The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies invites you to listen to watch and listen to our Aerospace Nation with Gen Kenneth Wilsbach, Commander, Pacific Air Forces and Air Component Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
General Wilsbach discussed the nature of modern adversary threats, cooperation with allies and partners, and how our forces are preparing to overcome operational challenges in this vast and unique theater.
John Grady highlighted some of Wilsbach’s comments in Grady’s piece for USNI News published on 21 March 2023:
Like the Marine Corps and Navy, the Air Force is looking to spread its operations over wider areas under its Agile Combat Employment program. Wilsbach added that Japan and Australia are distributing their forces to different locations to complicate any enemy’s attack planning. The Air Force is also working with the Army on missile and hypersonic defenses for dispersed operations.
“They realize with precision guided munitions you’re not going to be able to be based [on] a very large base when attacked” and continue to operate as before. He said there is funding in the FY 2024 budget to continue developing solutions for those attacks, including rapid runway repair. He mentioned a quick-drying concrete that allows them to be “ready for operations in three hours.”
“Construction, that’s happening. Prepositioning, that’s happening,” Wilsbach said.
“Allies and partners are very interested” in information sharing about their capabilities and available assets. He said they bring significant electronic warfare capabilities and cyber and space strengths to a potential conflict.
This sharing among allies and with the other services extend to exercises like COPE North. This year’s drill involves the American, Japanese and Australian air forces operating from a number of bases, as well as aircraft from France.
“Exercising on a very frequent basis helps us to be interoperable,” he said.