UPDATED: Video From Schwartz Press Conference
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told the defense industry today it must consider its long term relationships with the Air Force and U.S. military as the service faces flat or declining budgets for the next few years.
"This is a time of enormous challenge and it calls for unity," Schwartz told the Air Force Association's annual conference. Asked later to expand on his comments, the chief said that he was appealing to "the best instincts of all involved."
Another way to achieve efficiencies and improve the Air Force's return to the country, Schwartz said, would to further its work with the Navy on the air-sea concept. Looking far ahead, Schwartz said the service must integrate concepts of operation and acquisition efforts with the Navy and build a "permanent, well-developed partnership" that does not depend on any one set of leaders to maintain it and expand it.
I asked the general how far all this might lead, and he said he didn't know. He was careful to say neither service would be going away. At the same time, he said the Navy and Air Force are deploying their "most thoughtful people on it and we'll see where it goes."