Air Force Must Rebuild to Cold War-Era Size to Confront China

Air Force Must Rebuild to Cold War-Era Size to Confront China

Air Force Must Rebuild to Cold War-Era Size to Confront China

The Air Force, the USA military branch that takes responsibility for space, authored the September 14 memo outlining a proposal for "a lethality focused organization that will field space superiority capabilities".

Citing military gains by China and Russian Federation, which recently completed its largest military training exercise in decades, Wilson announced the Air Force should grow to 386 combat squadrons by 2025 or 2030, representing a roughly 24 percent boost. Air Force could reach roughly 725,000 airmen and civilians across the active-duty, Guard and Reserve components with its proposal to increase to 386 operational squadrons, the head of the service's personnel center said Monday.

Her announcement Monday was the first time that the Air Force officially presented a goal of increasing the force's size.

"We know now from analysis ... that the Air Force is too small for what the nation expects of us", Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said during in a speech on the opening day of the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor in Maryland, just south of Washington.

The Air Force analysis did not include a price tag and Ms Wilson declined to speculate on costs. Trump also supports the creation of a sixth military branch, dubbed the "Space Force".

President Donald Trump has prioritized military spending to modernize the country's armed forces and nuclear arsenal.

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About one-sixth of USA federal spending goes to defense, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Trump last month signed a massive, $716 billion defense policy bill meant to help address shortcomings in the US military, which is trying to shift its focus to challenges posed by countries like China and Russian Federation after almost 17 years fighting militants in places like Afghanistan.

Ms Wilson pointed to events already making global headlines, including Vostok-18, Russia's largest military exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union, which saw the mobilisation of 300,000 troops.

The service must grow and continue to improve technologically to ensure its combat readiness is not surpassed by other nations, she said. "To face the world as it is, with a rapidly innovating adversary, the Air Force we need should have about 25 percent more operational squadrons in the 2025 to 2030 timeframe than the Air Force we have".

Mrs Wilson acknowledged that the Air Force's estimates would be further refined in the weeks and months ahead.

"I'm convinced that the Air Force we need is going to be about 350,000 airmen", Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in a statement that first appeared in USA Today in 2016.

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