Right at the Ragged Edge

The Air Force is able to meet “all” of the requirements of the combatant commanders in Southwest Asia today, but stands “at the ragged edge” of being able to do so for much-in-demand capability like personnel recovery and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance, said Gen. Philip Breedlove, vice chief of staff, Tuesday. “As we continue to be challenged by new tasks around North Africa and other places, we are right at the limit of supporting [US Central Command] in those low-density, high-demand assets,” Breedlove told the House Armed Service Committee’s readiness panel. Once outside of CENTCOM’s area of responsibility, which spans the Middle East and Central Asia, the Air Force faces “some risk” in meeting combatant commanders’ requirements in those same areas—PR and ISR—since those capabilities “are being pretty much consumed by the CENTCOM fight,” he said. That includes some risk in the Pacific, confirmed Breedlove, when asked. (Breedlove prepared testimony)