First, we owe it to the taxpayer to always search for ways to become more efficient so we can preserve more front-end war-fighting capability for every dollar. This is the first place we looked in the Strategic Choices and Management Review. And, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for us to lean this business out or we will not have the means to protect the interests that I mentioned above.
And we're going to need a lot of help. We will need help from
And while everyone here would agree that our magnificent men and women in uniform deserve more than the average bear, we simply cannot sustain our recent growth trajectory in pay and benefits and expect to preserve a properly sized, trained and equipped force. And I'm very grateful to organizations such as AFA, who have the courageous leadership to step up and support us in this area, as you have done this year. Thank you for that.
We'll also need help - additional help from you and your fellow institutions. We have to support Acting Secretary Fanning and
The second way that is imperative is the fact that the world is constantly changing on an accelerated schedule - changes in the way battles and wars are fought because of new tactics and technologies, changes in the types of conflicts most likely to be fought, and even changes in the ways societies look at conflict.
One of my favorite thoughts comes from a book called "Surfing the Edge of Chaos," and it's very simple: "Equilibrium is the precursor to death." We have to look ahead and make sure that we're not stuck in the equilibrium of the past and that we are preparing for the next fight, not the current or the last fight, or we will become irrelevant, or worse.
This is where the
As you might expect, the
However, our airmen have owned these unchallenged skies for a very long time, and if we're not careful, lengthy periods of success will breed complacency and the curse of equilibrium. When the next big fight comes - and history suggests that it will - I think that contest will be a different fight, a much different fight, one that's faster and harder and dependent on capabilities brought to bear by American airmen. Indeed, the entire battle space - land, sea and air - could very well be a much more hostile environment than we've ever seen.
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