Air Combat Command and the larger Air Force are taking steps to hasten the bureaucratic process attending development of new programs, ACC chief Gen. Mike Holmes said. Speaking at an AFA Langley Chapter symposium at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., Holmes said the need to streamline is obvious. For example, “We have to … rapidly build cyber requirements in a world where it changes every 20 minutes,” he said. At the Air Staff level, he noted, the service has moved in the last few months to a “virtual” process of approving major command requirements and sending them on to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, reducing “face to face time.” That’s happening through a new body called the Capability Development Council, he said. It aims to “help make decisions and prioritize when a technology is ready to turn into a weapon system, … when we’re ready to spend money building a program of record and move research from Air Force Research Laboratory into an acquisition program of record.” He said this new body is about six months old. “It’s getting some legs, but the vice chief of staff chairs it, so it has some authority, and if he makes a decision, people have to move out and execute it.” Another initiative he called the Air Force Warfighter Integration Center, which will combine analysts, planners, and requirements specialists to “make sure we are prioritizing and coordinating the right efforts.” It gets away from a process “of taking 12 core functions that start with their bogey from last year, spend the money within that bogey, and then come back and argue about shifting one or two percent between them.” The new organization will be “on top of that.” Though Holmes said he’s “not sure where, … or what, that will be but the Air Staff is working hard on it. I’ll get a brief on their progress this week … It’s something we need to do.”
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.