Do we have everything exactly right? No. That's the reason they're test initiative versus done deals. We're going to learn and be better for this. But I am very proud of us to coming up with this, and the strength of our Air Force is our active duty, our Guard and our Reserve together. You couple that with our civilian workforce and we are preparing for the future. You can tell by the commitment of all of us being here as well. These are the people that make this happen. Our Chief and our Secretary are firmly behind us with this and I think we're going to move forward with it and you'll be real proud of what happens out of it.

A: When you look at these initiatives you'll see a cross-section and there's a reason for that. We're going to learn different things from different initiatives and we're trying different things here. We're not just doing one type, obviously. We will take the lessons learned from these and we will build the best organizational structure and the best concept of operations, ConOps we call them -- it's hard not to use acronyms. ConOps, and we will take those lessons learned and we will build a better more capable force from them. That's why we're doing it. This is where we step off and start down this path. We take what we've done here, lessons learned, we magnify that, we change it, we restructure it, then we build something that will be more far-reaching and maybe even more long term. But we must do this because as a nation we need the capability.

Somebody asked the question about a smaller Air Force versus larger. If you look back at some of the Chief of Staff's and the Secretary's speeches you'll see that they talk about the size of the Air Force. But the one thing they say in common is that we will have a more capable force. These initiatives will help us learn the lessons that will help us leverage the capabilities and the core competencies of every part of our Air Force.

A: The Reserves are excited about this. We see our Reservists and our Guardsmen every day performing missions throughout the world to enhance the capabilities of our defense. And that's going to be necessary into the future. So we're excited about looking at new missions and new roles. At some of the changes, although some of them will be painful, there's no doubt about it, but we're excited to see change and we're going to be a big part of it.

A: Again, as an Army customer of what I'm seeing going on in the Air Force, I am extremely excited and energized by the fact that these are bold transformational steps the Air Force is taking. I hope you understand that. These are not easy issues as seen by your questions and your concerns that you've exhibited today. They didn't take the safe way, they took the right path, the necessary path. They're bold, big steps that will enable the United States Air Force to be truly a Future Total Force, and frankly, a more capable member of the joint team. You will be better able to support the Army, you will be better able to support the combatant commanders, and you will be better able to leverage your active and reserve components than you are today. I applaud what I'm seeing here today. This is magnificent.

A: I want to thank you all for being here today with us. I appreciate it very much, and there will be more of this to follow and watch over the next few months and next few years, but we're getting on with it and getting started with it. So thank you very much.

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