U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video

Ongoing Engagement of the U.S. Airforce in the Global War on Terror


General T. Michael Mosely on U.S. engagement on the Global War on Terror, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
New York Foreign Press Center Briefing
New York, NY
February 21, 2007



General T. Michael Mosely at New York Foreign Press Center 3:30 P.M. EST


MODERATOR: I'd like to introduce the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force, GEN T. Michael Moseley.

Among other things, GEN Moseley will be addressing today that the Air Force has been engaged for some time and will continue for the foreseeable future to be engaged in the global war on terror. GEN Moseley's priority also focuses on ensuring that the Air Force stays a strategic U.S. capability, to include recapitalization efforts and his role in taking care of airmen of the U.S. Air Force.

We have joining us today also journalists from the Foreign Press Center from Washington.

The General will make remarks this afternoon, after which we will take questions from here and in Washington. When you do make your statements, thank you in advance for stating your name and your press affiliation.

So, GEN Moseley, please. Thank you for joining us today.

GEN MOSELEY: Yes, sir. Thank you for the opportunity to do this. I don't get out of Washington much, and so I had a chance to come to New York, and I asked our PA folks if it would be possible to meet with a number of folks, and so what an opportunity.

So I appreciate the chance, and I know you all are busy. I know everybody has got a lot of things going on. But thanks for the chance to share a few thoughts with you, and I'm interested in what you have to say.

Those are priorities. You guys have got some handouts there, which hopefully help to paint a picture about some of things that we're worrying about, but the strategic setting that I look at every day is an interesting challenge, not just in the Arabian Gulf because the Air Force has been there for 16 years in combat.

If you look at from Desert Shield and Desert Storm, 1990, 1991, the Air Force deployed into Saudi Arabia in August of 1990 and we have not left. We spent Desert Shield, Desert Storm, which was 16 years ago last month. We spent 12 years in no-fly zones alongside some coalition partners. We did not Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Mogadishu, Afghanistan, and now in Iraq, solid for 16 years of combat and combat engagements.

We're doing that on some aging equipment. Since 1989 and 1990, the American Air Force is about 40 -- little over 40 percent smaller than it was in 1989, with about 40 or so percent less people. Our airplanes are the oldest that we have operated in the history of the Air Force.

And so the notion of being out there in a strategic setting with our coalition partners, we have been in combat for 16 straight years, and we are operating basically the same aircraft that we did in the 1990, 1991 time frame. But the ops tempo that we're sustaining on the airplanes is about the same that we had then except that we're doing it with about 1,300 less airplanes, and they're older.

So with this uncertain strategic setting, with the world that we look at every day collectively, together, with the ability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief on a global scale, with the ability to deter and dissuade and ability to fight terrorism on a global scale, my priorities are to be able to conduct that fight as agile and as quick and as lethal as I possibly can, but also to take care of the great people that wear the uniform and to make sure the quality of life is right and to make sure the families are taken care of and the educational opportunities are taken care of, and we recruit and retain the right people -- all of the things you would expect a service chief to say.

And then the third priority for me is to recapitalize the inventory and to be able to get at the more efficient and the more effective systems that are out there. And you all know we've got -- our programs that we've submitted in this year's President's Budget include F-22s and C-130Js, but the five priorities outside the F-22 and the C-130Js are the new tanker, the combat rescue helicopter, our space systems, which are broken down into four different worlds of surveillance, weather, comm and navigation, the joint strike fighter and a new long-range strike platform or a new bomber.

So those are the three things when I wake up in the morning that I worry about -- are we set right to fight a long war on terrorism while we deter and dissuade, while we do the things that the American Air Force has to do because effectively we're the air force of last resort for almost anything that goes on in the world. If it's an earthquake or a mudslide or a typhoon, we're the air force that can get an emergency medical hospital on scene within hours. We're an Air Force that can sustain that. We're an Air Force that can move food and supplies, food, portable water, those are the sorts of things that I want to make sure we can still do, and take care of the people, and recapitalize.

So that's what I would like to start with. Those are the things that are on my plate every morning. Let me open this up to you all. I look forward to you all's questions or comments, and I look forward to how you see some things. I mean I'd like to use this conversation for me to get some situational awareness on how you guys see things.

You're certainly living in the world of awareness and you know what's going on -- that you're job. You're out there observing; you're out there reporting, so I'm interested in what you have to say.

So I guess, do I get to pick? Okay. Good. Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I was wondering, in respect to the tanker request if you get any pressure from Congress to award the contract to Boeing?

GEN MOSELEY: No. In fact, we would resist that because we want a fair and open competition. We want to be able to compete the designs and be able to get the most effective airplane at the most efficient cost and be able to look at this over the long term because you just don't buy the airplane, you buy a life-cycle cost of the airplane because that will last for decades.

Let's use the KC-135 as an example. When GEN Curt Lemay was the Chief of Staff of the Air Force in the 1960s is when the Air Force took delivery of the KC-135, which is a Boeing 707 airplane with military capability. He bought those airplanes at a rate of close to 100 a year.

We have now close to 500 tankers. The oldest of those is a November 1957 airplane. The oldest of the KC-135s was delivered to the Air Force in the Spring of 1957. We don't have that one anymore, but we do have one that we delivered in the fall of 1957. And so these are 44-and-a-half to 45-year-old average age airplanes.

