Four retired Air Force senior leaders addressed Air Force Association Pacific Air and Space Symposium attendees during a panel, using their lessons learned to discuss the future of Air and Space operations in the Pacific.
The panel, which included retired Generals Norton Schwartz, Paul Hester, William Begert, and Carrol Chandler, gave their perspectives on different topics to include, modernization, readiness and response, deterrence, coalition forces and building partnerships in the Pacific.
Schwartz began his comments explaining that during his term, he, along with civilian and military senior leaders, anticipated a drawdown in forces in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
According to Schwartz, it was a consensus effort involving the civilian leadership of the U.S. Government and the joint chiefs of staff, in formulating a strategy that has two key points.
“The first being, long term stability operations particularly ground intensive, would no longer be a force design for the American armed forces,” Schwartz said. “Secondly, the notion to expand partnerships, and reaching out to others, connecting with others, relying on others was not a sign of weakness, but was an effective strategy.”
Along with building partnerships with allies across the Pacific, Chandler spoke that it is no accident on the posture of the Pacific beginning with continuous bomber presence and the Pacific Regional Training Center.
“The continuous bomber presence in the Pacific has paid huge dividends, in terms of being there when they are needed and training crews in the Pacific,” Chandler said. “You can see the benefits of the contingency response groups in Guam playing out today, in the Philippines and the Pacific Training Center.”
Continuing on through the panel, Begert explains he has been extremely optimistic about the future of American presence is the Asia-Pacific area of responsibility.
“I have often said that air power has been the key to the Pacific-Asia area since Dec. 7, 1941,” Hester said. “Whether it takes off from a ship or land, it doesn’t matter. But, it is a very large and important area for us economically and our presence is necessary for peace and stability.”
With all the changes in the Asia- Pacific arena Hester summed up the panel, adding that during his times as commander of Pacific Air Forces, he had to deliberately think through operations.
“I had to develop, during my time, a status to cancel limitations and downsizing exercise,” Bergert said. “To achieve the ability to join with other nations, it is the investment in the exercises and outreach pieces they need so that they may work strongly to achieve success.”
Source / Author: USAF