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September 18, 2018 | International, Aerospace

Air Force calls for 74 more squadrons to prepare for possibility of war against major power


How will the Air Force get to 386 squadrons?

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Monday called for growing the Air Force from its current size of 312 operational squadrons to 386 by 2030, as it prepares for a possible conflict against a major nation such as China or Russia.

This 24 percent increase in squadrons is the centerpiece of the service’s “Air Force We Need”proposal, which has been in the works for six months. This proposal seeks to lay out what it would take for the Air Force to fight a peer adversary and win, as well as defend the homeland, provide a credible nuclear deterrent, counter a medium-sized rogue nation that might try to take advantage of the Air Force’s focus on the major adversary, and fight violent extremists such as the Taliban and the Islamic State.

This follows the National Defense Strategy that the Pentagon unveiled earlier this year, which is structured around the need to shift away from the violent extremist fight and instead focus on deterring or fighting nations with significant, well-developed militaries.

In her keynote address at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space, Cyber Conference, Wilson referenced the massive Russian military exercises launched last week, involving more than 300,000 of their troops, and China’s unveiling of its first aircraft carrier and its ongoing militarization of islands in the South China Sea to extend its long-range bombers' reach.

“We must see the world as it is,” Wilson said. “That was why the National Defense Strategy explicitly recognizes that we have returned to an era of great power competition.”

But Wilson reiterated the service’s view that the Air Force is not big enough to carry out all the missions currently being asked of it.

The Air Force has to meet the threats facing the nation with its most basic unit: the squadron, Wilson said.

“Our operational squadrons are the combat power of the Air Force," Wilson said. "They are the clenched fist of American resolve.”

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    November 23, 2020 | International, Aerospace

    Unmanned systems, anti-drone tech featured at South Korean arms expo

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    September 5, 2019 | International, C4ISR

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