October 1, 2010  

Air Force proud

TO GEN. NORTON SCHWARTZ for a peculiar speech that implied the Air Force’s best chance of staying relevant is to ally with the Navy. In his keynote address at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference in Washington, D.C., in September, Schwartz talked of the Air Force as “not currently cast in the marquee roles that we fulfilled in previous decades,” but nevertheless “quietly laboring on.” He then indicated a brighter future lies ahead if the Air Force and Navy — Schwartz called them the nation’s two globally postured and strategically oriented forces — further integrate their capabilities via the Air-Sea Battle concept. Air-Sea Battle is an intriguing concept with potential. But this was not the venue for the Air Force chief to talk of slugging on and cutting deals. Two years ago, in his first AFA speech as chief of staff and after a truly awful year for the service, Schwartz hit all the right notes, telling his airmen to stand tall and proud. This remains an Air Force at war and the chief should still be pounding out that message today, especially at the service’s annual gathering.