By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Oct. 13, 2005) -- The Air Force’s future path requires more jointness and interdependence between the total force, sister services and coalition partners.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley spoke Oct. 11 about this vision for the future of the Air Force, but began with a vision of its recent past.
The Air Force has been at war now for nearly 15 years, he said. Conflict kicked off in January 1991 in Iraq and Kuwait with Operation Desert Storm. Since then, the general said, the Air Force has been continuously engaged in places like the no-fly zones over Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan -- and once again, Iraq.
"This is the most combat experienced American air force we've had since the end of World War II," General Moseley said.
The Air Force’s newly appointed military leader said he doesn't see a break in that trend. In fact, he thinks demands on the Air Force, its sister services and America's coalition partners will go on for a long time.
"This country is at war, and we are at war with a very adaptive, very lethal opponent," he said. "It is my sense that we will be in a global war on terrorism for our lifetime. This is a long war -- it will ebb and flow. We will deal with this as a joint team, we will deal with this as a coalition team with international partners, and we will deal with this as an interagency team."
Working in the joint environment will force the Air Force to find new ways to work together with sister services and to share resources that in the past they may not have. In fact, it wasn't until recently that interdependence between military services began to take on a more important role, the general said.
"We've truly evolved beyond just staying out of each others way, or de-conflicting activity," he said. "Up until Desert Storm, we made an art out of de-conflicting. In the Desert Storm time frame, we began to integrate a bit -- to not just stay out of each other's way. We worked very hard on integration."
Finding ways to improve integration is one of General Moseley's priorities for his tenure as chief of staff.
Some examples of that include a light cargo aircraft the Air Force is looking into with the Army, and the sharing of aerial surveillance aircraft, like the Global Hawk, with the Navy.
"It makes perfect sense to continue to continue to partner, even in a more aggressive way, with land component, maritime component, and special operations component activities," General Moseley said. "We have lots and lots of data to show this is the right way to do it."