So this tanker that you refer to is a huge, huge operational imperative for the United States Air Force. Everything that the American military does on a global scale - whether it's surveillance or mobility or strike, the single-point failure for that is the jet tanker. So we know this airplane we will keep for a long time. We know this airplane will have to be maintained and operated for a long time, so the life-cycle cost has to be as low as we can get it with the most capable airplane we can get. And the way to get at that is through competition.

And so the combination of the Northrop Grumman airplane with Airbus and the Boeing airplane, I think, is the right way to do this. And so we've got the request for proposal out. We'll look for source selection sometime later in the summer and then look to begin to produce the airplane later ‘07 or ‘08, and we will look at a variety of buys on this thing.

We have about 500 of them, 59 KC-10s and the rest KC-135s of various types. So as we look at buying this thing, we will buy them in blocks of 180 to 200, so there will be a continual set of opportunities for both companies to compete, which I think is a great thing. I think competition is a good thing.

So I don't know. Does that answer your question?

QUESTION: Is there a possibility that you might split the contract?

GEN MOSELEY: The first buy will be of a certain type, but as you look at -- we operate a mixed fleet of these tankers right now. We have some C-130 tankers. WE have KC-135Es, about 114 of them. We have 59 KC-10s, which is a DC-10 derivative. And the rest of those are KC-135Rs. So we operate a mixed fleet now.

I think, down the road, you'll see us go to a mixed fleet of the new tanker as well because there is some utility in having an airplane like the KC-10, which is very big. There is some utility in having an airplane like the 707, which is smaller. So I think you'll see this develop over time to look at a mixed fleet of potential mixed designs.

But that question we haven't asked yet. The first priority is to get the contract on this first buy and then begin to conduct some analysis on what would be next. That's a good question, and we haven't asked that one yet.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: As you know, GEN -- and now with the F-22 coming out, is there a risk that the F-35 will be second rate?

GEN MOSELEY: Oh, no. No, no. Great question. The F-35 is important to us, and we have 1,763 of those in our program. That's three times what the Department of the Navy will buy.

When you look at the F-16 international program, use that as a template or a model. The NATO -- a lot of NATO countries fly the F-16 with us. When you look at what some countries have just recently purchased -- Poland has just recently purchased two squadrons of F-16s. Oman operates F-16s. UAE operates F-16. Bahrain operates F-16s. Other countries in South America operate F-16s.

So the international partnership, air force to air force, is very critical for us. In Afghanistan, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands have operated their F-16s alongside U.S. Air Force.

When NATO exercises, we train together. We have exchange pilots in each of our air forces. And so look at the F-35 as the follow on to an international program like the F-16. The F-35A, which is the Air Force version, will become the gold standard of the fifth generation international sales on fighters.

When you look out at the global market -- I'm not a business guy; I'm a fighter pilot -- but when you look at the global market, there are about 4,500 or 5,000 fighters out there of legacy type, F4s, F-16s, F18s, A7s, Russian airplanes of a variety of types, and so if countries want to be a part of the original band of designers and buyers of the F-35, it will be the F-35A that they look at because they will want to fly the same airplanes that the strategic partners fly.

And so I think this the opening door to building, selling and operating in a very, very interoperable manner the fifth generation fighter. And the F-35, the one has flown now at Fort Worth. It's flown seven times. It's being worked on a little bit. We'll start flying it again, I believe, in March, and then we can get on with the test program and get on with major production and deliveries.

And so that's a great question, but take it to this international strategic partnering level, and take it to the international level that we had with the F-16. So our pilots can grow up together; our pilots can operate together. They can operate in combat together. We can exchange a variety of maintenance and intel and pilots, and so you use this as a way to ensure that we're all interoperable as we go into the fifth generation on these new systems.

That's a great question. It's going to be a good airplane.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: About what you're saying, just this whoever don't participate in the Joint Strike Fighting Program -- will this affect the future of the relationship between U.S. and allies?

GEN MOSELEY: You never completely tie the relationship with an ally on a piece of hardware because you're really dealing government to government and people to people, but from an air chief to the Norwegian air chief, it makes it a whole lot easier if we're operating the same equipment, like in the F-16.

And so the F-16 is a wonderful fourth generation airplane, very, very capable; it's served us all very, very well. We remember in the early days the F-16 program was only going to build 800 or 900 airplanes. I think we're already up close to 5,000 airplanes that have been co-produced in a variety of places.

So the opportunity to operate the F-35A like we have the F-16 is very attractive, and it offers so many opportunities to partner and to exchange and to learn and for lieutenants and captains to grow up together. A lot of your pilots are trained in Texas at Shepherd Air Force Base in the European NATO Jet Pilot Training Program. So when they come to Texas and fly with lieutenants from the American Air Force, when they grow up to be majors and lieutenant colonels, they've known each other for 20 years and they're operating the same equipment.

QUESTION: What do you think about the other fighters?

GEN MOSELEY: They're good airplanes, the Griffin, the Raphael, the Euro Fighter, those are good airplanes, but they're not of the same class as the F-35.

The F-35 is truly a fifth generation capability with stealth, with maneuverability, with its electronic censors. It is a low observable, penetrating survivable airplane with the munitions carried internal so there's less of a radar cross section.

None of the other airplanes carry all of the munitions internally, so the radar cross section on tanks and pie-lines* and missiles and bombs is huge. And so when you talk about fourth generation or four-and-a-half generation, these are good airplanes; they're solid airplanes. The Raphael is a beautiful airplane. The Griffin is a beautiful airplane, but they're like the F-16.

To get beyond that, you need to get into the world of low observable stealth, speed, maneuverability, internal carriage, which makes the airplane much more effective and much more survivable.

