Wars in multiple theaters and a new fifth-generation fighter coming on line for the Air Force are raising the stakes for logisticians and highlighting a need to streamline and consolidate practices, the commander of Air Force Materiel Command said Monday.
Speaking at the Air Force Association's annual conference near Washington, D.C., Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski said the F-35 in particular cast in relief the importance of collaborating with other agencies and maintaining situational awareness, so the service can move more rapidly than it has in past decades to provide needed support to the force.
"We need to know what are the repair network capabilities and, keeping in mind we're going to have what I truly think is a multinational fighter on steroids when we talk about the F-35, that is going to have sustainment capability all around the world, that we're going to need to be able to understand, be able to tap into, and to be able to use for ourselves," she said.
Pawlikowski said she wanted her command to have a better view of Defense Logistics Agency resources and how to use them. The service, she said, also needs to understand capabilities provided by the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency and how to rapidly use and deploy them in theater.
"We have to be able to present [to the combatant commanders] in the planning phase, in the execution phase, and in the recovery phase, a full-spectrum logistics capability, and we have to be able to command and control it and have the agility to support each one of those customers," she said.
While the Air Force was tasked with supporting Central Command well during more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, she said, combatant commanders in Europe and the Pacific now face global crises that also require resources -- another challenge for logisticians to overcome.
All these challenges, Pawlikowski said, underscore the need to resource Air Force logistics operations.
"When budgets have been tight, we have not made investment that we should have been making when it came to looking at that Big-L [logistics] within the Air Force," she said.