PACAF’s Priorities

As the United States shifts its strategic focus from Southwest Asia to the Asia-Pacific, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, said he’s placing emphasis on enhancing the military-to-military engagement of his airmen with regional partners and on improving the capability of his forces and their integration with the other services’ assets there. Speaking on Sept. 19 during AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Carlisle said the United States currently participates in more than 40 multilateral and bilateral exercises in the region. With the Pacific pivot, the plan is to continuously rotate airmen in from stateside units for training and engagement, he said. As for enhanced integration, Carlisle said US Pacific Command is working hard to take the fledgling AirSea Battle concept and translate it into operational use. This could include integrated air and missile defense or joint activities with the Navy’s 7th Fleet, said Carlisle. He also noted that the Air Force intends to base a significant portion of its fifth generation aircraft in the Pacific. Service leaders have not determined if the KC-46A tanker will be permanently stationed in the region, or operate there on a rotational basis as the bomber force does.