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General Jumper charts course for future

by Master Sgt. Julie Briggs
Air Force Print News

2/17/2005 - ORLANDO, Fla.  -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper gave a vector for the Air Force's future during a speech Feb. 17 at the Air Force Association's 2005 Air Warfare Symposium here.

General Jumper followed Peter B. Teets, acting secretary of the Air Force, at the convention in which about 1,000 people attended.

The general said the Air Force is confident and strong, adding that air and space will likely be contested in the future. But there are those who have said it will not, he said.

"There are those who think that because Saddam Hussein buried his airplanes in the sand that today the need for air superiority is over, that we don't need, necessarily, to put any more effort into dominating the skies," he said. "That is wrong."

To meet these challenges, General Jumper outlined his strategic goals to maintain air dominance. Those include the need to stay agile, operationalize space, increase "jointness," remain focused on technology, understand industrial vulnerabilities and concentrate on effects versus platforms, the human strategy and "rut management."

"Agility doesn't mean the handling of our aircraft," he said. "It means the ability to respond to contingencies in unknown and unforeseen ways. To get anywhere we need to go, to get there quickly and to be able to persist is a growing reality of our United States Air Force."

An example of that agility is Operation Enduring Freedom. At its height, the Air Force had more than 36 bases supporting the operation. Today there are 14 bases still open. Key to this agility is the service's air and space expeditionary forces.

There are more than 30,000 Airmen deployed today, the general said. The Air Force flies more than 200 sorties each day in Afghanistan and Iraq with countless other sorties being flown as air bridges.

Operationalizing space means not only bringing space power in a collection mode but in the real-time targeting mode, the general said. The Air Force needs to be more responsive in space. "Responsive in hours, maybe days," he said, "not weeks or months."

To do this, the Air Force is moving toward joint warfighting space, putting the warfighter in the loop using space assets, the general said. The emphasis will be on effects versus platforms. This means having space operators understanding the warfighting effects they are having on the battlefield, in the battlespace and how the space piece fits into the operation, he said.

It also means networking at a machine-to-machine level to take those effects and put them in the hands of warfighting commanders, across the services, on the ground and in the air.

"True jointness can only come from within as we figure out amongst ourselves how to create effects on the battle field in multiple ways," General Jumper said. "The service chiefs today are discussing a series of centers of excellence where we would put together our command and control, our (unmanned aerial vehicles), our battlefield Airmen (and) close-air support."

These centers of excellence will develop joint concepts and procedures instead of developing them separately.

The general also said the Air Force needs to focus technology directly on solutions to its most difficult problems.

"We have, for a long time, said our most difficult problem is hitting moving targets in and under the weather," he said. "We just demonstrated the ability to hit moving ships and boats on the water at significant speeds."

The Air Force needs to put that technology out in the field, make it reliable, sustain it and continue to make it work, he said. The same thing applies to networking.

The Air Force is proceeding to network its existing aircraft on a machine-to-machine level, he said. Of what the Air Force has today, 70 to 75 percent will still be in the inventory 20 years from now, the general said, which is why networking is a critical strategy.

But the Air Force needs to be careful not to over rely on technology in the battlefield, General Jumper said, using the E-10 multisensor command and control aircraft as an example.

"There's a lot of opposition to the E-10," General Jumper said. "We are not ready to give up yet on line-of-sight command and control, the need for line-of-sight apertures and processors and sensors."

The system is not platform dependent. Its capability lies in its versatility, giving combatant commanders a horizontally integrated, near real-time view of the battlespace.

Another strategic goal is the need to understand industrial vulnerabilities.

"Take the price of a C-130B (Hercules) we paid in 1964," he said. "Inflate it to (today's) dollars and the price comes out be about $11-and-a-half million. Compare it to what we're paying for the C-130J and it increases over 500 percent. Capability is certainly better, but it doesn't give 500 percent more (cargo capacity)."

Effects-based programming is another strategic goal. The Air Force needs to concentrate on effects not the platform, General Jumper said.

The F/A-22 Raptor is one example, the general said, because "it gets you where you need to go without anyone knowing it.

"If we talked about the full array, of being able to deal with the hardest things in the air, the hardest things on the ground, being able to win back contested airspace no matter where it exists . (the F/A-22) is the thing that can get to it," he said.

The F/A-22's effect is keeping air corridors open, ensuring dominance in the sky.

The human strategy for the Air Force is simple, keeping the right people in uniform and no more than needed, General Jumper said.

"For each 10,000 people we have in uniform, it costs us $1.2 billion a year," he said. "We need to make sure they're doing the right things, that they understand airpower and how it works, and how to pass information to ground battlefield commanders so they can get their jobs done."

Most Airmen, he said, live the Air Force's core values, especially the one that says service before self, the general said. "The ones that don't, we're asking to leave."

Also included in the human strategy is ensuring the force is fit, he said, adding that in the future, fitness scores will be included in evaluation reports and commanders will be held responsible for their people's fitness. The payoff, he said, will be huge.

We will maintain the standards of the U.S. Air Force and we are not going to back away, General Jumper said.

The last strategic goal he discussed is what General Jumper calls "rut management," insuring people stay focused.

"Make no mistake about it, it's easy to get in a rut," the general said. "I spent most of my years . blasting things out of ruts."

"We've got to stay focused," General Jumper said. "We've got to remember what it is we're trying to do, and we've got to keep focused on the results, on the effects."

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