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Ready for the Future
Prepared Remarks of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman and Air Force Secretary Sheila E. Widnall , Air Force Association National Convention, Washington, Tuesday, September 17, 1996

Defense Issues: Volume 11, Number 87-- Ready for the Future For 50 years, the Air Force experienced steady growth to become the world's premier air power, always building on a legacy of imagination, integrity and service above self.

 

Volume 11, Number 87

Ready for the Future

Prepared remarks by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman and Air Force Secretary Sheila E. Widnall at the Air Force Association National Convention, Washington, Sept. 17-18, 1996.

Fogleman. It's great to be here today in this gathering of air power proponents. These annual Air Force Association meetings are a always a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with people about my favorite topic -- air and space power.

I am very happy to be here for the celebration of the 50-year Air Force Association, because this association played a major role in helping build the United States Air Force into the world's greatest air and space force. You've done it in a variety of ways, not the least of which has been your education and outreach program, and your tireless efforts to inform the public and national decision makers about the value and place of air power for the nation's security strategy.

The delegates to the first national AFA convention recognized the importance and magnitude of this task in the preamble to the association's first statement of policy. Allow me to give you a little of the context for this statement issued in 1947.

The United States had just come out of a very tough war -- over 290,000 killed in action and almost 700,000 wounded. We saw an Air Force that was forged in fire and the maturation of air power as a force in modern warfare. In the preamble to the AFA's first policy statement those visionaries said:

"We speak not as military men laying strategic plans, but as citizens from all walks of life and from all sections of the country who have had a relatively brief, but unforgettable experience in the military service, who now cherish the role of civilian and hope it is never again interrupted.

"We have banded together as the Air Force Association with this in common -- a steadfast belief in a strong United States as the best insurance for world peace, and in air power as the key to our strength."

I think they had it just about right!

As you all know, this year's convention is a double celebration. In addition to the Air Force Association's Golden Anniversary, we are also beginning the Air Force's 50th anniversary. We kicked that program off yesterday with a ceremony to memorialize and thank Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold at his graveside. We will move the program into high gear with Secretary [of the Air Force Sheila] Widnall's speech tomorrow and continue all the way through December of next year.

There are a lot of folks out there who are focusing and working on the 50th anniversary. And I hope all of you in this room will help us celebrate.

The theme for the 50th anniversary is "Golden Legacy, Boundless Future ... Your Nation's Air Force." And this theme fits in nicely with what I would like to talk about this afternoon -- the contribution of your nation's air and space forces over the past 50 years and a brief look into our efforts to plan for the future.

For the past half century, the United States Air Force has been a major force in the nation and the world because as an institution we have focused on the priorities of the nation.

The United States Air Force, as I said, was forged in fire during World War II. It played a major, sometimes decisive, role in helping our nation win that conflict. At times, it was the only instrument that we had for taking the fight to the enemy. During those dark days in the early 1940s, when we could not mount an invasion of the European continent, it was through air power that we opened a second front and drained the resources of the Axis powers.

At the end of the Second World War, as we had after every other war we had been engaged in, America began to demobilize. But something was different this time, the world had changed, and air power had changed the way that wars would be fought.

Not long after the Air Force was formed in 1947, we had the opportunity to prove that air power could make a difference. The first big challenge came in 1948 when the Soviet Union decided to close the land lines of communication into Berlin and force the Western Allies out of that city.

Out of that crisis came the Berlin Airlift. Our airlifters, along with those of our allies, kept the supplies flowing for 15 months. It was this nonlethal application of power that led to our success. Those airlifters were backed up by bombers we sent to England as a deterrent, just in case the Soviets wanted to escalate. This combination of lethal and nonlethal air power resolved the first major confrontation of the Cold War in favor of the West.

This was a period of growing tensions between the two superpowers. In 1946 the Iron Curtain fell over Eastern Europe, in 1948 we had the Berlin Airlift, and in 1949 the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear device and proliferation began. In 1949 the most populous nation on the face of the earth, China, became "Red China." Through all of this, we were vacillating in our national security strategy, and this hesitancy caught up with us in June 1950, when a fifth-rate nation, North Korea, attacked its neighbor to the south. Our nation, which after the Second World War thought it would never again put its youth in harm's way, found itself within a matter of days, if not hours, involved in a land war in Asia.

