The fact that Operation Inherent Resolve has not been led by an airman even though it is mostly an air war does not mean an airman could not do the job, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said. The Army has taken the role because the construct of the Army corps meant an “easy fix,” though Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Tuesday he was looking to make better prepared numbered air force commanders to lead a task force, such as Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. Defense Secretary Ash Carter picked the leaders for OIR because they were the most qualified at the time, but the fact that they were Army generals does not mean an airman would not be ready the next time the slot opens, said Dunford at ASC16. Dunford said could “name names” of airmen who are qualified.
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.