The past two decades of consecutive combat have shown that it’s not always easy to predict the next fight, said retired Gen. Michael Moseley, former Air Force Chief of Staff, Wednesday. In fact, history demonstrates that it can be downright impossible, said Moseley during a speech in Arlington, Va., sponsored by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom. “After World War II, the US has a 100 percent fail rate in predicting where we are going to go and who we are going to fight,” said Moseley, currently the Perot distinguished fellow at the EastWest Institute. He noted that US leaders didn’t anticipate Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, or 12 years of no-fly zones in Iraq. And, they certainly didn’t foresee 9/11 or the 10 years of continuous fighting since, he said. As US forces withdraw from Iraq and transition out of Afghanistan, the Air Force must determine what its future role will be, said Moseley. “Is the organization combat focused? If not, why does it exist?” he asked. “If we can’t contribute to that, then the guys in this room with some limited resources have to be very, very careful.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.