The United States Air Force was engaged in this conflict from the very beginning. Had it not been for the foresight and planning of some of the Air Force leaders during that period, I believe the forces of the United States and our allies would have been forced off the peninsula. As you remember, it was a close run thing when we retreated to Pusan. But we were quick to win air superiority, which stabilized the defensive perimeter at Pusan and allowed ground forces to begin the march back up the peninsula.

We were challenged in the air by MiG-15s. Had it not been for the foresight of the people who developed the F-86, we would not have been able to maintain control of the skies over that peninsula.

Korea acted as a wake-up for the United States and the Western world. After that, it was clear that this thing called international communism presented a threat to our way of life. In response, the United States developed a security strategy that was simple in statement and application. It was called containment. We were going to contain international communism by building a ring of bases around the centers of communist power, the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and China.

The centerpiece of containment was the idea of nuclear deterrence. And the United States Air Force provided two legs of the nuclear Triad. Initially, the bomber force was the only force. Then as we developed sea-launched ballistic missiles and our land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Triad came into being.

Throughout this period, air and space forces gave our political leaders unprecedented situational awareness around the world. This turned out to be very useful during several crises. In Cuba, it was U-2 aerial photographs of nuclear missiles that allowed the president to make the case before the United Nations and the world. Throughout the Cold War, the Air Force developed and fielded systems which continue to give the United States unrivaled global situational awareness. Satellite systems were developed and constellations put into orbit to give us awareness, for example, of a missile launch.

Awareness is just one part of responding to a crisis. National leaders and military commanders must be able to act in a timely fashion. Time and time again, our nation has turned to the Air Force for the means to quickly deploy combat forces.

I've already mentioned sending the B-29s to Europe as a show of force in 1948. Air Force units were engaged in Korea in a matter of hours in 1950. In the summer of 1958, composite air strike forces were sent to Lebanon and Taiwan. Vietnam might have been a limited war, but the United States Air Force was heavily involved there from 1964 to 1975. In 1969, we were deploying forces to Korea for the Pueblo crisis and again in 1976 when we had squadrons on their way within 24 hours after the ax murders of two Army officers in the DMZ [demilitarized zone]. In 1983, we had Grenada, and in 1986, the attack on [Libyan leader Moammar] Gaddafi, which drove home to terrorists the price they would pay for their actions. In 1989, Panama and in 1990, the deployment for Desert Shield, which led to Desert Storm in 1991.

And then, most recently, as seen and appreciated by our honored guest, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the application of air power in Bosnia, a place where many skeptics said air power wouldn't be effective because we weren't in the desert, but in a complex environment with weather and terrain. These people failed to realize the advancements made by the Air Force and industry team in the lethality and precision of weapons -- improvements that make it possible to employ air power in ways that we couldn't in the past.

But it hasn't all been lethal operations. As the United States saw the need to provide humanitarian assistance, the Air Force has been heavily involved in moving supplies, food, equipment and medicine. These humanitarian missions started in October 1947, shortly after we had become an independent service, with airlifters flying cholera vaccine to Egypt. These airlifters -- air mobility forces, we call them today -- were called upon time and time again.

In the 1960s, it was the movement of some 60,000 troops from 19 different nations to the Belgian Congo. When America delivers aid and humanitarian assistance, normally it is going to arrive in one of those big T-tails with the American flag on it. When that airplane lands, it doesn't represent the United States Air Force -- it is the United States of America. Just another way we support our nation's national security interests.

The Air Force has supported the nation's priorities through a wide range of activities most appropriately termed "air and space operations in support of national interests." This definition can apply to everything from United Nations peacekeeping operations to resupplying an allied nation at war to taking on unusual or nondefined missions for our nation.

A great example of this occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the Western alliance was faced with the threat of mobile nuclear missiles, the SS-20s. We responded with the ground-launched cruise missile, and the Air Force was tasked to build the missile, train the crews and put it in the field. I think it was one of the most successful, but little recognized, systems of the whole Cold War. The result of fielding the ground-launch[ed] cruise missile and showing our resolve in matching the capability of the other side was a treaty that resulted in the destruction of over 3,000 Warsaw Pact warheads without a missile being fired.