MODERATOR: Excuse me, General, Washington has a question. If we could, alternate.

GEN MOSELEY: Sure.

MODERATOR: Go ahead Foreign Press Center Washington. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you. Philippe Gelie with the French daily Le Figaro. With the airbase in Qatar and in combination with the Navy, the two aircraft carriers now in the Gulf, is the U.S. deployment technically sufficient to launch asteroids on Iran should the President give the order? Thank you.

GEN MOSELEY: Well, let me first say I'm not sure I agree with the premise of your question that there is a notion of launching air strikes on Iran. We're still conducting operations in Afghanistan and operations -- we're operating in Afghanistan alongside French forces and operating in Iraq alongside coalition forces. And so the movement of additional assets into the Arabian Gulf region makes operations in Afghanistan as we lead up to the spring and continued operations with our surge into Iraq to be parallel and to offer us the capability to conduct those operations.

I don't know that I agree with you that the premise of the extra carrier or the base in Qatar is to prepare for strikes against Iran. I'm not sure I would agree with you with that.

QUESTION: Well, it's primarily for -- it's not a premise. I'm just asking a technical question. If you get the order, is the deployment sufficient at this point or not?

GEN MOSELEY: I don't want to -- I wouldn't want to speculate on whether there's an order or not or whether it's sufficient or not because I'm not sure that there's a valid premise there that there is anything in motion to strike Iran.

Remember we'll still looking at operations, serious operations in Afghanistan with ISAF there and the ability to have an additional air wing to be able to conduct business with ISAF alongside all of our NATO partners in Afghanistan is a serious requirement and we take that serious.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Yes, my name is Olli Herrala and I come from Helsinki, Finland. I'd like to ask some budget numbers, like any budget numbers in billions or how about the costs of these F-22 and F25 programs. How expensive are these programs and how much money are we talking about on a yearly basis?

GEN MOSELEY: Okay. Let me start from the top. The Defense Department budget is at about 3.8 percent or so of GDP, which is the lowest percentage of GDP since around World War II. So as a total percentage of gross domestic product, we're living way inside numbers that were roughly before World War II.

The F-22 right now, we're writing a check for a little over $130 million each for the airplanes. The notion that the airplane costs $500 million is just not true. The operational testing evaluation business and the developmental test business, and the total procurement development costs are behind us. And so each of the airplanes now are costing about a little over $130 million each.

If you went back right now and asked Boeing to build an F15 -- last time I asked, if we bought one F15 from Boeing it would cost $180 million, but that's buying them one at a time. You could get the cost down if you bought more of them.

But the cost of the F-22 right now is less than the cost of the legacy airplanes that we would have to go back and buy. And remember all of the developmental costs on the F-22 is behind us. And we have the airplane in squadron strength right now in two squadrons, the 94th squadron and 27th squadron at Langley. We've just taken delivery of airplane number 83 or 85, something like that.

So this is not a test airplane that's living out at Edwards. This is an operational airplane. And in fact, we've deployed the airplane. We have 12 of them right now deployed on Okinawa at Kadina* Air Base operating in the western Pacific. We flew them from Virginia to Hawaii and from Hawaii to Okinawa. So the airplanes have deployed twice, once up to Alaska for Northern Edge* last spring, and now they're deployed into the Pacific on Okinawa.

The joint strike fighter, we've only got the one, so the cost of that first one is pretty high. I think it's a couple hundred million dollars. But as you get into the production line on these, just the Air Force airplanes alone, the costs will come down, our projections will come down to somewhere around $65 million to $70 million each.

Now you think, boy, that sticker shock is pretty severe, $70 million for a small fighter, but remember if you go buy the F15E* right now, that's $180 million. The joint strike fighter and the F-22, the technology that they bring to this equation of low observable stealth, of speed, of maneuverability are far in excess to those fourth generation airplanes.

I flew the F15 for 30-plus years, and so I know that airplane inside and out. It's getting old. The average age on those airplanes is about 24 years, same on the F-16. So when you look at the cost, I think there's a different question to ask. It is how much do they cost relative to any of the other option, and are any of the other options as lethal and as survivable in today's world.

And this is not about just fighting other airplanes. That's one of the myths about the F-22, that it is a Cold War era airplane. There is nothing Cold War era today about the new surfaced air missile systems, about the new early warning radars and target tracking radars and of the newer fighters that are out there in the global market.

And so if you want to be able to conduct air operations and to be able to dominate the airspace, to provide air dominance against these new surfaced air missiles and these new fighters and these new radars, you cannot do that in a fourth generation system. So you have to ask yourself, what is the mission, what is the objective.

And remember in today's world also, you don't do anything on the surface, whether it's Army or Navy or Marines or Special Ops, unless you control air and space. You have to first control the air medium or else the targets -- the people on the surface are targets.

And I'll offer to you an observation. The last time an American soldier was killed by an attack from the air was April 1953. So the American Air Force takes this partnership with the American Army pretty serious. The last time a soldier was killed was April 1953; that tells me we've got a pretty solid partnership on being able to control the air over which the Army operates.

So if you want to continue to do that in the modern world of very fast computing systems, very lethal systems, you have to be able to operate in this fifth generation capability, which takes you to the F-22 and the F-35.

So until you get the production run stabilized on the F-35, it's going to be a pretty expensive airplane, but then it gets to $65 million or $70 million a piece.

