Speak Militarily, Speak Consistently

The Air Staff’s consistent, targeted, planning message is paying dividends in budgetary support for key programs like F-35, KC-46, and the future Long-Range Strike Bomber, said service chief Gen. Mark Welsh. “We have changed the way we make decisions on the Air Staff,” he said speaking at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force event, April 2. Air Force leaders have communicated “a consistent plan” over the past few years that doesn’t change just “because we couldn’t get something through the Hill” or past Pentagon leadership, he added. Welsh said he and his staff have intentionally made recommendations “based on the best military advice” and have not diluted the service’s case with “political considerations.” The service hasn’t always gotten what it wants, but the consistent message has improved “our ability to get resources that are available for priority programs,” Welsh noted. “If something’s the right answer one year, from a military perspective, it’s probably the right answer the next,” he said. “We’ve got to stick with it, it’s got to be realistic, [and] it’s got to be bounded by resource projections” to be able to build a force to meet threats and goals 20 years into the future.