Throughout the Cold War, the Air Force stayed focused on the nation's priorities and played a major role in winning the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union dissolved, our nation's priorities began to change. President Bush initiated a study of what our post-Cold War national security strategy should be. In 1989, as the National Security Council began to develop a new national strategy, the Air Force leadership became engaged in the process.

Gen. Larry Welch, who was in his fourth year as our chief of staff, and the secretary of the Air Force, Don Rice, put a group of people together, working to bring focus to what the Air Force could do for the nation in the post-Cold War environment. Out of that came our strategic architecture for the 1990s, "Global Reach, Global Power."

This document laid out our core competencies, it drove the way we restructured and reorganized the Air Force, and it has driven our modernization priorities. It has been successful because it started with the national security strategy and flowed through the military strategy. We worked within this framework so that the Air Force would be tied in with the national priorities. It's been a good strategic vision, but it was built seven years ago. We now know more about the way the world works than we did when "Global Reach and Global Power" was written. We are finding that in many ways it was right on target, in other ways not so good.

It is now time for us to start looking into the future and developing a follow-on to this vision so that as we move into the 21st century we have the same kind of tie to our national priorities. This connection helps people in the Air Force and the American public in general understand why it is we exist and why we have a given set of priorities.

During this effort to define the future and the role of the Air Force, we have stayed focused on the nation's priorities. We have a new national security strategy called engagement and enlargement. Our nation's goal is to be engaged around the world with the objective of enlarging the family of democratic nations.

This strategy depends on maintaining a strong defense and ensuring the military forces are ready to fight. It calls for military forces that can selectively engage foreign militaries to help resolve problems, reduce tensions and defuse conflicts. It uses the example of the United States military as a way to help other militaries understand the place of a military force in a democratic society.

We have also seen another force come into the national security process, a piece of legislation called the Goldwater-Nichols Act. Since 1987, it has become more and more embedded in the way we do business. As part of this maturation, we recently saw the chairman of the Joint Chiefs publish a document with his vision of the future called "Joint Vision 2010."

The document clearly states that the strength of the military establishment will always be in the service's core competencies, but those core competencies must support the joint vision. So it is important for us as an Air Force to know and understand the elements of that vision as we begin our own look at a new long-range strategic game plan.

The chairman's document lays out four operational concepts: dominant maneuver, precision engagement, full-dimensional protection and focused logistics. This is the arena we will operate in, so we must all understand these concepts. This is a good vision and one dependent on air power.

The aim of dominant maneuver is to control the battle space while attacking whatever the enemy values. The attributes of air and space power are ideally suited to taking away the enemy's sanctuaries and striking his forces wherever they may be. Out of this we have come up with a term called "air dominance." What's the difference between air dominance and air superiority? I have been asked that many times. I respond by saying that it is the degree to which you own the adversaries' airspace.

When we talk about air dominance and the weapons, we are developing for the future, we are getting out of the mindset of building fighters to defend our own airspace. We want to own the other guy's battle space. If you own somebody's battle space and can operate with impunity, you greatly simplify the task of the joint force commander. Air dominance allows you to work the problems of force movement, and the problem of ballistic missile defense much easier. The F-22, B-2 and joint strike fighter are key systems in making dominant maneuver a reality.

Precision engagement is the ability to apply lethal force very discriminately. The Air Force has been a leader in developing precision engagement technologies, from the ability to detect targets with current systems like JSTARS [Joint Surveillance and Targeting Attack Radar System] to new precision weapons like JDAM [joint direct attack munitions] and JASSM [joint air-to-surface standoff missile]. Another system on the leading edge of technology is the airborne laser -- a way to attack the boost phase of the ballistic missile problem. There are those who doubt the viability of this system. But think about the skeptics of stealth or those who did not think the investment in precision weapons was worthwhile. Those same people have been turned around by recent experience.

In the airborne laser, we are talking about a directed energy weapon -- one of the truly revolutionary ideas being developed by any of the services. When it is fielded, it will have dramatic effect, not just in the theater ballistic missile business, but in many areas.

Full-dimensional protection is the idea of force protection. We had it driven home to us recently that force protection begins at the perimeter, goes beyond the perimeter and extends out to air and space. But we cannot get defensive in our approach to gaining full-dimensional protection. We have to understand that full-dimensional protection means air and space superiority, not just freedom from attack, but freedom to attack. It's denying the enemy any kind of sanctuary.

