Defense Secretary Robert Gates has turned the corner, so to speak, and now believes USAF is on the right track in its efforts to quickly field more intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capability. He had complained that Air Force leaders were not turning out unmanned ISR airframes and crews to operate them as quickly as they should. However, last week he told a press gaggle, “We’re pushing a lot into the theater. … It’s not just the air frames, both the Predators and Reapers and the Liberty aircraft, it’s the ground analysis, ground stations, interpreters, intelligence analysts, pilots, and crews for these things, because you still need somebody on the ground. … So we’re moving as fast as we can.” He added: “The Air Force has significantly expanded its capability.” But that’s not all, he continued, “And we intend to keep expanding it.” (Transcript of media opportunity)
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.