The Air Force does not plan to build any more bases in the Pacific, but will
maintain a significant presence in the region. During the Cold War era
"almost every CONUS unit" would rotate to Europe every 18 months to
two years and operate from there for stints, said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of
Pacific Air Forces. "The Air Force is turning to that in the
Pacific," he told reporters in Washington, D.C., on July 29. Carlisle said
the United States already is beefing up its Pacific presence with 12 rotating F-22s
at Kadena AB, Japan, and 24 F-16s in South Korea "on top" of what was
there before. The first overseas F-35 squadron also will be based in the
Pacific, likely Alaska, Japan, or South Korea, he said. In addition, the Air
Force will "maintain [its] capability in northeast Asia" while "increasingly
moving south and west with the rotational presence" in places such as India,
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, he said.
"The term we use often is 'places not bases,'" said Carlisle. (For
more coverage of Carlisle's roundtable, read Lightning
Round and Airmen
In More Depth
|A Cost-Conscious Culture
Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, is trying to “develop a cost-conscious culture” through an initiative dubbed the “Road to a Billion and Beyond.”
Gates Versus the Air Force
In his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the Air Force as “one of my biggest headaches”—a perception USAF leaders were never able to turn around during his tenure.
A Systemic Problem
Air Force Secretary Deborah James acknowledged the Air Force does “have a systemic problem” within its nuclear forces, though she said she is confident the mission itself remains strong.