The last element is focused logistics, how these robust, lethal forces will be supported. We are trying to shift from large inventories and take advantage of our communications-based system so that we can move supplies to where they are needed, when they are needed. It's a simple concept, but one that's different from the large stockpiles, large WRSK [war reserve spares kit] kits we grew up with. Why did we have those? Because during the Second World War supplies were relatively cheap, while transportation was nonexistent or in great demand. So the first step in an operation was in moving great mountains of supplies forward. Now, spares and supplies have become expensive, while transportation and information are relatively cheap. We can now eliminate large stockpiles and focus supplies where they are needed.

As I have said, the Air Force has already developed some of the systems required to support Joint Vision 2010. As we move forward with our long-range planning initiative, we will make sure it is based on the national priorities and a joint perspective. I am convinced that only with vision and careful planning will the United States Air Force truly achieve its full potential in the 21st century.

I recognize that all of this planning activity may generate a lot of nervousness in the force and perhaps some skepticism about where this is all going. First of all, most of the components of this study have already been completed: "New World Vistas" by the Scientific Advisory Board looking at technology, "Spacecast 2020" done a few years ago at Air University, "Air Force 2025" just recently completed and a Rand study called "Shaping the Role of Airpower" have all been integrated by the long-range planning group.

Next month [October], our Corona [meeting of four-star generals] meeting at the Air Force Academy is going to be devoted to discussing the results of these efforts and developing a vision for the future.

The secretary and I want to assure everybody that the focus of this effort is on forming long-term goals and policies. We are going to minimize the number of changes in the near term. Developing a vision for the Air Force is the only way we can communicate with our people and the National Command Authorities. And we think having this vision will make it easier to identify transition points for different weapon systems and programs and find the optimal moment to phase in changes, minimizing the amount of turbulence we encounter.

We are committed to sharing this vision. If we are going to be successful in meeting our goals, we will need help from all the members of the service as well as our partners in industry and the support of the American public.

We could not have achieved the successes we have over the past 50 years without a close working relationship with the aerospace industry. As we look into the future, it is clear that we will need to continue our close working arrangements.

In the coming months and years, you will be hearing a lot about our strategic vision and goals. At the center of this discussion will be a recognition that people are our most valuable resource. I am reminded by a friend of mine, [British] Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason, that "Among the many resources which contribute to effective air power only one -- people -- actually appreciates ... over time." That's a wonderful thought.

Meeting the challenges of the future with air and space power depends on the United States Air Force staying focused on the priorities of the nation. We have a lasting and living legacy from our past. And we look forward to the continuing support of the Air Force Association in helping tell our story to the American people.

This is going to be a busy time for the Air Force. There are many challenges ahead. But in our 50th anniversary year, we should pause and celebrate our "golden legacy," remembering the heroes, the visionaries, the people, many in this room, who formed our service. While we do that, we must also refine our vision so that we are prepared for a "boundless future."

 

 

Widnall. Every year we come together here, and every year it's a highlight, a chance to see old friends, to review the accomplishments of the past year and most importantly, to look ahead at the exciting future that everyone here has a role in building.

Of course, there's a special excitement this year, as we kick off our Golden Anniversary celebration -- as we look back to five decades of service and ahead to an exciting future. And today we are privileged to have among us many of my predecessors, whose decisions helped to make ours the world's premier air and space force. I asked them to join me for a day-long conference tomorrow, to gain the benefit of their experience and wisdom, because among them, they've seen it all. Many are here today and have been introduced; they will be joined tomorrow by [former Air Force secretaries] Don Rice and Eugene Zuckert. Please join me in welcoming them all.

Gen. [Ronald R.] Fogleman [Air Force chief of staff] brought the images back so clearly to mind yesterday of the events of these 50 incredible years:

q Of C-54s going into Tempelhof [Airport in Berlin] as the West stood tall at the dawn of the Cold War;

q Of F-86s tangling with MiGs over the Yalu;

q Of Thuds and Phantoms and Buffs going "downtown";

q Of our missile and bomber crews sitting their silent vigil, deterring the ultimate global catastrophe;

q Of Air Force airlifters spanning the globe, giving this nation its unique capability and a unique power to shape events around the world;

q Of F-117s reaching into the heart of Iraq; and

q Of our space forces, quietly transforming our capabilities over years of growth, providing this nation the global awareness that has become a key element of our national power.

