CAS Futures

Explaining the thinking behind calling an all-service close air support summit at Nellis AFB, Nev., in March, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday, “We just have to get to a point where all the services understand what the future looks like in this arena.” Speaking to the media at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Welsh said CAS summit will also focus on future CAS-oriented munitions, which may again change the way the mission is performed. These could include “a large number of forward-firing, laser-guided rockets … something that fragments a rocket into a thousand bullets, creating the effect of a “thousand-round burst” instead of the limited burst possible from a gun today. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, also at the press conference, said “the body of thought that comes from this summit would help us re-engage with the Congress to say, is there a different way to get there from here, a different approach? Because, believe me, we want to work this out. We’re looking for a way to achieve the goals I think we all share … We have to be ready today and modern for tomorrow.” Welsh said, “It’s a mission, not a platform. We keep saying it, but it’s absolutely true.”