ACC commander outlines imperatives for the Combat Air Force

  • Published
  • By Michael Martin
  • Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
“The ability to provide dominant combat airpower underpins our nation’s ability to pursue and protect our vital interests, and without it, we put at risk the precious bastion of liberty, the United States of America.”

Gen. Mike Hostage, the commander of Air Combat Command spoke about the future of the Combat Air Force at the 2014 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, here, Sept. 16.

“At ACC our task is clear: provide warrior Airmen trained, equipped and ready to fly, fight and win America's wars when and where they are called upon to do so,” Hostage said.

In his remarks Hostage said budget cuts, force structures and reductions will ultimately make the force smaller, but by leveraging the technology of today and the advancements of tomorrow, the Air Force can be a more capable force with the ability to counter our most dangerous threats.

“We cannot take air superiority for granted,” Hostage said. “I can assure you that potential peer competitors out there do not.”

“To be relevant, the CAF must be ready to operate in highly-contested environments and have an adequate number of technologically advanced aircraft and operators trained to deal with the most dangerous threats.”

Hostage spoke about the need to complete the transition of the fighter fleet from fourth to fifth generation, develop the next generation of joint surveillance and target attack radar systems, recapitalize the rescue force, and continue to develop the long-range strike bomber.

“We must retain the capacity and capability to deal with our most likely threats, sustaining the hard earned skills and lessons learned during our most recent conflicts,” Hostage said. “Dynamic threats will require further advancements to maintain the combat edge we have become accustomed to over the last 60 years.”

Hostage also spoke about the need for better, faster and cheaper solutions to our existing capability gaps.

“In recent conflicts we saw our adversaries use common inexpensive items to develop effective weapons,” he said. “We need to flip this cost imposition paradigm. I want future adversaries to spend a million bucks to counter a five dollar weapon.”

The general acknowledged that fiscal and adversary threats in the environment are constantly evolving, but insisted readiness is still vital to air combat.

“Readiness is the linchpin for ACC. I won’t deploy our Airmen if they’re not ready,” Hostage said. “We owe it to our young Airmen to only ask of them what we have trained and equipped them to do. That’s our mission at Air Combat Command. To organize, train and equip combat ready forces.

“By understanding the enduring role of the CAF, the historic need for our restructuring, and the imperative to grow our fifth-generation fleet, we’ll be able to arm our Airmen to deliver dominant combat air power that America expects,” he said.