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02 Sep 20. CSAF Outlines Strategic Approach For Air Force Success. In his first major pronouncement as Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., declared Aug. 31 that the service must go fast, must collaborate more effectively with Congress and military, industry and allied partners, and “must accelerate the transition from the force we have to the force required for a future high-end fight.”
“We can’t predict the future, but we can definitely shape the future,” Brown said during a media roundtable in which he presented the 8-page strategic approach entitled, “Accelerate Change or Lose.”
“So, I think we have a window of opportunity to accelerate some of those changes. And personally, I’d rather drive than ride. I’d rather try to help shape what’s going on versus sitting back observing and being impacted by what’s going on,” he said.
According to Brown, “the document itself is really about why we need to change and foreshadow some aspects of the ‘what’ and the ‘how.’”
“We must rise to the occasion,” he added.
The directive is a mixture of Brown’s expectations for what is required to ensure air superiority and for the Air Force to fulfill its mission to defend the United States and its interests. Though only eight pages, the document spans a range of critical topics that touch on doctrine, Air Force culture, and the changing threats and adversaries the nation confronts.
“Our Air Force must accelerate change to control and exploit the air domain to the standard the nation expects and requires from us. If we don’t change – if we fail to adapt – we risk losing the certainty with which we have defended our national interests for decades,” Brown warns in the document.
“Only through collaboration within and throughout will we succeed. The Air Force must work differently with other Department of Defense stakeholders, Congress and both traditional and emerging industry partners to streamline processes and incentivize intelligent risk-taking. Most importantly, we must empower our incredible Airmen to solve any problem. We must place value in multi-capable and adaptable team builders, and courageous problem solvers that demonstrate value in diversity of thought, ingenuity and initiative.”
In explaining why the steps must be taken, Brown is blunt about the stakes and about the risks as well as the realities of a new strategic environment defined primarily by threats from “peer competitors” such as China and Russia.
The document drives home the point with a sub-headline declaring, “Good Enough Today Will Fail Tomorrow.” That sub-headline follows one in the previous section stating, “Uncontested U.S. Air Force Dominance Is Not Assured.”
“Tomorrow’s Airmen are more likely to fight in highly contested environments, and must be prepared to fight through combat attrition rates and risks to the nation that are more akin to the World War II era than the uncontested environment to which we have since become accustomed,” Brown says in the document. “The forces and operational concepts we need must be different. Our approach to deterrence must adapt to the changes in the security environment.”
When asked about the stark language relating to potential attrition, Brown was direct.
“If we ignore the problem and don’t talk about what’s at risk and the potential for high attrition rates and we just continue on the path we’re on, then shame on us,” he said.
“One of my jobs as Chief of Staff of the Air Force is to provide … my best military advice. As I provide that advice as we go forward, I’ll also articulate the risk … I thinkI owe it to the Air Force, to our senior leadership, a discussion on what the potential is. When you talk about a peer competitor at a high-end fight that is one of the facts that we have to be thinking about. We can’t just wish that part away,” he said.
At the same time, many of the actions and the emerging culture Brown outlines in his strategic approach have been underway, driven in part by the demands of the 2018 National Defense Strategy.
Foremost among them, is the continued push to fully integrated joint warfighting.
“We must focus on the joint warfighting concept, enabled by Joint All-Domain Command and Control and rapidly move forward with digital, low cost, high tech, warfighting capacities,” the document states.
The document puts Brown’s personal stamp on the process for ensuring the Air Force continues to successfully transform itself to not only confront peer powers but to adopt a command and control structure that includes air, land, sea, cyber and space as well as seamless connections with other services and allies.
Brown’s strategic approach embraces a cultural shift that “requires greater integration across the services to deny competitors an exploitable seam between the high-ground domains and the cyberspace that connects and enables effects across them all. As Airmen, we must think differently about what it means to fly, fight and win.”
The strategy calls on Airmen to be “multi-capable and adaptable team builders, as well as innovative and courageous problem-solvers, and demonstrate value in the diversity of thought, ingenuity and initiative.”
The desire for innovation and problem solving, Brown’s document says, must take place as leaders continue pushing “to streamline bureaucracy to the greatest extent possible.”
At the same time, Brown’s strategic approach demands both accountability and introspection. “We must candidly assess ourselves and address our own internal impediments to change,” the document says.
