Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces panel, last week asked Air Force and Navy officials what the strategy is driving the development of the Defense Department’s AirSea Battle concept and other operational concepts. During the panel’s Oct. 10 hearing on ASB, Forbes said DOD had not issued an actual defense strategy since February 2011—although it did release defense strategic guidance in January 2012 outlining the Pentagon’s 10 primary mission areas. “How is the department designing and executing operational concepts such as AirSea Battle in the absence of an actual defense strategy?” asked Forbes, seeking clarity. “We’ve had a rough time getting our arms around that,” he said. In response, Maj. Gen. Michael Stough, the Joint Staff’s vice director of joint force development, said the Joint Chiefs view the 10 missions laid out in the 2012 guidance as driving force-development activities. “We’re talking about . . . the mission to defeat the anti-access, area-denial challenge,” said Stough of ASB, noting that it is foundational to DOD’s other missions. (For more hearing coverage, see Integrated Exercises Key to AirSea Battle Success.)
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.