The “pacing threat” from China, coming at the same time as profound financial austerity within the Pentagon, played a big role in the Air Force and Navy establishing the new AirSea Battle concept, said Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, Thursday. After concluding his speech at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., an audience member asked Carlisle why it has taken so long for the two services to pursue this sort of collaboration. Carlisle responded that there had previously been no real incentive for them since the end of the Cold War to align their plans and methods so closely. But in forging AirSea Battle, Carlisle said the services have gotten truly intimate. Indeed, a group of officers from each branch has been cleared to see “all the black programs,” or classified projects, of the other to look for duplicative efforts, he said. Carlisle said the USAF Chief of Staff and Chief of Naval Operations “are very close” to signing a document that will make “round one” of AirSea Battle initiatives binding. The release of a public document explaining the concept in detail will occur “possibly within two weeks,” he told the Daily Report after his speech.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.