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Lessons learned from Operation Desert Storm

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Twenty five years ago, the world watched a display of military force in the Persian Gulf. America’s adversaries have spent each year since pursuing capabilities both to counter U.S. strengths and to exploit perceived weaknesses.

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein participated in a panel discussion about Desert Storm on March 7 in Arlington, Virginia, where he discussed achievements made during the operation and where the Air Force is today.

Operation Desert Storm provided a clear demonstration of the strength of a coalition and is recognized as the first conflict in history to make comprehensive use of stealth and space systems support capabilities against a modern, integrated air defense.

“I’ll share with you the importance of preparation during Desert Shield,” Goldfein said. “You never know how you are going to perform until you actually cross the line for the first time. I remember going across the line thinking, I’ve heard these radio calls, I’ve seen this. You will not believe the sudden confidence that was felt in my cockpit and in all the captains that day, when we realized ‘OK, I’ve been here before, I know how to do this.’”

Today, the service’s emphasis is on making investments in innovative and advanced concepts that leverage leap-ahead technologies to maintain the competitive edge over adversaries. With the fiscal year 2017 budget, the Air Force continues to modernize for the next offset strategy by investing in game-changing technology for today’s and future high-threat environments, and pushing for right-size end strength to stabilize the force.

Goldfein indicated, under Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III’s leadership, a strategic masterplan has been written. The plan details future operating concepts and details where the Air Force needs to be in 2030. This Air Force vision, defense secretary’s third offset strategy, and a constant discussion of the challenges the nation faces all place the Air Force in a position to rebalance and prepare for the future.

“The ability to be adaptive with the way we organize is really critical,” said Lt. Gen. Steven L. Kwast, the commander of the Air University. “You have to look at how you adapt your organization, the culture, the processes and its ongoing journey of evolution regarding to how our country adopts a global capability to make sure America’s values are alive in 100 years.”