Defense Writers Group interviews General Carlisle 7/29/2013

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Elite 5K

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Unread post15 Aug 2013, 18:14

Below are excerpts of a Defense Writers Group (DWG) interview with General Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle
Commander, Pacific Air Forces that occurred on July 29th, 2013.

Below are the parts as they relate to the F-35.

DWG: Our guest this morning is General Herbert J. Carlisle, known by almost everybody as Hawk. Sir, thank you once again. The General is the Commander of Pacific Air Forces out of Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.


DWG: Also I’d just ask about — I know we can talk about F-35 at Eielson. Do you have some thoughts on that? Talk about where that is right now?

General Carlisle: Sure. We’re in the process now of doing the strategic basing to determine where the F-35 — The Secretary of the Air Force has said the first overseas F-35s will, and that is the 2 nd Ops Squadron, is going to be in the Pacific, which is what I think is the right decision as you might imagine. I think it points to the rebalance to the Pacific.

We are in the process of determining what base that would go to. Obviously we have nine bases, U.S. bases in the Pacific. Some of them are suitable, some of them aren’t. We’ll down-select to probably four sometime this fall. Then we’ll, sometime probably after the turn of the year we’ll pick the preferred plan and then a reasonable alternative.

Eielson fares very well, mostly because of the training space, the range. JPARC is an outstanding range. The infrastructure is already there and available, so the MilCon to build is lower. And it’s part of the Pacific in that it can get to Northeast Asia rapidly and it also has the ability, obviously, to travel in the rest of the Asia Pacific area.

The challenge obviously with Alaska is location. For some places, for the Koreans and the Japanese it’s very easy to get there and participate and for us to go the other direction. South and West is a little bit more of a challenge. Then of course the winters.

But I think, my belief is, I haven’t seen the final tally, but I think Eielson will come out as one of the three or four alternatives and I think it will do very well in the decision. I think there’s a lot to putting them, the potential to put them in Alaska, but the decision hasn’t been made.

DWG: What are some of the other [inaudible]?

General Carlisle: Realistically, it’s pretty limited. If you look at all nine bases in the Pacific, we’re not going to put them in Hawaii. We have F-22s there. We won’t put them in Elmendorf because we have two squadrons of F-22s there. Andersen is really not optimum. There’s not a lot of airspace and there’s a lot of other PSP and the Marines are going in there. So that kind of leaves, and we won’t put them in Yokota because that’s where the C-130s are. That really leaves four bases — Misawa, Kadena, Osan and Kunsan. I think Kadena doesn’t have air-to-ground range space, and Misawa doesn’t have air-to-ground range space. It’s a little bit limited in Korea. One of the reasons Eielson looks good is those other four have limitations in range and on peninsula in the case of the Korean Peninsula.

Reasonably, we haven’t made the decision, we haven’t down-selected, but I would say that Eielson, Misawa, Kadena, and maybe Osan would be the four. That would be my guess. Then we would down-select from those four to a preferred alternative.

DWG: I have a couple of follow-up questions, but one to the broader theme. On the follow-up on the F-35, and also on Global Hawk. Some of these weapon systems. To what extent do you think that foreign arms sales have become an increasingly important part of your strategy given the constrained resources, given the challenges, given the dimensions on the range, particularly in the region?

Then to quickly follow up on the question about the satellites. You mentioned cyber [inaudible]. Has your thinking changed after — there’s been a shift since last fall, I think it was October, where [inaudible] that really shifted people’s way of thinking about that. Would you say there’s a discernible move, kind of toward — has this been a more layered approach? Is it a significant shifting of resources as well?