I don't know. Does that answer your question? That's a complicated question. You get into, is it today's dollars, normalized dollars, inflationary normalized dollars? But at the end of the day, we're writing the check for a little over $130 million for the F-22, and when we get the F-35 into production it will drive down to somewhere around $70 million.

MODERATOR: Washington FPC, if you'd like to ask a question, please state your name and your affiliation. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Talha Gibriel from the newspaper Asharq Al -Awsat. My question to the General is, some helicopters have been shot down recently in Iraq; from your point of view, does this indicate that armed groups in Iraq have received -- weapons to do that? Thank you.

GEN MOSELEY: Sure. That's a great question. I was in Iraq last week. I was in Afghanistan last week, and I was in Iraq last week, and I had a chance to talk to some of our pilots that are operating out there.

I'll give you my impression. No, it is not an indication that there are advanced systems. It is an indication that we are operating more and more and more in the air and we are operating more and more and more around foreign operating bases and around areas that, if you were a gunner or if you were an insurgent, that you have more opportunities to fire at helicopters.

And so part of this is just the normal war fighting piece because, remember, in war fighting, your opponent gets to shoot back. And sometimes they are very good gunners, and sometimes they can actually hit you when they shoot back. That's the nature of fighting.

But I would offer to you this is not necessarily an indication of new systems or advanced systems. This is just an indication of we're flying more into the areas where you are more vulnerable. The challenge is to vary the schedules and to vary the altitudes and to vary the routes so that you don't become predictable.

I mean that's a normal operational fighter pilot response, and that's exactly what folks are doing flying the helicopters now is beginning to look at varying approaches and varying altitudes to get out of the weapons envelopes for potential gunners in potential areas around the foreign operating bases.

So I don't know if I've answered your question.

QUESTION: That's okay. Thank you.

GEN MOSELEY: Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Sandra McGee with Kyodo News. I wanted to ask you -- at Kadena Air Force Base. As far as I know, there -- deployed on foreign soil, but there are many concerns -- U.S. military presence. How would you respond to those -- what was going on?

GEN MOSELEY: Good question. I spent four years living at Kadena. My children were young and enjoyed every minute living on Okinawa. It was a great assignment. And for four years I've lived with my friends in the JASDF. And I've had about half of my career focused on the western pacific and northeast Asia. I would say this is not an indication of expansion because remember, over the next three or four or five years, the preponderance of the Marines will come off the island, the preponderance of Marine aviation will come off the island.

We're in the process of moving Marine aviation off Fatuma* because that's been a perennial challenge with noise and with a couple of unfortunate incidents. Kadina is a big main operating base. Naha was a big main operating base. And remember we, in the ‘70s moved our airplanes off of Naha onto Kadena, and the JASDF, I believe, are looking for ways to reduce their footprint at Naha, and perhaps co-base their fighters also at Kadina.

The F-22 deployment is going to demonstrate the global reach of the United States Air Force and also to demonstrate the absolute partnership that we have with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. And to be able to operate alongside the Japanese Air Self Defense Force and to be able to deploy the airplane into a region that makes sense for us with deterrence and dissuasion as the primary objective, plus to be able to deploy the airplane to a main operating base in an allied country that we have such good relationships with.

Remember we deployed them first into Alaska -- in the Northern Edge. The JASDF has also deployed into Alaska multiple times for (inaudible) Thunder and now Red Flag. We don't do a lot of exercises in northeast Asia without some partnership with the JASDF and the U.S. Air Force, so what better place to deploy the airplanes for the first time into the host nation that we treasure this relationship so much -- and to be able to partner with the JASDF.

I don't know. Does that answer your question?

MODERATOR: Washington Foreign Press Center, please state your name and affiliation. Thank you.

QUESTION: General, Jim Wolf, Reuters. You made the point that current U.S. national defense spending is about 3.8 or 3.9 percent of GDP, the lowest since World War II. How much do you project the Air Force will need beyond the fiscal year ‘08 request in future years to meet this mission, given the proliferation of double-digit* surfaced air missiles and new fighters?

GEN MOSELEY: Great question. We submitted the President's budget -- to prepare for this President's budget, I think you've heard us say this several times, we spent 2.2 million man hours developing the Air Force piece of the palm, which then became the President's budget.

We've looked at a variety of opportunities, and remember we have reduced our in-strength by 40,000 people to be able to protect the investment accounts, to be able to move into the priorities of the tanker, the combat rescue helicopter, our space systems, the joint strike fighter and the next generation long-range strike, also to protect our T6, our F-22, and our C-130J.

And so as you look at that -- plus the supplementals have been very helpful in helping us with the operation maintenance accounts to be able to maintain this level of effort and with our depo accounts and with some of our other challenges that are outside of the normal baseline budget. We've submitted now supplementals for 07 and the GWAT that are about $11.7 billion and $17 billion, plus an unfunded priority list that I think is about $17 billion. We can get you those numbers.

But that is, again, to get on with fighting a long war on terrorism, resetting, fixing the equipment that needs to be fixed, but also looking at continuing to protect the investment accounts and the recapitalization, because that is the primary concern relative to the existing force structure we've got.

With an average age of 24-and-a-half years or 25 years, it is costing us more in costs per flying hour, maintenance per flying hour, break rates, our readiness, and our trend-lines are all down because the aircraft are getting so old and it's costing so much to maintain them. And so we're spending a lot of money maintaining older aircraft when we could be spending money on recapitalization and modernization.

And you know, we're also limited by Congressional language from retirement of some of the old aircraft, KC-135E, C-130E, U2, F117, B-52 and C5s. That makes up close to 15 percent of our inventory that we would like Congress to lift the restriction so we could manage that inventory and be able to look at those portfolios of mobility ISR and strike and look at recapitalization.