It adds, “We must design our capabilities and concepts to defeat our adversaries, exploit their vulnerabilities and play to our strengths. And we must be able to frame decisions and trade-offs with both a near and long-term view of what value our capabilities provide throughout the lifecycle of performance.”
Brown’s strategic approach acknowledges the progress already made under current Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, her predecessor HeatherWilson and former Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.
More is needed, he says, and complacency or a reduction of effort and focus cannot occur.
“While we have made progress, our Airmen need us to integrate and accelerate the changes necessary to explore new operational concepts and bring more rapidly the capabilities that will help them in the future fights,” the document says.
All of this change, Brown says, is likely to occur at a time of tightening budgets. That demands “ruthless prioritization” of programs and actions.
“Likely future budget pressures will require the most difficult force structure decisions in generations. We cannot shy away from these decisions,” the document says.
The changing nature of national security, Air Force operations and changing budgets, demands that, “we must candidly assess ourselves and address our own internal impediments to change,” Brown asserts in the strategic approach.
“In doing so, we must acknowledge the realities of the fiscal environment to ensure that the U.S. Air Force is gaining the most value and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. To be successful, the U.S. Air Force must continue its future design work and accelerate the evolution and application of its operational concepts and force structure to optimize its contribution to Joint All Domain Operations.”
While he describes a challenging future, Brown closes with a note of optimism based in history.
“We have done this before, and together we can do it again,” Brown says in the document.
“Today’s U.S. Air Force, and its assumed dominance, was shaped by highly innovative and courageous Airmen throughout our storied history,” the Strategic Approach says. “Seeing the need for change, they forged new technologically-advanced force structures and developed novel operational concepts that paved the way for the many successes we have achieved. We can do it again.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Air Force)
02 Sep 20. DOD Official Outlines U.S. Nuclear Deterrence Strategy. There is broad, bipartisan support for the modernization of the nuclear triad, which includes bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and the systems that control them, a Defense Department expert said.
Robert Soofer, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, also said support is more divided for the creation of W76-2, which is a class of low-yield, tactical nuclear warhead that is different from those in the nuclear triad. An example would be a submarine-launched ballistic missile nuclear warhead.
To understand the divide over support for W76-2, one must have an understanding of the two schools of thought on the best approach to nuclear deterrence, Soofer told the Air Force Association Mitchell Institute’s Nuclear Deterrence Forum today.
Each school of thought has its advocates, including members of Congress, interest groups and think tanks, he noted.
The first school of thought is known as simple nuclear deterrence, sometimes referred to as minimum deterrence. The thought is that deterrence is best achieved with a limited number of nuclear weapons that, for example, could destroy a certain number of an adversary’s cities, Soofer said. The viability of the deterrence is created by an adversary’s fear of uncontrolled nuclear escalation.
The second school of thought is known as complex nuclear deterrence. This recognizes that nuclear deterrence can be more complicated, requiring an understanding of the adversary and various scenarios that could play out, he said. This strategy also pays close attention to the nuclear balance and places a premium on ensuring the survivability of nuclear forces that can threaten the adversary.
The complex nuclear deterrence approach has been the basis of U.S. nuclear policy since about the 1960s, and it rests on presenting the president with a number of options and capabilities — particularly in a regional conflict — that would deter Russia’s nuclear use in any scenario, he said.
This is particularly important since Russia has expanded its nuclear capability, and has espoused a doctrine of limited first use, meaning the use of low-yield tactical nuclear warheads, Soofer said.
Having W76-2 capability demonstrates to Russia that the U.S. has taken practical steps to ensure that adversaries can derive no benefit from even limited nuclear use, he said.
There is a very high bar that must be met before the president, who is the only one who can order the use of nuclear weapons, will contemplate the use of W76-2 warhead, or any other nuclear weapon for that matter, Soofer said.
Having a range of nuclear weapons capabilities not only deters nuclear attacks, but it also deters large-scale conventional and biological and chemical attacks and reassures allies and partners, he said.
That is why the U.S. has not adopted a “no use first” policy when it comes to using nuclear weapons, he said, adding that circumstance for first use would have to be extreme, meaning to defend the vital interest of the U.S., allies and partners.
The objectives of the U.S. nuclear strategy are two-fold, he said. “First and foremost is to deter war, both conventional and nuclear; second, should nuclear deterrence fail, [is] to deter further nuclear use and hopefully bring the war to an end before the worst imaginable nuclear catastrophe unfolds.”
