HomeNewsArticle Display

Combat air forces leader describes role, requirement of future force

Gen. Mike Hostage addresses audience members during his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A majority of Hostage’s comments were focused around aircraft, though he stated that the most powerful resource is Airmen. Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage addresses audience members during his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A majority of Hostage’s comments were focused around aircraft, though he stated that the most powerful resource is Airmen. Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage addresses audience members during his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A majority of Hostage’s comments were focused around aircraft, though he stated that the most powerful resource is Airmen. Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage addresses audience members during his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A majority of Hostage’s comments were focused around aircraft, though he stated that the most powerful resource is Airmen. Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage addresses audience members during his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A majority of Hostage’s comments were focused around aircraft, though he stated that the most powerful resource is Airmen.  Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage addresses audience members during his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. A majority of Hostage’s comments were focused around aircraft, though he stated that the most powerful resource is Airmen. Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage socializes with attendees after delivering his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Hostage addressed where the service’s air combat forces aim to be in the future.  Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Gen. Mike Hostage socializes with attendees after delivering his “Combat Forces in the 2020’s” speech at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Hostage addressed where the service’s air combat forces aim to be in the future. Hostage is the Air Combat Command commander. (U.S Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The leader of Air Combat Command unveiled his assessment of the blueprint required for the combat air forces in the 2020s in remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 17. 

On the second day of the three-day, 55-session conference highlighting various topics relevant to the Air Force, Gen. Mike Hostage noted the critical role combat air forces will continue to play in advancing the nation’s interests.

The general put forward the case for recapitalization following more than a decade of combat air forces support in Afghanistan and Iraq, and two decades “of sustained global engagement and combat operations.”

“Air Combat Command’s ability to provide relevant combat forces to the combatant commander will hinge on the recapitalization to a robust, fifth generation fleet,” Hostage said in reference to the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. The F-22 fleet, he added, allows for U.S. forces to “kick down the door.”

While a decision between modernization of a fourth generation aircraft or recapitalization of the fleet with fifth generation fighters is not one he wants to have to make, Hostage said to him the imperative is clear. 

“If ... I must pick one or the other, to me, recapitalization is the only thing that makes sense,” Hostage said, adding that a modernized fourth generation aircraft would be irrelevant against adversaries’ advanced capabilities.

Hostage cited Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who said a fourth generation aircraft meeting a fifth generation aircraft in combat will be more cost efficient, but “it will be dead before it ever knows it’s in a fight.”

While aircraft remain a priority for the force, Airmen, the general maintained, remain the most powerful resource. “(They) are the ultimate source of our combat capability -- the most sophisticated and precious resource we possess.”

Hostage also chronicled the far-reaching ripples of sequestration, including the Air Force standing down several units within ACC earlier this year in order to balance training and deployment of fully capable units.

“Our imperative … will remain to provide mission-ready forces to combatant commanders, accepting that some of our units may not be immediately available, requiring some amount of time to get fully trained for combat.”

Noting that ACC will have to focus its training on those Airmen filling the most critical mission sets would leave some unprepared, the general vowed that his obligation is to ensure that preparation does take place before the command’s most precious resource -- its people -- are fully ready before sending them into combat.

“To send them forward anything less than fully combat ready would be morally corrupt,” the general said, cautioning against some of the long-term force structure decisions being driven by the short-term fiscal constraints. “The U.S. national debt and its associated budget repercussion remain the biggest threat to our national security.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to learn more about @USAFCENT, the command that provides air & space warfighting capabilities to help defeat v…
Airmen with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard provide support at the “tent cities” to support Task Force South and… https://t.co/zg2yT0LqpS
Even the most advanced aircraft in history requires extensive maintenance performed by Airmen on the ground to kee… https://t.co/Kpv8JlzYIc
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Throwback Thursday and #TankerThirstThursday are the same game. Throwing it back to last month when a KC-135 Stratotank…
If you thought the C-5M Super Galaxy was cool before, wait until you hear @RichardHammond describe it and its capab… https://t.co/jbYbdyHx5q
Air National Guardsmen from @105AW are on the ground in Puerto Rico with their counterpart, @PRNationalGuard, provi… https://t.co/ZwzhCEpWY4
RT @HAFB: Join us for the Hill Air Force Base 80th Anniversary Celebration from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Hill Aerospace Museum! A nu…
Ranges are crucial to the training and readiness of our warfighters. Get an inside look at how they prepare to figh… https://t.co/i5CnbpBGAw
.@cmsaf18 and his wingman, Senior Enlisted Advisor to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief Master Sergeant… https://t.co/UD69jCjHPz
#AirForce is always looking for ways to improve processes and patient health care is no different. @JBSA_Official h… https://t.co/ysEFjoXYCE
RT @USAF_ACC: You know what day it is. #WarthogWednesday! 🐗👏 #DYK the weapon on the #A10Thunderbolt II is a 30 millimeter GAU-8 and is des…
RT @SpaceForceDoD: Earlier today, @SpaceForceCSO Gen. John W. Raymond became the first ever Chief of Space Operations. @VP Vice President M…
C-17 Globemaster IIIs sit at @March_ARB, where their engines routinely receive special eco-washes to prevent corros… https://t.co/so1CEcJYsP
.@90thMissileWing's innovative #Airmen have developed a virtual care system. Learn how Airmen in the field can use… https://t.co/1EqZgBm0FR
RT @Mike_Pence: It was my privilege to swear-in our Nation’s first @SpaceForceCSO, General Jay Raymond! After serving our country for over…
RT @DeptofDefense: WATCH LIVE: @VP Mike Pence swears-in @SpaceForceDoD @SpaceForceCSO Gen. John “Jay” Raymond at the @WhiteHouse Jan. 14 at…
RT @PACAF: #Snow isn't much of an issue for us here in #Hawaii; however, if a #blizzard ever comes our way we know some hard-working #Airme