The U.S. Air Force needs to improve its “stand-in” capabilities for envisioned, future conflicts in which adversaries have advanced, anti-air and other anti-access/area-denial systems, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. said on Aug. 29.

Asked at an American Enterprise Institute forum whether the Air Force is ready to be a “stand-in” force in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, Brown replied, “No. We have some work to do, but I also believe we’ve got to be able to have a hybrid force that will be able to do ‘stand-in’ and ‘stand-off.'”

“The aspect of being a ‘stand-in’ force is we have allies and partners,” he said. “We can’t build our strategy on a completely ‘stand-off’ force when we have our allies and partners that are actually standing in day-to-day. We’ve got to stand with them. The other aspect of this is how do we look at our base resiliency. That was one of the operational imperatives that [Air Force] Secretary [Frank] Kendall came in with, how do we do our resilient basing, which includes how we do dispersion; how we do camouflage, concealment, deception; how we do hardening; how do we ensure we continue to generate combat power knowing that the threat is going to be a different threat than we’ve been facing for the past 30 years in the Middle East, in particular. So, we’ve got some work to do.”

On the weapons side, the Air Force is pursuing the Stand-in Attack Weapon under development by competing companies–Lockheed Martin [LMT], Northrop Grumman [NOC] and L3Harris Technologies [LHX] (Defense Daily, Aug. 26).

The Air Force’s next generation of stand-off systems, including the Next Generation Air Dominance family of fighter systems and the Raytheon Technologies [RTX] Long Range Standoff Missile, are not slated to reach the field until 2030, while the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber may reach the field a few years sooner than 2030.