So to do all of that, we've done some rough numbers out beyond ‘08. Beyond this President's budget and beyond these supplementals, we think that may add up to about $20 billion a year that we're short. When you look at the investment accounts, that's only exacerbated by the rising fuel cost because for every $10 a barrel of jet fuel over our budgeted amount, that costs us $616 million a year for every $10 over the budgeted amount of a barrel of jet fuel.

So you look out there on inflation rates, exchange rates and fuel and to protect the recapitalization and to get a deliveries that give you those economic order quantities, that may be as much as $20 billion a year out there that we may be having to ask for.

So I hope that wraps up that answer for you.

QUESTION: Yes, that's helpful. And over how many years would you anticipate having to seek an additional $20 billion? Is that as far out as 20 years?

GEN MOSELEY: No, I don't know that. That's a second order question.

If you look, we've got about 6,100 aircraft in the Air Force. We're buying -- this year in ‘08, we had 112 aircraft in the President's budget, but the preponderance of those are unmanned vehicles and trainers. So if you average out about 100 aircraft a year over 6,000, then you can see the immediate challenge we've got relative to the new equipment and the new technologies.

Somehow we've got to get at the cost curves on these aircraft. The question about the F-35 is a good one. If you can get the cost down to $65 million or $70 million each and you can get the procurement back up closer to 80 to 100 airplanes, then you bring the unit cost down on that airplane for everybody, for the Marines, for the Navy, for the international partners. But unless you can get that cost curve, then you're going to continue to be spending more and more money on fewer and fewer airplanes.

That's going to be the challenge down the road, and our numbers are taken as to something around $20 billion at least out through the FIDEP to get at these cost curves.

QUESTION: In 2013, is that what you mean?

GEN MOSELEY: Yes, well, beginning in ‘08, but again, we haven't submitted this because we just got the President's budget over on the Hill. And now we will have to wait to see what the marks are, to see where the bill is, to see where we come back to. But beyond this, it's looking like it could be $20 billion a year through the FIDEP. But I don't know that yet, we're still working that.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Turkish Television, Kahraman Haliscelik.

GEN MOSELEY: Another Joint Strike Fighter partner.

QUESTION: Yes.

GEN MOSELEY: And another F-16 partner.

QUESTION: True. And also in ISAF, also we are using Incirlik but it's not for operational purposes. How hard do you think is it for you to not to be able to use Incirlik for operational purposes in Iraq? How hard is it making your job?

GEN MOSELEY: Well, we did not have Incirlik during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which means -- but we did have overflight, and we were able to conduct business out of the Eastern Mediterranean over the southern part of your country into northern Iraq.

It would have been much easier to have Incirlik, to be honest. It would have made things quicker. It would have made things much easier for me because at the time I was the air commander in Central Command. Incirlik is a key installation for us, not only because of strategic partnering in a NATO relationship, but also remember, we have a NATO headquarters in Izmir. Our 16th Air Force lives at Izmir, which is also a NATO air component headquarters. And so our historic relationship with the Air Force and those bases is very important to us. To be able to operate out of Incirlik in and out of Iraq or in and out of Central Command's AOR makes things much easier and much more effective.

QUESTION: In today's senses, would your war in Iraq against terror would be more successful if you could use Incirlik for operational purposes?

GEN MOSELEY: Well, that's hard to answer because remember, we have two main -- three main operating bases inside Iraq now - temporary - at Balad, at Al-Asad and down at Al-Nasiriyah, which is Ali*. So we have -- and then we have an operation -- a cargo or mobility operation at Baghdad International Airport, but the main operating bases, we are operating inside of Iraq.

Incirlik is important to be able to stage over and through for tankers, for mobility and to be able to move people much quicker and much more effectively out back into the NATO arena, back to Ramstein or back into Spain and Moron. So I wouldn't say that we have to have Incirlik to conduct operations in Iraq; I would say we are honored to be able to operate off of Incirlik with our NATO partners because it makes all operations easier and it maintains that strategic partnership that we all value so much, same with Izmir.

QUESTION: So, sorry for going on, for the last four or five years up through the war, how was your relationship with the Turkish army? I mean we don't really see what's happening on the technical levels. We see the governments, but --

GEN MOSELEY: You ask a fascinating question. You ask about the Turkish army. I deal with the Turkish Air Force.

QUESTION: No, I mean -- air force is part of Turkish army.

GEN MOSELEY: I see. You really mean the Turkish military.

QUESTION: Yes.

GEN MOSELEY: That was a slip about the Turkish army.

I really value the relationship with the Turkish Air Force. We have spent again, like in Norway, like in Denmark or like in any of the NATO countries, we have spent a lot of time together in NATO exercises and NATO command and control business. We have based our families in each other's countries. It's a valued and trusted relationship.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: This coroner who's investigating the death of a British soldier in this friendly fire incident in Iraq wants to the U.S. pilots who were involved to go over and give evidence in the U.K. I was just wondering if you had an opinion on whether they should or shouldn't do that?

GEN MOSELEY: I leave that up to the lawyers and leave that up to the relations between London and Washington.

QUESTION: What about -- I mean there's been suggestions that these pilots perhaps weren't trained enough or did not have the experience?

GEN MOSELEY: No, I don't buy that.

QUESTION: You don't buy it?