And the image is equally clear, of the people who have made those events possible: the security police walking their posts, the maintainers who keep the aircraft going, the loggies, the communicators, the controllers -- all the people who provide the enormous range of expertise necessary to keep our force fit and strong.

For nearly 50 years now, Air Force members have served this nation and the people of the world across the globe. From the windswept rocks of Shemya to the jungles of Southeast Asia to the deserts of the Middle East and the rocky ridges of Bosnia, the Air Force has stepped forward to meet its mission. The tools of our trade have evolved, our capabilities have evolved, but the skill and dedication of our people has remained constant.

No one here today needs a detailed review of the role we have played over the past years in building a safer world. Neither do we need to review the threats that remain. The events of the past month have provided a vivid reminder that there are still dangerous players in the international community and that the Air Force's proven global power can play a central role in constraining those players.

But I think that sometimes people miss the whole story. Our impact around the world is sometimes spectacular. Sometimes it's headline news, splashed over front pages and news reports around the clock, but more often our people perform their missions in quiet, away from the glare of publicity, and it seems clear to me that this quiet, steady work will ultimately have at least as profound an effect on our world as our more spectacular feats. Certainly you have a lot better chance of seeing a precision weapon on the news than you do a detachment of our people working with their counterparts around the globe, but the global engagement that we provide is slowly, gradually helping to transform the world.

Over the past months, I have had the opportunity to see our people around the globe transforming our world in a thousand ways.

I walked the perimeter at Kunsan AB [Air Base], in Korea, the last bastion of the Cold War as we maintain the vigilance needed to deter a catastrophic war.

I watched a [Operation] Provide Comfort package launch from Incirlik [Air Base, Turkey] and visited the tent city where our people deployed there live.

I visited our military liaison officers in Central Europe and saw the results of their work: the steady transformation of former Warsaw Pact militaries into a new Western model.

I walked the flight line at Aviano [Air Base, Italy], and met the people who had so fundamentally changed the flow of events in Bosnia, who had made peace a realistic possibility for the people of that nation.

And so it is clear that as we meet today, our Air Force people are building on the legacy we have received, carrying on in the traditions that we have inherited over the long years of service to this nation. And lest we forget, their families, too, are carrying on their tradition of service, of making it possible for our people to do their work.

But of course it is a defining characteristic of the Air Force and one of our unique strengths that we spend much more time looking ahead than we do looking back. We take pride in our past, we learn from our past, but we focus on the future, toward scanning the horizon and finding the path forward. This past year has been an incredibly busy and productive time in that regard, and the best is yet to come.

When we last met, I spoke of our time-phased modernization plan: the focus on the C-17 in the near term, to fill the CinCs' [commanders in chief] most urgent operational need; to complete the bomber conventional upgrade in the midterm; to strengthen our global responsiveness and to modernize our theater forces in the long term; to bring on the F-22 and the JSF [joint strike fighter]. Over this 15-year horizon, too, we will be modernizing the space forces that have quietly transformed our capabilities over the past decades.

This is a long process. It is a complex process. And so it is striking to look back a year to when we last met and mark the progress that we have made since then toward filling these priority needs.

The C-17, for example, had been removed from the critical list, but its fate was still in doubt when I spoke at this place 12 months ago. Since then, we have decided on a 120-aircraft buy, and we have structured a multiyear procurement plan to bring it on as economically as possible.

Most importantly, that aircraft has proven its worth in spades in operations around the world. It had barely reached operational status, in fact, when it demonstrated exactly why we needed it in operations in Bosnia. It got rave reviews by people at every level of the government, but the most important were those that it received from the people "in country," working in the mud to make that peacekeeping mission a success, who depended on that aircraft for their lifeline. It didn't let them down.

The F-22 [advanced tactical fighter] is taking shape, and by the time we meet here next year, it will have flown its first flight, a milestone indeed. It is at the core of our future capabilities, and the program is proceeding right on track.

We have marched on steadily in the EELV [evolved expendable launch vehicle] program designed to rationalize our space launch capabilities. The SBIRS [Space-Based Infrared System] will enter the hardware and software development phase later this year. We signed a multiyear procurement contract on the GPS [Global Positioning System]. So while few things zoom to completion in the world of acquisition, we are proceeding on track as we build the future force.

