Potential US adversaries “have spent buckets of money” to acquire capabilities to negate the technologies that “make us truly unique,” said Gen. Mike Hostage, head of Air Combat Command, on Wednesday at AFA’s 2013 Air & Space Conference at National Harbor, Md. To counter that, ACC will be changing its training “paradigm” without spending any money, he told audience members during the conference’s Four-Star Forum. He said these adversaries believe that “we’ll turn around and go home” if they can shut down or disrupt US data links, precision navigation and timing, and radars. The truth is, said Hostage, airmen these days do fly with all of that technology, and they “don’t worry” about disruption because it’s always on. Because of that, some skills have atrophied, he said. The shift in training will involve every sortie having some kind of technology disrupted, said Hostage. “I want [airmen] to be absolutely instinctive dealing with some disruption to . . . the magic that they normally have,” he said. He added, “I want my adversary to know that all that magic he’s spent all that money for, is not going to stop us. . . . We’re still coming.”
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.