Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein delivered his speech at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference, Sept. 18, emphasizing how the service must prepare the Air Force We Need and present it to combatant commanders to compete, deter and win.
“We have returned to an era of great power competition,” said Goldfein. “As our predecessors did before us, victory must be planned for, properly resourced, trained for aggressively, fought for, and eventually won, in the unforgiving crucible of combat.”
Since 2016, the Air Force has focused on revitalizing squadrons, strengthening joint leaders and teams and advancing multi-domain command and control.
“Together, we have tilled the soil, planted seeds and are growing deep roots in each line of effort,” said Goldfein. “The next phase of work is preparing the Air Force we need for multi-domain operations—the convergence of military capabilities in any or all domains to achieve military objectives on a global scale.”
According to Goldfein, this begins with strengthening echelons of command to contribute to and lead multi-domain operations against a peer adversary.
Over time, the service migrated away from the original design of the expeditionary Air Force - from a force organized to deploy forward to one that cannibalizes itself to send individual Airmen to join mature campaigns.
“It is time to get back to our expeditionary roots,” said Goldfein.
Future conflict scenarios may lack fixed bases, infrastructure and established command and control, he explained.
Operational squadron commanders must be prepared to deploy with their entire organization and supporting elements to establish, defend and lead expeditionary operations at a new base. They must also be prepared to roll in under the next echelon of command; the group and wing.
“Our goal is to deliver echelons of command that form together to present trained and ready air and space forces to combatant commanders who combine these echelons with joint and allied teammates to compete, deter and win,” said Goldfein. “We have been setting the conditions for this moment over the past two years and are poised now to truly advance joint warfighting excellence.”