Frank Kendall: US Air Force Must Reorient to Out-Pace China

Although U.S. military and government leaders are closely monitoring and learning from the evolving situation between Russia and Ukraine, the key priority for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force is still China.

During a fireside chat hosted by the Air Force Association, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall explained that China has identified the “high value targets” — things like aircraft carriers, satellites, logistics centers and command and control nodes — that the U.S. depends upon to project power.

“They have built a large arsenal of conventional precision munitions … to attack those assets. … They’re doing that to intimidate us and make it difficult for us to project power,” said Kendall, a previous Wash100 award recipient, of China’s strategy. 

“We have to reorient ourselves and develop a sense of urgency about out-thinking, out-spending, out-smarting a very capable adversary,” he continued.

Hear from Frank Kendall in person during the Potomac Officers Club’s 2022 Air Force Summit at the Tysons Ritz-Carlton on July 26. Seats are filling quickly — click here to register today.

Secretary Kendall’s comments are reflected in the Air Force’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, which shows a major shift of resources towards the future China fight.

On the FY23 budget request, Kendall commented, “We are meeting the needs of combatant commanders today and we are making reasonable investments for our future.” But he warned that the fiscal year 2024 budget will “require some hard choices.”

GovCon Expert Jim McAleese offered an in-depth analysis of the Air Force and Space Force FY23 budget requests during an exclusive video interview with Executive Mosaic — watch here.

Going forward, as the Department of the Air Force prepares for the future and works to retain its competitive advantage, Secretary Kendall emphasized the importance of not only speed, but accuracy as well. “We need to move fast but in the right direction,” he urged.

Kendall expressed support for the progress being made in areas such as JADC2 and the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System, but he noted that the Air Force must still work quickly to close capability gaps and accelerate the modernization of outdated and legacy systems and equipment.

Learn more about how the Air Force is preparing to face China during the Potomac Officers Club’s 2022 Air Force Summit at the Tysons Ritz-Carlton on July 26. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions to and hear insights from top Air Force leaders. Register here.

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