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    Air Force chief calls for collaboration between Guard, active duty

    Air Force chief calls for collaboration between Guard, active duty

    Photo By Master Sgt. Nick Choy | U.S. Air Force Joint Chief Gen. Norton A. Schwartz addresses National Guard delegates...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy 

    National Guard Bureau

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Citing evolving missions and shrinking budgets, the chief of staff of the Air Force called for the Air National Guard and active duty forces to work closer together.

    "The skill-set of National Guard members is critical to sustaining worldwide partnerships," said Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, during his speech at the 131st annual National Guard Association of the United States General Conference meeting here today.

    "We stand to succeed across all areas of our total force mission," Schwartz said. "But we face numerous challenges."

    Schwartz said the total Air Force structure is evolving along with the demands being placed on the force by the Defense Department.

    "We need to adapt to this change," he said.

    Schwartz said the Air Force's most pressing priority is the acquisition of new refueling tanker aircraft.

    The general echoed Air Force Secretary Mike Donley's speech at the NGAUS conference the day before, citing a robust request for a proposal, which is due out to contractors later this year, with a final contract awarded in late 2010.

    "You all have a considerable investment in the new tanker," Schwartz told the audience, which responded with applause.

    "The second priority is our fighter aircraft," he said.

    "Why would I want to dissipate a limited pool of resources on a 4.5 generation fighter, when I can purchase a fifth generation platform?" Schwartz asked the audience.

    He said it would be a "major mistake as a nation" to spend money on upgrading the existing Air Force inventory, and "prematurely walk away from the F-35."

    "I think this is the wrong approach," he said.

    Schwartz said he believes the F-22 Raptor is "over-spec'd" for the Air Force's Air Sovereignty Alert mission, but he hopes to bring a combination of F-22, F-35, legacy aircraft, including upgraded F-15 and F-16 fighters, and unmanned aircraft to the ASA mission.

    Schwartz warned that while distribution of any new platform concurrently between the active duty Air Force and Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units is important, the changing role of the Air Force means not all units will retain their present missions.

    "We must recognize that the total Air Force is evolving," he said. "As I said before, we need to adapt, but adaptation also applies to a concurrent and proportional rollout in terms of F-35 procurement."

    Schwartz said that in the future not every fighter unit will retain their flying mission. Units may migrate to an unmanned flying mission or even a non-flying mission.

    "We need to be equally prepared to do those missions too," he said.

    The third priority for the Air Force is its long-range strike capability, Schwartz said. "I think our country needs a penetrating air capability," he said. "We cannot depend exclusively on 'fire and forget' ballistic missiles."

    "And as you know," he continued, citing the B-2 bomber mission at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, "[The Air Force] has a significant partnership in long-range strike capability with the Guard and Reserve."

    Schwartz reminded the group of ceremonies commemorating the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, calling them "a sobering reminder of the unfamiliar political and military landscape Americans now face."

    "Now, more than ever, we must be vigilant in our efforts to provide for the common defense of our nation."



    Date Taken: 09.14.2009
    Date Posted: 09.14.2009 11:13
    Story ID: 38740
    Location: NASHVILLE, US

    Web Views: 1,141
    Downloads: 971