The Air Force is going to have to get “a lot more disciplined about what we transition from basic science and R&D to development,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told the Daily Report following Secretary Michael Donley’s speech Monday. Asked if R&D—not mentioned among the accounts Donley said USAF would “safeguard”—is coming in for a heavy hit, Schwartz said there will have to be clear lines between basic research and payoff programs. Those technologies not offering undisputed payoff may not be affordable, and “clearly, we will be accepting more risk,” Schwartz said. It’s “not new” that the Air Force will be focusing on exploiting existing technologies more than inventing new ones, he said, and R&D will increasingly focus on technologies with nearer-term maturity.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.