Therefore, the U.S. nuclear strategy doesn’t rely solely on massive and immediate attacks against an adversary, he said, though the U.S. maintains this capability to deter adversaries from contemplating a first strike against the United States. “Massive attacks would represent the failure of our nuclear strategy. Rather, our nuclear strategy as articulated in the  Nuclear Posture Review calls for tailored deterrence with flexible capabilities, including an appropriate mix of nuclear capability and limited, graduated response options — something administrations over the last six decades have valued,” Soofer said.
In sum, U.S. nuclear strategy is one of resolve and restraint, he said. “Our limited use of nuclear weapons in response to a Russian or Chinese attack is intended to demonstrate resolve, convincing the adversary that it has really miscalculated when it contemplated the use of nuclear weapons.”
The strategy also communicates restraint, sending a message to the adversary that it has much more to lose if it continues down the path of nuclear escalation, he said. (Source: US DoD)
01 Sep 20. US Air Force “must accelerate” transition to future force: CSAF. US Air Force Chief of Staff (CSAF) General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. said the US Air Force (USAF) “must accelerate” its transition to a force ready for a “future high-end fight” during a media round table where he presented his eight-page strategic approach for the USAF, ‘Accelerate Change or Lose’.
During the presentation, Brown said the USAF “can’t predict the future” but can shape it, adding that the air force had a window of opportunity to accelerate changes.
‘Accelerate Change or Lose’ includes Brown’s expectations for what will be needed from the USAF going forward as well as topics such as USAF culture, doctrine and the threats and adversaries facing the US.
In the document, Brown says: “Our Air Force must accelerate change to control and exploit the air domain to the standard the Nation expects and requires from us.
“If we don’t change – if we fail to adapt – we risk losing the certainty with which we have defended our national interests for decades. We risk losing a high-end fight. We risk losing quality airmen, our credibility, and our ability to secure our future.”
The document warns that if the USAF fails to adapt to “changes in the strategic environment”, it risks losing in a future high-end fight, however, the document adds that for the USAF to succeed it must increase the pace of change to “remain the most dominant and respected Air Force in the world.”
Under a section titled ‘Good Enough Today Will Fail Tomorrow’ Brown says that the USAF’s past successes do not guarantee its future performance.
Brown adds: “Absent change, our presumed advantage will continue to erode, and the U.S. Air Force will not be adequately prepared for the warfighting challenges in contested environments.
“Absent change, our Nation will assume increasing risks to our mission and our forces.”
Brown said that requirements for capabilities that underpinned the USAF’s success were developed in the decade most of the air force’s senior leaders joined the service, adding: “Since then, much has changed.”
Brown added: “Unlike the past, much of the emerging technologies that will determine our future are no longer created or funded by the Department of Defense.”
In the document, Brown explains that the USAF must contribute to the US Joint Warfighting Concept and deliver capabilities into the hands of warfighters “faster—through innovation, experimentation and rapid prototyping, and a collaborative approach with our service and industry teammates.”
A high-stakes game
The document warns that likely future budget pressures ‘require the most difficult force structure decisions in generations’ but Brown adds that these decisions cannot be shied away from.
Brown adds: “The US Air Force already faces increasing budget pressure based on growing costs of sustainment for current and ageing force structure, continuous combat operations, and long-deferred modernisation.
“While previous decisions were made with the best intentions reflecting perceived needs at the time, in aggregate, they do not deliver the outcomes we need today due to the rapidly changing elements of the competitions with China and Russia.”
Learning from prior force recapitalisations and modernisation plans, the document says the USAF must “frame decisions with an enterprise-wide perspective” and have hard conversations about changes that need to be made.
“If the US Air Force fails to adapt fast enough, wargaming suggests mission failure and unacceptable risks to the Joint Force.
“The rules-based international order so many have fought to defend may disintegrate and our national interests will be significantly challenged. Unless we accelerate the changes we need, the US Air Force will be ill-prepared to compete, deter, and win. Urgent actions are required now to secure the US Air Force’s continued ability to deliver global effects on strategically-relevant timelines,” Brown’s document reads.
Demonstrating “strength, adaptability, and resilience” to near-peer adversaries, such as China and Russia, is seen as necessary to deter a future armed conflict. However, the document adds that should deterrence fail, “the US Air Force must be prepared to fight in defence of America’s interests—and win.”
Brown’s document concludes: “If we are bold enough, we can shape our future proactively vice reactively after experiencing catastrophic loss and potential defeat.