Ultimately, all of these programs are structured to give our CinCs the right tools, to ensure that the Air Force can fill its role on the joint team. Historically, of course, jointness has been comparatively easy on the field of battle, but very difficult in the trench warfare that sometimes breaks out inside the Beltway [Washington].

That's changing now. The team concept is even reaching inside the Beltway, and I consider that an exciting prospect. Two months ago, we passed a milestone in that effort as [Army] Gen. [John] Shalikashvili [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] published his "Joint Vision 2010." That work defines a pathway for the future for the U.S. military. It outlines a broad framework for understanding joint warfare in the decades to come, and it builds a common understanding as we shape our service contributions to the joint forces of the future. It's a vision that we share, a vision in which we can make a powerful contribution and a vision that we are aggressively implementing.

Yesterday Gen. Fogleman outlined our contributions to the operational concept outlined by the chairman, to the high-tempo, precision-oriented, information-intensive framework outlined in "Joint Vision 2010." What I want to focus on for a moment today are the capabilities that Gen. Shalikashvili characterized as "the foundation" for this entire vision, the people and technology and leadership that are built by the services. It is our key responsibility, it is fundamental to the success of this concept, that we continue to provide our combatant commanders with the talented people and quality equipment that have been our hallmark for so long.

Over the past year we have taken huge strides in those areas. For example, we have instituted a central selection process for our colonel-level commanders, and we have structured the right education for our commanders, to give them the tools they need in this complex age. We have instituted the "1+1" building standard for our enlisted people, to target their highest-priority requirement in quality of life.

And we have pressed ahead with the revolution in business practices that has been gaining momentum over the past few years.

That revolution, in the end, will fundamentally change the way we do business. The motive is simple. We will fail in our mission if we cling to old ways of thought and old patterns of behavior.

It's hard to get people to focus for long on acquisition reform. It's not the most interesting topic, it gets technical very quickly, and the reaction of many is some variant of "here we go again." But when you find this movement creating a cultural change across the service, as we have in the Air Force, and you see it making the difference between success and failure, it becomes of considerably more interest.

It becomes downright compelling, in fact, when you understand its impact. I spoke a moment ago about the C-17. When I entered office three years ago, that aircraft was in real trouble. Costs were high, quality was low, the relationship between the contractor and us was distant at best. In a cooperative effort with OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense], we moved to an entirely different relationship with the contractor and a new approach to handling that program. Over months it evolved from terminally ill to a world-class performer.

So there is a very direct, straight line running from the acquisition reform initiatives of a few years ago to that combat capability in the hands of our CinCs. In the decades to come, the C-17 will become an increasingly important component of the global mobility that is central to our execution of the joint vision.

And we are looking beyond 2010 to still more distant horizons, shining a light into the future to begin designing the Air Force this nation will need 30 years from now.

I view this as a time of historic transformation in the Air Force, a quiet revolution that sweeps across our operational capabilities, our business practices, through the entire fabric of the organization. "New World Vistas" has given us a glimpse of the possible, "Air Force 2025" and "Spacecast 2020" have brought further insight and clarity to this Air Force-wide effort.

And in the next month, the Air Force's leadership will chart that path into the decades ahead as we culminate the Air Force's year-long, long-range planning effort. We are ready to step up to the toughest possible challenge, of getting away from the in-basket, of getting away from today's problems, to define a goal decades away and begin to mobilize resources toward reaching it.

We don't know what the structure of that force will be, what its shape will be. But we do know that it will be built on the most solid foundation imaginable -- the legacy of integrity, service above self and excellence built by millions of Air Force people over five decades.

Over the year to come, we will celebrate that legacy across America. All of us can take part. All of us should take part because, beyond the joy of the occasion, this is an opportunity to deepen America's appreciation for the contributions that the Air Force has made toward sustaining our security and our freedoms.

And this celebration gives us all an opportunity to strengthen our pride in the Air Force, to deepen our understanding of its capabilities and contribution to this nation and to renew our commitment to building on our golden legacy, as we construct our boundless future.

The future is indeed boundless. It is limited only by our imaginations, and it will be built by the efforts of everyone here today as we all participate in the wonderful adventure of strengthening the Air Force to meet the challenges ahead. Thank you for your contributions in that task, and thank you for letting me be part of this wonderful event today.

 

Published for internal information by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the internet via the World Wide Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/index.html.