Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s representative to the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, said the QDR should force the Air Force to do some soul searching on how it prosecutes its core missions, regardless of the resolution of budget matters in the sequestration debate. “Adaptation is the foundation to survival,” Kwast told attendees of AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 22. The “tapestry of capability” that the Air Force currently fields is “unsustainable” in the long-term strategic environment, he said. “I see creative approaches we have not yet embraced,” said Kwast. For example, service officials should divorce the idea of global vigilance from the assumption that a platform or aircraft solution is needed, he said. Further, new technology could enable new approaches to global reach and getting items delivered faster and more affordable than before, he said. This QDR, added Kwast, is a great opportunity for the service if it can grapple honestly with all of these issues and concepts.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.