SecAF, CSAF, CMSAF begin Indo-Pacific trip focused on ACE

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  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force David Flosi began a week-long tour of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces area of responsibility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam April 1-2.

The senior leaders are travelling across the Indo-Pacific region to witness firsthand the progress the service has achieved in establishing Agile Combat Employment, an operational scheme of maneuver to increase survivability and available combat power.

“Our readiness in this region and our ability to deter aggression here is my primary focus as secretary,” Kendall said. “Nearly three years ago, I entered office deeply concerned about the security challenges inherent in the Pacific. The rapid buildup of the Chinese military is the defining challenge we face. Our Airmen and Guardians based in the Pacific are critical members of the Joint Force and we need to support them with everything they need to succeed. This trip will allow Department of the Air Force senior leadership to assess our progress in-person and thank all those who serve for the common purpose of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

The initial stop of the trip included individual meetings with Navy Adm. John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Gen. Kevin Schneider, PACAF commander, to discuss how the U.S. Air Force would fight as part of the Joint Force in a modern, contested environment.

“The Indo-Pacific is a complex and dynamic security environment,” Allvin said. “Our pacing challenge is rapidly modernizing its weapon systems and fielding new all-domain capabilities.”

In addition, Kendall met with senior representatives of U.S. Space Force Indo-Pacific Command to discuss space capability and requirements in support of the Joint Force.

“Our Pacific Guardians have a front row seat to the growing capabilities of our competitor,” Kendall said. “Our Guardians are on watch and providing important visibility and awareness to the combatant commander.”

At PACAF headquarters, the service’s top leaders surveyed a mobility processing line specifically designed for ACE deployments. In addition, they evaluated ongoing ACE training and were briefed on upcoming exercises – all of which are designed to strengthen deterrence and evolve combat capabilities alongside allies and partners.

ACE revolutionizes the generation of airpower, transitioning from large, centralized bases to networks of smaller, dispersed locations or cluster bases. This strategic shift enhances survivability, complicates adversary planning, and affords a crucial advantage in contested environments where air bases are no longer safe havens.

“Agile Combat Employment is an essential operational concept which our force must employ to be ready for competition against a great power. What makes this concept a reality is our committed, disciplined and innovative Airmen,” Flosi said. “We are focused on ensuring our Airmen have the resources and qualifications needed to deliver airpower, anytime, anywhere.”

PACAF is leveraging technological improvements and empowering Airmen so they are ready to execute missions quickly and in unpredictable ways in the future. PACAF Airmen have also taken measures in the wake of the pacing threat to promote a culture of innovation, readiness and continuous improvement within the ACE framework.

“Pacific Air Forces has implemented ACE into regular operations and exercises alongside our allies and partners,” Schneider said. “This collaboration enhances both the resilience and effectiveness of coalition airpower and strengthens our collective capability to respond and win in complex and contested environments.”

As PACAF headquarters was Kendall’s, Allvin’s and Flosi’s first stop during their multi-day trip, they held an all-call and had the chance to speak to Airmen of all ranks throughout the stop about how ACE supports the service’s top priority of reoptimizing for Great Power Competition. Alongside allies and partners who share similar security goals, PACAF Airmen will continue to exercise and enhance ACE employment capabilities to achieve a more competitive posture as challenges emerge in the Indo-Pacific.

“The leadership and Airmen here in PACAF are laser-focused on working with our allies and partners to deter aggression, and defeat it, if necessary,” Allvin said. “They are up to the challenge.”