“To do so, we must accelerate change now, while we have a unique—but limited—window of opportunity. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
01 Sep 20. China’s Military Has Surpassed US in Ships, Missiles and Air Defense, DoD Report Finds. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has already surpassed the U.S. in missile development and its number of warships and air defense systems under the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to achieve dominance by 2049, the Defense Department said in a sobering report Tuesday.
The ultimate goal of the People’s Republic of China, or PRC, is to “develop a military by mid-Century that is equal to — or in some cases superior to — the U.S. military, or that of any other great power that the PRC views as a threat,” the DoD’s annual report to Congress said.
To that end, the PRC has “marshalled the resources, technology, and political will over the past two decades to strengthen and modernize the PLA in nearly every respect,” the report said.
Under the national strategy pressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the result has been that “China is already ahead of the United States in certain areas” essential to its overall aim of progressing from homeland and periphery defense to global power projection, the report said.
“The PRC has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines, including over 130 major surface combatants,” the report said.
That’s compared to the U.S. Navy’s current battle force of 295 ships.
In addition, “the PRC has more than 1,250 ground-launched ballistic missiles (GLBMs) and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers,” while the U.S. currently fields one type of conventional GLBM with a range of 70 to 300 kilometers and no GLCMs, the report said.
In some respects, China is also ahead on integrated air defense systems with a mix of Russian-built and homegrown systems, the report said.
“The PRC has one of the world’s largest forces of advanced long-range surface-to-air systems” — including Russian-built S-400, S-300, and domestically-produced anti-air systems — making up “part of its robust and redundant integrated air defense system,” the report said.
Despite the advances, the PLA “remains in a position of inferiority” to the U.S. in overall military strength, said Chad Sbragia, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for China.
The 173-page DoD report “does not claim that China’s military is 10 feet tall,” but the Chinese Communist Party wants it to be, and has the plan and resources to reach that goal, Sbragia, a retired Marine officer, said at an American Enterprise Institute forum on China’s military.
At an earlier Pentagon briefing on the report, Sbragia said Beijing’s military strategy was driven by the view that the U.S. has decided upon a long period of confrontation to counter the global spread of China’s influence.
He said that China “increasingly views the United States as more willing to confront Beijing on matters where the U.S. and PRC interests are inimical.”
“The CCP leaders view the United States’ security alliances and partnerships — especially those in the Indo-Pacific region — as destabilizing and irreconcilable with China’s interests,” Sbragia said.
The DoD report, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” comes about two weeks before Congress is set to return from recess to convene a Senate-House Conference Committee on the National Defense Authorization Act and the defense budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has acknowledged downward pressures on the defense budget to offset the enormous costs of the COVID-19 response while arguing for sustained increases of 3-5% in defense spending in future years to maintain U.S. superiority and readiness.
The 20th annual report on China by DoD noted the “staggering” improvements in China’s ability to build, coordinate and project power since the first report was issued.
“DoD’s first annual report to Congress in 2000 assessed the PRC’s armed forces at that time to be a sizable but mostly archaic military that was poorly suited to the CCP’s long-term ambitions,” the report said.
In 2000, “the PLA lacked the capabilities, organization, and readiness for modern warfare,” the report said. But the CCP, it added, recognized the shortcomings and set about with determination to “strengthen and transform its armed forces in a manner commensurate with its aspirations to strengthen and transform China.”
“More striking than the PLA’s staggering amounts of new military hardware are the recent sweeping efforts taken by CCP leaders that include completely restructuring the PLA into a force better suited for joint operations” and for “expanding the PRC’s overseas military footprint.”
The PLA has already established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, about a mile from U.S. Africa Command’s main base on the Horn of Africa.
In its commentary on the DoD assessment, the American Enterprise Institute noted that the report also stressed that “The PRC has likely considered locations for PLA military logistics facilities in Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan.”
Despite the progress made by China’s military over the past two decades, “major gaps and shortcomings remain” in readiness and operational capability, the report said, but China’s leaders are acutely aware of the problems and have detailed plans to overcome them.
“Of course, the CCP does not intend for the PLA to be merely a showpiece of China’s modernity or to keep it focused solely on regional threats,” the report said.
“As this report shows, the CCP desires the PLA to become a practical instrument of its statecraft with an active role in advancing the PRC’s foreign policy, particularly with respect to the PRC’s increasingly global interests and its aims to revise aspects of the international order,” it added. (Source: Military.com)
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