AF Secretary: Service Too Small for Demand

Washington Report

(September 19, 2017) Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson discussed the state of the Air Force during the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference Monday at National Harbor, Maryland, just outside the nation’s capital.

Wilson covered the Air Force’s priorities, all driven by the needs of the nation, according to an Air Force release.

“We have been doing too much, for too long, with too few and that has to change,” said Wilson. “We have to plan and prepare for the high-end fight.”

Wilson stressed the need to restore readiness, cost-effectively modernize, drive innovation, develop exceptional leaders and strengthen alliances.

“The stark reality is, the United States Air Force is too small to do all that the nation expects of it,” said Wilson.

According to Wilson, the past 26 years of constant combat operations has come at a cost to the Air Force’s personnel and equipment. The demand for what airmen bring to the fight will only increase, and it is vital to take steps to ensure the readiness of the force.

“The greatest risk we’re facing here at home . . . is the risk of not having a budget,” said Wilson. “We put forward a budget that begins to restore the readiness of the force so that we can win any fight, any time.”

That would be at risk if a budget isn’t approved, she added.

The Air Force is working on the acquisitions process to get items from the factory to the flight line efficiently and expeditiously in order to win the conventional and unconventional fight.

“Adversaries are modernizing and innovating faster than we are,” said Wilson. “We have to be able to evolve faster, to respond faster than our potential adversaries.”

Innovation, she said, happens on the flight line where airmen are doing their jobs every day.

“The chief and I are trying to put in place processes that are going to push authorities down to the lowest appropriate level,” said Wilson. “We’ve started to simplify Air Force instructions and policies so that we stop telling airmen how to do everything, and tell them what to do instead.”