Image of Air Force and Space Force leaders, including Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, speaking at panel

Top-ranking Air Force and Space Force leaders joined Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall to announce changes that will reshape, refocus, and reoptimize both branches in a recent announcement, Feb. 12.

 

This initiative calls for one of the most significant overhauls of the Defense Department’s two youngest services, to position them for continued dominance in their respective domains, as well as prepare them for a possible near-peer conflict in the future.

 

“Today, we are announcing 24 key decisions that are going to address the current force and our ability to stay competitive,” Kendall said. “We need these changes now. We are out of time to reoptimize our forces to meet the strategic challenges in a time of great power competition.”

 

Kendall put special emphasis on the “we are out of time” theme as the new near and longer-term initiatives were discussed. They will involve major changes in four main focuses:

 

–Develop people
–Generate readiness
–Project power
–Develop capabilities

 

New efforts to “develop people” involves reorganizing career paths in the Space Force to produce guardians prepared to meet high-tech operational demands. Meanwhile, the Air Force intends to grow current technical tracks for officers, establish new technical tracks for enlisted personnel, and reintroduce warrant officers to IT and cyber fields to maintain technical leadership.

 

“Generating readiness” includes the Air Combat Command’s refocusing on establishing and presenting ready forces to combatant commanders, as well as creating Space Force readiness standards to reflect operations in contested environments in the event of a great powers conflict.

 

New plans to “project power” will require the Air Force to structure its operational wings as mission-ready “units of action,” which will be designated as deployable combat wings, in-place combat wings or combat generation wings. Each wing will possess its own structure and a redesigned concept of support for agile combat employment to ensure they are mission-ready assets with mission-ready personnel. The Space Force’s combat squadrons will undergo re-formation as “units of action” to completely activate its service components and accelerate the implementation of the Space Force’s generation model.

 

To “develop capabilities,” the Air Force will establish a new Department of the Air Force Integrated Capabilities Office for capability development and resource prioritization that will drive modernization. A new field command, the Space Futures Command, will form to develop and validate concepts, conduct experimentation and wargames, and perform mission area design.

 

Note that this is an abbreviated list. For a more complete description of what these focuses will entail, visit https://www.af.mil/reoptimization-for-great-power-competition/.

 

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