General Mark Welsh III on American military strategy in a time of declining resources
With sequestration likely to remain law throughout this year and beyond, the US Air Force finds itself in a "ready today" versus a "modern tomorrow" dilemma. How will the Air Force balance capability, capacity, and readiness in the coming years? What is the future of key modernization initiatives such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker, and the long-range strike bomber? Moreover, what lessons has the Air Force learned from past debates that will influence upcoming budget proposals? In the concluding session of its series with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, AEI's Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies will host General Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, to address these questions and more.
Jon Kyl, AEI
General Mark Welsh III, US Air Force
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Join us on Twitter with #AEIJCS Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Q: What is your take on the Murray-Ryan budget agreement?
Welsh: I'm glad we have an agreement for the hill to move forward on. Anything is better than where we are now, we have no fixed variables. There is nothing we can anchor our planning on. A solution won't change the facts of sequestration, but it will help us mitigate the effects on readiness. From a service perspective, we can then identify how to make reasonable force reductions to balance our readiness.
Q: Do you think the newly established ADIZ could be considered a move to increase the chances of conflict between China and the US or Japan, or provide an opportunity to start more cooperation/communication?
Welsh: I hope it is a platform for communication and I think it gives us a great mandate for communicating better with each other. This is a discussion we need to have with our allies and I hope this will improve communication between nations.
Welsh on unmanned aircrafts: About 5% of our aircraft force is unmanned. I don't see that number increasing dramatically in the near future. While the strike capability of unmanned aircrafts is the most highly publicized, the intelligence capacity is the most widely used. The next 50 years of unmanned aircraft is just going to be stunning. Industry will get into this in a major way and when they do, the world will change.
Q: As you rebalance and reprioritize your funding, do you expect to have a high-low force mix or is it going to be more tilted toward high-end?
Welsh: Compared to every other nation in the world, we have always had a high-end force mix. A high-low force mix is relative. In my view, we take the resources we have available to us and build the force capable of winning the full-spectrum fight. We have to get industry side by side with us to break the price curves so we can build this force.
LIVE AT AEI
Learn more about AEI's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.
Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.
Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.
Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.
Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).