September 20 (WNN) — In his first public speech on Monday, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the branch was looking to unity in its ranks as well as facing China, adding that the service needed to retire older aircraft and programs. – and focus on the ones that actually work.
The US Air Force said that Kendall made the remarks during the Air Force Association Airspace and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, MD, as a “blueprint” for the Air and Space Forces, Congress and others to address national security challenges . a press release.
During the speech, in front of several thousand active-duty personnel, congressional staff and others in the defense industry, Kendall said “time is short” to address these security challenges.
“While America is still the dominant military power on the planet today, we are being challenged militarily more effectively than at any other time in our history,” he said.
Kendall clarified that the most pressing of those challenges was China in her speech.
“So what do I intend now that I have this job?” he asked rhetorically. “At a breakfast on Capitol Hill shortly after I was sworn in, Sen. John Tester asked me what my priorities were. My answer was that I had three; China, China and China.”
“In total, Kendall mentioned China 27 times in the speech, while Russia and Afghanistan were mentioned three times,” the Air Force said in the press release.
A West Point graduate with more than 50 years of service as an Army officer, and a former top Defense Department official in the Obama administration, who was tapped for the position in April, and was sworn in a few months earlier, he also focused on unity.
Kendall said that his organizing principle is found in four words: “one team, one fight.”
He said it was important to follow a “one team” approach, pointing out that recent history shows this has had otherwise disastrous consequences.
“The fall of Afghanistan is a lesson for the Taliban that we as Americans, and we as airmen and protectors, should not miss,” Kendall said.
The air force chief said historians and policy analysts would spend years understanding why the Afghan government fell so quickly after 20 years of US and allied support and training, one thing “painfully clear.”
“The Afghan government and military were not ‘a team’ engaged in ‘one fight’. Even when faced with an existential threat to their independence, they could not overcome their internal divisions and form a common unite against the enemy. As a direct result, the people of Afghanistan have lost their independence,” Kendall said.
Kendall also said that the Air and Space Forces need to address internal problems such as diversity, sexual assault and harassment.
He noted a “significant disparity” between underrepresented groups and members of a “white male majority” and pledged to work on it.
“A notable perception gap is between the majority who generally think that things are basically fine, and everyone else where there is a strong belief that all is not well… my intention is to actively address each of these issues.” has to be addressed,” Kendall said.
Kendall, in his speech also addressed Congress, said that with limited funding and China’s growing challenge, spending adjustments should be made – such as retiring older, older aircraft – to free up funds for next-generation aircraft and others. Do new equipment.
“The Air Force should be allowed to have a mix of aircraft, systems and capabilities that maximize its ability to perform any mission, anywhere, anytime,” he said. “The service cannot afford to carry older and less capable equipment.”
“If we insist on maintaining every legacy system we have, we will not be successful against a well-resourced and strategic adversary,” he said in the speech. “One of our teams cannot win their battle without the resources we need to stop China or Russia and the willingness to balance risk today to avoid too much risk in the future.”