The Army Makes USAF’s Case

The Air Force probably won’t cut any of its strategic lift fleet, thanks to a plea from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno to maintain the capability, Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said Monday. Speaking at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast in Arlington, VA., Fanning said the Army urged senior Air Force leaders to preserve strategic airlift during a top-level budget discussion. Odierno said, “‘as you cut ground forces, the inclination is to proportionately cut mobility.’ He said, ‘I need you to do the opposite. If I have fewer soldiers, and I’ve got to move them around with more agility, I need more Air Force lift.’” In the meeting, Fanning reported, he and USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh looked at each other and decided they didn’t need to expand on Odierno’s arguments. Fanning said the services don’t always agree on priorities but are “working very collaboratively right now,” under fiscal limits that compel them to recognize other service contributions and interdependencies.