Frank Kendall: US Air Force must reorient itself to outpace China

Although U.S. military and government leaders are closely watching and learning from developments between Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. Air Force and Space Force’s top priority remains China.

During a fireside chat hosted by the Air Force Association, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall explained that China has identified the “high-value targets” — things like aircraft carriers, satellites, logistics hubs and command and control nodes — that the United States depends on to project power.

“They have built up a vast arsenal of conventional precision munitions…to attack these assets. … They do this to intimidate us and prevent us from projecting our power,” Kendall, a former Wash100 award winner, said of the China strategy.

“We need to reorient ourselves and develop a sense of urgency in the face of the thinking, spending and intelligence of a very capable opponent,” he continued.

Hear Frank Kendall in person at the Potomac Officers Club’s Air Force Summit 2022 at the Tysons Ritz-Carlton on July 26. Seats are filling up fast — Click here to join today.

Secretary Kendall’s comments are reflected in the Air Force’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, which shows a major shift in resources toward the future fight against China.

Regarding the FY23 budget request, Kendall said, “We are meeting the needs of combatant commanders today and making sensible investments for our future.” But he warned that the fiscal year 2024 budget “will require tough choices”.

Expert GovCon Jim McAleese offered an in-depth analysis of the Air Force and Space Force FY23 budget requests during an exclusive video interview with Executive Mosaic – look here.

Going forward, as the Department of the Air Force prepares for the future and strives to maintain its competitive edge, Secretary Kendall emphasized the importance of not only speed, but also the precision. “We have to move fast but in the right direction,” he insisted.

Kendall expressed support for progress in areas such as JADC2 and the Air Force’s Advanced Combat Management System, but noted that the Air Force still needs to work quickly to fill gaps. capability gaps and accelerate the modernization of obsolete and legacy systems and equipment.

Learn more about how the Air Force is preparing to take on China at the Potomac Officers Club’s Air Force Summit 2022 at the Tysons Ritz-Carlton on July 26. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions and hear ideas from top Air Force leaders. register here.

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