Friday, August 13, 2010

Washington Post; Lt Gen Deptula

August 14, 2010

AFA Members, Congressional Staff members, Civic Leaders, DOCA members, as we get farther away from watching oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (while concentrating on the clean-up), the article here my name surfaced in the Washington Post. To quote one of our members who sent it to me: "It is interesting that the first thing Admiral Allen asked the President for just as things began to really look bad - both literally and figuratively … was command of the air, and it was the Air Force and the 1st AOC that provided it." I would further add that what ADM Allen wanted was that for which Airmen down through the ages have sought – a single Air Commander providing centralized control of all air assets in a theater. In this case it wasn't a Joint Forces Air Component Commander or a Combined Forces Air Component Commander, but more like an Air Task Force Commander who could focus the civilian and military air effort, sequence and prioritize the missions, and maintain overall control of the sky.

This is illustrative of what every military commander faces in combat. Control of this third dimension (and, I would argue, the space and cyber domain as well) is absolutely essential if we are to have success on the battlefield.

Secondly, I attended – last week – the retirement ceremony of Lt General David A. Deptula. He was then the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and he retires on 1 Oct 2010.

General Deptula, at the ceremony, gave what I thought was an outstanding speech – focused on Airpower. You can find the speech (absent some more of his personal comments) on our website here.

To interest you in it, below are a couple of excerpts:
"Still — airpower is about more than finding and sharing information — it's about compressing time and space as well — about exploiting operations in the third dimension with a speed and agility that our adversaries simply can't match.

Now, our sister services possess aircraft. Those aircraft make up the 'air arms' of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Those air arms are rightfully dedicated to facilitating the core functions of their parent service—operations on the ground, at sea, and in the littorals.

There is however, only ONE AIR FORCE—it is not just another air arm, but rather a service specifically dedicated and structured to exploit the advantages of operating in the third dimension. It's this unique and specific focus that keeps our Nation on the leading edge of the challenges we face...or in other words, makes aerospace power one of America's asymmetric advantages."

"Over the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, Airmen have created a structure of capabilities that have become ubiquitous…as a result, the Air Force has become an indispensable force…now that's both a blessing… and a challenge.

We've made it look easy when it's not, and as a result too many take what we do for granted… education and awareness are the solution…and our partners in the Air Force Association are helping to make that happen. For that we thank you."

Finally, many have asked me to remind all of you … that if you think this note – as with all of my notes – has information that others might gain by reading it, please consider forwarding it to those in your email address book … or to the press. [The press has my permission to use any or all of these words.]

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

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