Gen. Kevin P. Chilton addresses the challenges of 21st century warfare during the 2009 Air Force Association Global Warfare Symposium Nov. 19, 2009, in Los Angeles. Senior leaders addressed such issues as space, cyberspace and deterrence to Airmen, civilians and industry partners. General Chilton is the commander of U.S. Strategic Command. (U.S Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle)
LOS ANGELES (AFNS) -- Air Force senior leaders discussed the service's priorities, capabilities and vision in space, cyberspace and strategic deterrence at the 2009 Air Force Association Global Warfare Symposium here Nov. 19.
Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz and Maj. Gen. Richard E. Webber, respective commanders of U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Global Strike Command and 24th Air Force, each addressed hundreds of symposium attendees: Airmen, civilians, industry partners and other servicemembers stationed in the U.S and abroad.
The topics created an overall composite of the deliberate steps the service is taking to provide worldwide support to the joint warfighter in a 21st century battle space.
Strategic deterrence, situational awareness
Space, cyberspace and deterrence were what General Chilton described as the three main lines of operations in modern warfare. Within these lines of operation, he stressed a focus on international intelligence and situational awareness, modeling and simulation tools to conduct training, system development and exercises and finally, a more robust position to sustain constellation or Global Positioning System programs.
Given today's globally wired society and subsequent range of national and global security threats, General Chilton said his vision for meeting the challenges of 21st century warfighting domains are best met with a change in the culture of networks, more defensive network conduct and an improvement in capabilities.
"We are compelled to improve our situational awareness and develop a clearly understood concept of operations," General Chilton said.
He added that the ability to control and synchronize military operations on a global scale not only complements the way the joint command fights, but changed the way it fights.
"Our strategic, space and cyber assets are part of a tremendous joint force and the men and women behind them add to the success of the command," the general said.
The latest milestone for Air Force Global Strike Command will occur Dec. 1, when it will formally assume command and responsibility for 20th Air Force and its three missile wings at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. , Malmstrom AFB, Mont. , and Minot AFB, S.D. , to include the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. , General Klotz said.
He also offered new insight into the Air Force's roadmap to strengthen its stewardship of more than two-thirds of the nation's strategic nuclear triad -- intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-range bombers and sea-launched ballistic missiles -- and refocus efforts on the nuclear enterprise.
"Both the ICBM and the bomber legs of the nuclear triad remain essential and indispensable components of our nation's armed forces," General Klotz said. "Each makes important and unique contributions to the security of our nation and that of our allies and friends. "
He continued that ICBM force is primed for a $7 billion multiyear program to refurbish or modernize the Minuteman III, as well as acquire an advanced ultra extremely high frequency satellite communications system that will ensure connectivity with national leadership.
"These measures will not only extend the service life of the missile system, but also enhance its maintainability and reduce the cost of ownership," General Klotz said.
Air Force Global Strike Command, in partnership with Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, will fortify security, inspections and upgrades to ensure the sustainment of the Minuteman force to the year 2020, General Klotz added.
As cyberspace continues to be an easily contested and accessible domain, General Webber noted that the shift in cyber culture must include the cyber wingman philosophy that emphasizes guiding principles of situational awareness that Airmen must follow to secure cyberspace.
"Cyberspace isn't a mission, but a place where operations are conducted . . . and it's about assuring the mission, not about assuring the network," General Webber said. "How do you fight your way through an attack so you can support that mission even while you're fighting to keep a network operational in support of that mission?"
The general said plans to sustain mission assurance include a strengthened partnership with U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, Md. , a more prominent Guard and Reserve role and the development of relationships with component numbered air forces.
The general noted that cyberspace is critical to the U.S. military's asymmetric advantage and outlined several distinguishing characteristics of the domain.
"We're in a world in the cyber domain where the price of entry into the cyber battlefield is extremely low," General Webber said. "The pace of change is a challenge, rapid and interestingly, is not pushed by the military, but by the civilian sector.
Each of the speakers seemed confident in the Air Force's ability to meet the challenges of modern mission requirements, citing the service as a dependable joint and coalition partner with an ever-expanding role across the full spectrum of conflict in air, space and cyberspace.