Outgoing Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz thinks he didn’t “apply enough attention” in the acquisition realm during his tenure. In a mid July interview, he said he hopes that the new Chief of Staff will “lead the uniformed part of the acquisition community in a more direct and material way than, perhaps, I did.” Schwartz said he probably “under-performed” by deferring too much to “those who have statutory authority in the acquisition realm.” Asked what he meant by being too deferential, Schwartz said: “to the service acquisition executive [and] to the Secretary, who ultimately is responsible.” The next Chief of Staff, said Schwartz, should be more assertive in laying out the “uniformed perspective” with regards to acquisition and take a more direct leadership role in it. “Most importantly,” he added, the “acquisition professionals in the field . . . need to know” that their Chief is “attentive to their needs and represents their role in maintaining a ready and effective Air Force.” Gen. Mark Welsh, nominated to replace Schwartz, has acquisition experience, which Schwartz did not. For that reason, if the Senate confirms Welsh, “that’s one area where Mark will lead, perhaps, better than I did,” said Schwartz.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.