ARLINGTON, Va. --- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson outlined the way the Air Force will approach its future force structure while speaking at the Defense News annual conference in Arlington, Sept. 5.
“Today we have 312 operational squadrons,” Wilson said. “But how many do we need to implement the National Defense Strategy?”
Wilson said the Air Force chose to focus on squadrons because the squadron is the basic unit of the Air Force. More specifically, she said, operational squadrons are the units that generate effects in the battlespace.
“Squadrons are the power of the Air Force,” she added. “They are the guts, and the brains and the clinched fist of American resolve made real with unmatched reach, precision and speed and professionalism.”
Wilson said the Air Force has looked closely at how combatant commanders intend to employ the service’s capabilities, and ran war games and simulations designed to replicate what future scenarios demand of our Airmen.
“We’ve carefully considered how big the Air Force needs to be based on the National Defense Strategy, rather than our annual budget,” Wilson said. “We will announce the “Air Force We Need” at the Air, Space and Cyber Conference this month. The common answer we keep coming back to is that for tomorrow’s Air Force to be more lethal, we must grow.”