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CSAF calls for more collaboration amid budget pressures

WASHINGTON -- Intense budget pressure, made worse by the failure to pass the fiscal 2011 defense appropriations bill, requires increased joint and total force collaboration across the U.S. military, according to the Air Force chief of staff.

Gen. Norton Schwartz made the comments during remarks at the Reserve Officers Association National Security Symposium Jan. 30 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel here.

During his speech, General Schwartz said Air Force officials are working to trim bureaucracy and overhead, which ideally will result in a two-to-three percent savings to reinvest in warfighting capabilities and requirements.

"Unfortunately, we are experiencing even more intense budgetary pressures as we operate under a continuing resolution that effectively cuts another $23 billion from the defense budget," General Schwartz said. "We'll do our best to utilize operations and maintenance accounts to compensate for the difference, but that means stretching programs and possibly affecting training and readiness, which really concerns me."

As such, the general emphasized the need for greater collaboration across the force.

"We will have to work together, even more cohesively, across the board, from operating around the world, to protecting the homeland, to strategizing investments for our capabilities, both in terms of materiel and personnel," he said.

General Schwartz also stressed the need for continued teamwork in the ongoing development of the Air-Sea Battle construct, which aims to better integrate Navy, Marine and Air Force capabilities.

"The success of Air-Sea Battle will hinge on the ingenuity of all of our talented people from throughout the total force to provide the technical detail and to create viable and operationally meaningful strategies and concepts of operation for the tactical maneuver of air and maritime forces," the general said.

He also praised the ability of U.S. military men and women, regardless of component, to deploy from their home units and quickly integrate with those overseas.

"The reserve component's professionalism and impact on mission accomplishment is really quite remarkable," General Schwartz said.