General Carlisle: Your first question, I think you’re spot on with respect to allies and partners, and our arms sales to trusted friends and partners and allies. As I mentioned earlier, the capacity to do what we need to do and have an interoperable system with our partners, F-35 in Japan in Australia and Singapore, that will pay tremendous dividends. We notice it today with F-16s, F-15s, and the interoperability there. Global Hawks, there are a couple of nations, Japan and I think Korea has given some thought to it. So definitely, I believe that that’s part of the engagement, that’s part of building those relationships with our partners so that we build capacity through initial support. And if you think about it today, the only defense budgets in the world that are climbing are in Asia. Japan’s higher than it was before. Korea’s is going up. So I definitely think that’s part of it. That’s one of the reasons that one of the main tenets of our strategy is to expand that engagement and interoperability and integration with not only our sister services but our friends and partners’ militaries. So interoperable with the Koreans and Japanese and Indians and Australians is —

DWG: Can I ask a follow-up on that question? Specifically, to that end, do you have a strong feeling about Korea’s fighter competition which has been — [Laughter]. Then you also mentioned Singapore. We reported and heard that they are, they’re part of the F-35 program already, but that there was some movement to kind of complete an inertial sale. Can you give us an update on —

General Carlisle: I talked to their CDF [Chief of Defense Force], Chee Meng. I was just in Singapore. Singapore’s decided to buy the B model, the VSTOL variant to begin with. But I don’t know where they’re at in putting it into their budget. I know that’s a decision that’s been made and that’s why they’re part of the program, but I don’t know where they’re at in putting that in the budget.

Korea is, the fact of the matter is all the competitors came in and didn’t meet the target that the Korean government was looking for. All of them were over, of all the different nations. So Korea had to make a decision of either finding a way to pay a higher amount or lowering the number of airplanes they were going to buy to get within their target that was given to them. That decision hasn’t been made. As a matter of fact, the weekend I get back, the Korean Air Chief’s going to be in Hawaii and I’m hosting him, so we’ll probably have more on this discussion.

But I think they have not decided between lowering the numbers, finding more money, or slipping it to the right. I think that slipping the idea to the right is problematic because they see they have a gap and I think they want to fill the gap for some aging airplanes. And if they ended up slipping the program, they would probably have to, ultimately it would cost them more because they’d have to take money and put some back into the current fleet so it would delay retirement of some of their older airplanes.

DWG: I think they decided something about August as —

General Carlisle: I wouldn’t hold my breath. I think they’re struggling a little bit with making that decision. I’ll give you a better update here in about a week, but I think they will.

DWG: General, I’ll just ask an F-35 question. Simple, but big picture. The services announced the IOC dates not long ago and I wanted to see your thoughts as sort of the front line operator, what are your thoughts on the possibility of going to war with F-35A and 2016 Block 2B?

General Carlisle: I’d take it to war in a heartbeat. It’s a great airplane. It doesn’t have all the capabilities, but it would work in conjunction with 4 th generation, modernized 4 th generation aircraft, and it would be an exponential increase in capability.

DWG: Would it serve as the lead fighter in an F-22, F-35 scenario? Or as the sort of support to the F-22?

General Carlisle: It would kind of depend on what the scenario was. It depends on what you’re doing. If you’re trying to gain and maintain air superiority then, then F-22 would be the lead. If you’re trying to potentially take out a target on the ground, potentially the F-35 would be. But even the 2B capabilities are pretty impressive.

DWG: Any concern about not waiting until the 3F, more refined capability?

General Carlisle: No. I think — you mean to declare IOC?

DWG: Yes.

General Carlisle: No. I think the fear is that if we don’t delay — if we declare IOC before 3F, then the potential as budgets get tighter and things get tighter, then we maybe lose the ability to get to 3F. So it’s a little bit of paranoia which doesn’t mean they’re not after you. The real driver in delaying IOC was to make sure we get to that capability. But I think there’s a commitment to get there anyway. I think 2B is a great airplane. I think 3F is going to be a fantastic airplane. And I think we’ll continue to work, once we get IOC in 2B then we’ll work to that 3F. I’m confident that we’ll get there. Again, I’m a glass is half full kind of guy.
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Unread post15 Aug 2013, 20:26

Great stuff - thanks 'SWP'. I wonder how that 'F-35B for Singapore' meme will travel?
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Unread post15 Aug 2013, 22:28

Here's hoping for Eielson, so we can stick that in Canadian media's pipe and have them smoke it. Eielson is much further north than either Cold Lake or Bagotville. "Can't operate F-35s in the Canadian Arctic" my a$$.

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