ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS)
The leader of Air Force operations in Europe and Africa spoke on the importance of global precision attack in his region during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium Feb. 26.
In charge of a force in Europe that’s 75 percent smaller since the Cold War ended in 1989, said Gen. Frank Gorenc, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa commander, it’s critical to use all resources and innovation available to get the mission done.
“I absolutely love our vision statement: World’s greatest Air Force, powered by Airmen, fueled by innovation. I know we have resource problems, but the bottom line is it doesn’t alleviate us of the requirement to be the world’s greatest Air Force,” Gorenc said. “It clearly puts the burden on our Airmen to continue to fuel what has been complete success since 1947, I love that.
“Then fueled by innovation, I tell my Airmen, you tell me how to do it faster, better, and cheaper and I will facilitate that move.”
Global precision attack (GPA), the commander said, has changed the DNA and nobody doubts the ability of our Air Force to deliver.
“What took one bomb to destroy a target in Desert Storm took 30 bombs in Vietnam and it took 9,000 bombs in World War II,” Gorenc said. “We have made bad weather irrelevant and we continue to turn night into day allowing us to put any target at risk, anytime, anywhere, in any weather.”
Although GPA may be leading the Air Force to fight different, Gorenc warned it has become a double-edged sword, adding that paying attention to GPA in the future is critical.
“(GPA) is creating manpower pressures across the entire total force,” he said. “It established an impossible standard of perfection. I think the future is one of those where were looking for zero-casualty war. We want to be aspirational and try to get zero-casualty war, but that’s going to be very difficult to do.”
Gorenc said geography, location, resources and population are elements of national power and it affects the way countries think.
“Change is inevitable and that change directly affects our coalition partners and our allies in the way they think,” he said. “Change is inevitable, change happens. We’re going to have to adapt to it and we’re going to have to adjust our strategy to do it.”
Even with GPA capabilities, nature can disrupt operations in an instant.
“Earthquakes, Ebola, it’s all out there just when you think things are going good, nature hands us a card and we’re off to the races,” Gorenc said. “(Then) the enemy has a vote, and in the end if they don’t like the way things are going, they don’t have to act the way we want to act, they just do what they do and we have to react to it and we have to remember that.”
Gorenc listed a number of things he views as the future of GPA: continuing near zero-miss attacks, expect an ever changing and complex environment, merge non-kinetic/kinetics within the multi-domain environment, choose “airpower” words more carefully, and be unwavering in the advocacy for GPA and airpower.
“I am an American Airman, I am driven by the idea that we can win from the air. Is that going to be possible ever? Probably not, but I am still driven by it,” Gorenc said. “Because in the end, the application of combat power from the air saves lives and helps us achieve strategic end-states in a much more effective way.”
In closing, Gorenc said he doesn’t know what the future will bring but he knows the Air Force will play a vital role.
“When the time comes to respond after diplomacy, information and economic elements of power don’t necessarily work and we commit to the military, they are going to come to the United States Air Force and our coalition and our alliances to help provide the air part of the military power,” he said. “So the future is bright and if we accelerate our efforts in a multi-domain area, with precision in mind, I think we are going to do great.”