GEN MOSELEY: I don't buy that. We don't send people into combat that aren't trained. Experience is a relative term. A Lieutenant has less experience than a Major but the Lieutenant is trained to the same standard.


In war fighting business, nothing is certain and nothing is clean, and so friendly fire business or blue-on-blue is something you try in every way to avoid. You try to avoid that with rules of engagement and special instructions. You try to avoid that with command and control. You try to avoid that with training and with practice. But when war fighting is real and bullets are real and things are really happening, sometimes bad things happen to good people.

And so I won't make any value judgments on any of that. You know, let's let the two governments work that, and the coroner. You know, a coroner's request, I suspect, in the British legal system, to ask for an international player to be asked to come back to the U.K. will probably have to go through your Ministry of Defense or your Foreign Ministry before anything can be done. I don't know that a coroner writes a letter to the U.S. government and asks for particular things.

QUESTION: The British government are now talking to the Americans in the U.K. trying to --

GEN MOSELEY: That's fine -- I'm not in that decision loop, nor will I be asked for an opinion. I just leave that up to the relations of the government officials between London and Washington.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Prakash Swamy, Industrial Economist - India. India and U.S. share a strategic military partnership. Recently…an older version of the F-16 was displayed. What is the current trend in the Air Force with these two countries in joint exercise, and could it ** in India and also in Pakistan **?

GEN MOSELEY: First off, I value the relationship with your air chief. He's a wonderful man, and I understand next month he changes over with the new air chief. In fact, I've invited he and his wife to visit Washington. They came and we spent about a week. He's invited me to come to his capital and visit, and I was looking forward to doing that last month, but I've been kept in Washington with hearings, and so I haven't been able to get out. And I missed the air show, which was perhaps my last chance to visit him while he's the air chief.

So there have been lots of discussions about new systems, about replacements for Indian fighters and cargo airplanes. There's been discussions about C-130Js. There's been discussions about F18s or F-16s, been discussions about Russian airplanes. And I understand that your military bureaucracy is churning and we may be, somewhere along the way, asked for more information or more detailed briefings on systems, and so we're ready to do that when the government of India is ready to do that.

We have begun to exercise more frequently. We've had two major exercises over the last three years inside India. We've invited the Indian Air Force to participate at Red Flag both in Nevada and in Alaska. We've looked at a variety of ways to exchange. We had an Indian officer flying inside our Air Force. We had American pilots flying inside the Indian Air Force as well as attending each other's schools.

I've offered to take an Indian officer as an instructor at the War College, the Command and Staff College. He's agreed to do that, and we're working through the details. I think that would be a real treat to have an Indian senior officer teaching at our War College. And so the equipping and hardware part, I think, is playing out inside your bureaucracy. So I'm waiting for a request -- my government is waiting for a request to ask me what I think so we can get on with that.

Pakistan is a different issue. We have arrangements with Pakistan. We are producing F-16s now for Pakistan. Pakistan is looking for some other opportunities, but right now we have a variety of F-16s headed for Pakistan. Pakistan has operated F-16s for a long time. We have operated with Pakistan, as you know, in those squadrons for a long time, and we look forward to being able to continue to partner with them also.

They have a little bit different challenge than your country does with what's going on on their western boundary and the terrorism that goes on there. And so anything that helps stabilize the region and everything that helps stabilize and get at terrorist or counter-terrorist activity I think is a good thing for all of us.

MODERATOR: We have time for one more question.

GEN MOSELEY: Okay. Sir. We may slip another one or two in there.

QUESTION: -- Turkish newspaper, **. I had two questions. First, you mentioned about dealing with **. Does it hinder your operation in any level on preparation in Afghanistan and Iraq; how so? Second question, do you feel like you need a break from 16 years continuous duty?

GEN MOSELEY: I want to answer the second question first. I don't get a choice whether we get a break or not, so we'll continue to do what we're asked to do and do that in a coalition setting alongside of ISAF and NATO partners, as well as alongside Japanese and Korean partners. In fact, when I was in the region the other day I saw the Japanese C-130s and the Korean activities there also.

The older equipment though does begin to hinder activities because they're harder to maintain and they break more frequently. We have a set of our old airplanes that we won't deploy into Central Command's area of responsibility. Some of the older tankers, the KC-135Es, we don't deploy because with the old engines you can't lift the weight and when the temperatures start to get hot outside you have to download fuel, which means it takes about one-and-a-half KC-135Es for every KC-135R. And so if you deploy that many more airplanes, you have to deploy that many more people, that much more maintenance, and so it gets to be expensive.

So it is better to have an airplane that is easier to maintain and more reliable if you're going to conduct combat operations. The F-16s are doing very well. The newer C-130s that we all operate are doing very well. The older C-130s are a challenge. The oldest versions of those, the C-130Es, we have wing cracks and center wing-box cracks, all of us that operate that airplane, so you have to be very careful with those. So older, more fragile equipment causes you much more problems as you deploy into the combat operations. And 16 years is 16 years. If we're asked to go 18 or 19 or 20, the American Air Force will do that.

QUESTION: May I ask a question?

GEN MOSELEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Early this month after a conference --

GEN MOSELEY: I'm sorry. What's your name?

QUESTION: I'm from China, Libin Liu, Xinhua News Agency.

GEN MOSELEY: Oh, good.

QUESTION: Early this month, at the Air Force -- United States Air Force has needed me to meet the military -- China and other countries, including Iraq. So my question is -- China constitutes threat -- some kind of a potential enemy to the United States in the future, and what factors do you think are you incorporating in the strategy of U.S. Air Force, the antiterrorist -- the rising of China?

