Armor & Mobility

MAY 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Page 18 of 35 Unmanned Tech Solutions | Armor & Mobility | May 2016 | 17 SOF Leadership Roundtable Q&A energy technology with more traditional tactics and weaponry. Having the ability to conduct silent precision strike to disrupt the enemy's equipment and infrastructure without being seen or heard at a great distance is a game changer. Directed energy represents the next step in the evolution of our gunships and precision strike capabilities. It will also create improvements in operational offensive and defensive capabilities simultaneously and will be more cost-effective. Even more importantly, this "clandestine scalpel" supports our efforts to limit enemy activity prior to the "bang" and will put AFSOC in a position to better meet the needs of our joint teammates. Our goal is to field a High Energy Laser on an AC-130 gunship by 2020. A&M: How are you working to address the growing security issues with partners in Afghanistan, NATO, and elsewhere? Lt. Gen. Heithold: While we are focused on new technology, we are simultaneously conducting f leet-wide recapitalization and modernization efforts. Every part of AFSOC is being recapitalized or modernized. The current demand for our capabilities pushes the limits of our aircraft and Air Commandos. To counter this, we must achieve new levels of efficiency with all of our mission partners. Our requirement for 37 AC and 57 MC 130Js will enhance our future capability, but we must ensure we balance our recapitalization with the smart retirement and modernization of legacy aircraft. In addition, we must remain f lexible as funding and technology advancements may change availability and drive future block upgrades. We will also continue to ensure we meet operational demands and sequence upgrades for MC/AC-130 and CV-22 aircraft as our responsibilities increase in Africa, Europe, Middle East, and the Pacific. We will prepare for the future by ensuring we match the right people and capabilities with the best approaches to address our nation's most pressing problems. We will continue to advance our Total Force Initiatives with our Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve partners. We will maintain our laser focus on taking care of the people who accomplish the mission. Providing the right environment for our Airmen and their families to thrive will help to reduce the fatigue associated with our persistent worldwide operations. The resilience of our Air Commandos and families is a critical component of sustaining today's operational and personnel tempo. AFSOC will continue to invest in the initiatives that support our warfighters by enhancing their physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being. A&M: Please speak to the demographic makeup of today's AFSOC personnel force. Lt. Gen. Heithold: We will also continue to implement the DoD plan to ensure gender-neutral standards in all of our specialties. Special operations require diverse backgrounds and experience to be combat effective and to help address the security challenges ahead of us. We will provide the same opportunities for anyone able to meet our standards. Individuals who prove they have the physical, intellectual, and character attributes critical to special operations will be accepted in the SOF ranks. Diversity in AFSOC provides access, insight and perspective we simply can't get with a homogenous force. America's Air Commandos owe the very best to our nation and our joint teammates, and we will deliver…Anytime…Anyplace. MARSOC Major General Joseph L. Osterman Commander Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) A&M: After a year and a half as MARSOC's commanding general, how do you view the command's growth and evolution since its founding in 2006? Maj. Gen. Osterman: As the MARSOC Commander, I can certainly say MARSOC has grown into a mature Special Operations Forces (SOF) organization over the last ten years and we are on a sustainable operational path. MARSOC continues to innovate and AFSOC's Special Tactics Airmen are the Air Force's ground special operations force, and provide USSOCOM's crucial integration between air and ground operations for mission success on the battlefeld and during humanitarian crises. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

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