GEN MOSELEY: Okay. Let me answer your first question first. No, I hope not. We have so many things in common. There are so many things that we are doing economically and culturally. There are so many ways to partner that I hope not.

Finding bad guys is not something that we should be doing. We should be looking for strategic partnering relationships. We should be looking for ways to cooperate because this war on terrorism touches all of us. The attacks have not just been in the United States. The attacks have been in Bali. The attacks have been in Spain. The attacks have been in London. They've been in Karachi. The attacks have been in India. The attacks have been in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

You have some interesting challenges in the Western part of your country with the same sort of activities, and so this war on terrorism or this dealing with transnational criminal activity, policy, human trafficking, narcotics, drugs, this is a global problem for all of us. I am a military guy, but I would be looking for ways to partner, to counter those sorts of transnational criminal activities.

And remember, the weapons of mass destruction or the weapons that are out there right now that can harm cities are not just necessarily in the hands on nation states. And so the technology is growing at an exponential rate. The lethality of the weapons that a few years ago only used to live inside nation states with the discipline of the nation state now live potentially outside that.

So how can big countries and little countries partner, share intelligence, share techniques, share tactics, share policy decisions? How can we do that together in a world that's becoming extremely lethal? When you have potentially the capability to lose Shanghai in one weapon or London or Jacksonville, Florida, or Los Angeles, now you've got a different ball game, and those types of activities aren't necessarily under the control of nation states.

So I would not be looking for bad guys, I would be looking for ways to partner. I would be looking for ways to minimize uncertainty and to minimize miscalculations. I would be looking for ways to do that as opposed for ways to find potential competitors.

So I don't know if I've answered your question.

QUESTION: So I mean, at this time, currently speaking, the United States Air Force is paying much more attention in formulating a strategy in terms of antiterrorism -- rising China?

GEN MOSELEY: We have -- I wouldn't say rising China. I would say we are dealing in an antiterrorism world, but we're also dealing in a very uncertain global context. My job is to provide global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. My job is to provide global mobility. My job is to provide global strike. And so it's not just about China. It is about an uncertain global setting.

But the bigger question is how do we partner together better, how do we share information better to fight something that you could potentially lose a city in an afternoon, not a subway attack or not an airliner into a building. I was in the Pentagon when it got hit that day, so this is personal for me, and I've lost a lot friends in this business.

And so we're not talking about one airplane into one building. We're talking about the loss of a city. Think about how you felt after 9/11. Now think about how you would feel after the loss of Los Angeles and what can we do now to preclude that in a global partnership. To me, that's the bigger challenge.

How about one more? Yes, sir.

QUESTION: General, I'm with the Russian news agency Novosti and my question is about the air base in Kurdistan.

GEN MOSELEY: We stood that base up 16 December 2001; 16 or 18 inches of snow and ice.

QUESTION: How did you like it?

GEN MOSELEY: It's a beautiful place.

QUESTION: My question is, from time to time, there are mixed signals from the government of Kyrgyzstan about the future of the base. What's your perception of the future of the base and will it be effected in any way by recent redeployments in the Asian region?

GEN MOSELEY: That's a great question. I think that between my government and the government of Kurdistan, there's an understanding that this is about terrorism and this is about being able to provide tankers and cargo connectivity in and out of Afghanistan. At times, your country -- at times, some officials in your country talk about -- this is about Russia. This is about terrorism, and this is about Afghanistan, and this is about the ability to get at al Qaeda and the Taliban in South Asia.

Your country and my country have so many things in common in so many ways that we could partner in the same way that I'm talking about here about global terrorism and about being able to share information and tactics and techniques to be able to do this. NAS in Bishkik is a key place for us to be able to get in and out of Afghanistan and to be able to conduct operations in Northern Afghanistan.

Don't forget, when we began to stand that base up on 16 December 2001, the deputy commander was a French Air Force officer. So the Americans and the French partnered on that base from the very beginning. And in 72 or 73 days, I can't remember which, we began to deliver ordinance out of that base against targets in Afghanistan off of French fighters. So this is not just the U.S. This is a coalition opportunity, and up there right now is a coalition setting.

Is it a permanent base? No, I wouldn't see it as a permanent base. I wouldn't see any of these bases that we've got in Afghanistan or Iraq as permanent. You know that's very rare. Our desire would be to finish the working in the end and then to redeploy back into NATO or back into opportunities to exercise in exchange.

We're spending a lot of time working with your Air Force on opportunities to exchange both in the Far East with Far East operations in Alaska, to be able to share information and to be able to share -- search and rescue information, weather information, all the things that airmen worry about. We spend a lot of time transporting back and forth from Alaska into the eastern part of your country.

On the Europe side, our commander at Ramstein has spent a lot of time in your country doing some things. He's actually flown a lot of your airplanes as a guest of your air force. So I would answer the same way. There's so many things that we can do together to get at global terrorism and transnational criminal activities. To me, those seem to be the things that we could partner best on.

QUESTION: What about the taking part in this redeployment? Will it be affected by the bigger deployment in the Asian region?

GEN MOSELEY: The redeployment of U.S. forces?

QUESTION: Yes.

GEN MOSELEY: You mean out of Okinawa?

QUESTION: Yes.

GEN MOSELEY: No, I think you'll still have air activities on Okinawa. You'll still have air activities unless something changes at Misawa and at Yokota, because remember those bases are mostly focused on defense of the peninsula and the Republic of Korea.

And your entry into the four-party talks, now six-party talks is very useful because anything that happens now catastrophic on the peninsula certainly involves Russia, Japan, as well as China, South Korea, and the United States.

And so that -- I was a negotiator on the four-party talks. And one of my continued recommendations -- you know, as an Air Force guy you sometimes don't get listened to, but one of my continuing recommendations is this really should be six-party talks. This really should be in concert and partnership with Russia and Japan because Moscow and Tokyo have a vested interest in this.

So redeployment out of the region is not necessarily redeployment of air assets out, not as long as there's uncertainty on the peninsula. I don't know. Does that answer your question?

So I can do one more if you want to. Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I just want to follow up on a question with regard to -- my name is Anirudh Bhattacharyya, I'm with Indian Television, CNBC TV 18. I just wanted to confirm that the Indian Air Force will be participating in the 2008 Red Flag exercise in the --

GEN MOSELEY: I don't know what the schedule is. We have issued an invitation. The air chief has accepted. I don't know if it's 2008. I don't know, unless you know something I don't.

QUESTION: And to follow up on that, you also --

GEN MOSELEY: Red Flag Nevada or Red Flag Alaska, because remember now, the ranges in Alaska and the ranges in Nevada are linked. And so Red Flag is now not just Las Vegas. Red Flag is the big ranges up in Alaska also.

QUESTION: To follow up again about the exercises you had with the Indian Air Force in the recent years, you've had some interoperability issues, right? How do you think those can be resolved?

GEN MOSELEY: Well, we operate different equipment. Interoperability gets to the questions about F-35 and it gets to the questions like the international F-16 program. When you look at an air force-to-air force relationship, it's no different than an army-to-an army or a navy-to-a navy. An air force-to-air force relationship is based on the ability to operate similar equipment, and so we're very interested in what your government has to say or think about procurement of new systems.

To go beyond where we are now into something much more interdependent requires similar equipage of aircraft. So whether it's cargo carrying aircraft or whether it's fighters or whether it's trainers, we're looking at that now as a potential set of opportunities depending on what your air force and your government decides to buy. That's the interoperability piece.

If you have different radios, the frequencies you can work, but the radios, if they are completely different, then you really have to work that as a challenge. If you have different electronic combat systems, if you have different sets of equipment that you have to operate in a different way because of the characteristics of the flying machine, then that causes you some challenges. It's not insurmountable. You can do it; we do it every day. But it makes it easier if you're operating the same equipment, air force to air force, like in the NATO construct. It just makes it much easier.

QUESTION: Where do you expect this to head? Are you looking at any sort of -- with the Indian Air Force for instance --

GEN MOSELEY: That's up to the Indian Air Force and the Indian government. I would say the exercises, whether they're with our Russian friends or whether they're with NATO or with the United Kingdom or with anyone that we had the opportunity to exercise with, we benefit. We learn something every time.

The two big exercises we've had in your country, we've learned immeasurable things because we haven't -- the American Air Force has not operated in India since World War II, and so we've not had an opportunity for our Captains to know each other. We've not had an opportunity to understand each other's culture, understand each other's rules, understand how to operate together since World War II. And so any of these things, in a multilateral sense, in a coalition sense, are benefits for all of us. And I look forward to more of that whether it's in my country or whether it's in your country.

Okay, sir.

QUESTION: Yes, my name is Jan Kees Emmer, I'm off the Dutch Telegraph newspaper. Our troops in Afghanistan ROVER system, and you are really familiar with that, and I thought maybe you could explain, what's the advantage of it and what will -- how will it help them?

GEN MOSELEY: Okay. The ROVER system is a ground receiver from either our unmanned aerial vehicles or from the pods on a fighter. It is a laptop computer that when you open it up, on the screen you see what the unmanned aerial vehicle or what the fighter sees on his screen.

And so you pipe the imagery down into the rover. And so for a ground party, infantry or special operations, if you want to see around the next building or over the next hill, you actually see it on the rover.

QUESTION: And are the Dutch the only international partner who use it or are there more?

GEN MOSELEY: The British. We've been very, very open about partnering with our coalition partners with this. You pipe it from a predator UAV it has a direct feed into the rover, and so you can see what the predator is seeing or on the fighters with the lightning and sniper pods, you can see what the fighter sees. And so you have a direct communication for either close air support or just for imaging of a scene so you both see the same things. And so it is very, very useful.

QUESTION: And is that then better than compared to 10 years ago when --

GEN MOSELEY: Oh, 10 years ago there was nothing. Ten years ago there was a radio that you talked about on the other side of the building or over the ridge line. You had to talk about it and then visualize what you're seeing, and then you would provide close air support or strike off of something that was not an image.

Now with this, you're getting the exact same image off of the pod from the airplane to the ground party or from the unmanned vehicle to the ground party.

QUESTION: So it helps to have less civilian casualty?

GEN MOSELEY: Oh, absolutely. It reduces collateral damage. It reduces fratricide. It reduces uncertainty. It gives all of the players at that scene the same image and the same picture. I mean what a wonderful capability.

It makes it very, very useful, and not just in a command sense, just in being able to see and being able to discuss what you see. Now you can actually lay eyes on the same image there and also back in the command center.

MODERATOR: General, we'd like to thank you for joining us today. And thank you, Washington, for also joining us. And thank all of you for coming today, and for your very interesting questions.

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |  Frequent Questions  |  Contact Us  |  Email this Page  |  Subject Index  |  Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
FOIA  |  Privacy Notice  |  Copyright Information  |  Other U.S. Government Information