Allvin stresses need to modernize, transform Air Force during Senate confirmation hearing

  • Published
  • By Charles Pope
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Gen. David W. Allvin told a Senate committee Tuesday that, if confirmed as the next Air Force Chief of Staff, he will press hard to follow through on modernizing and reshaping the service to meet current and emerging threats, conceding that the effort will require tough choices.

“The opportunity to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff comes at a very important time in history and I fully appreciate, and embrace, the weight of what is at stake,” Allvin told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing.

“The balance of risk over time to ensure sufficient readiness today and tomorrow demands constant attention. If confirmed, I pledge continued collaboration with this body as the Air Force analyzes and develops courses of action to best pursue our national security objectives,” said Allvin, who, if confirmed would succeed Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. as the Air Force’s highest ranking military officer.

In the course of the hearing, Allvin praised Brown, saying, “It has been an honor to be his wingman.” He also alluded to Brown’s separate and still pending nomination to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “I look forward to continued service alongside him as a member of the Joint Chiefs,” he said.

Allvin’s appearance before the Committee marked a notable - but natural - step in his journey from his current position as Air Force Vice Chief of Staff to Chief of Staff.

In a polite and mostly cordial session, he answered questions ranging from the analysis used to decide which platforms to retire, to how best to maintain a robust industrial base and the status of the KC-46 tanker. Allvin also addressed questions on the risks if Congress fails to pass a full budget, development of the LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile, and protection of cyber systems, among others.

“General, you are extremely well qualified to serve as Chief of Staff of the Air Force,” Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said. “If confirmed, you will lead at a momentous time. Air power is key to our strategic competition with China and other adversaries.”

Allvin told the committee he is aware of the stakes and complexity that come with the job.

“Our nation is coming to grips with the rapid pace of change that is upon us, and with those intending to act out against our national interests while aggressively seeking the means to do so. America’s national security focus is crucial as we navigate this new global landscape with our Allies and partners, especially as opportunities for distraction and confusion are increasingly exploited,” he said.

In addition to the dynamic geo-security environment Allvin will confront if he is confirmed, he also must navigate an unprecedented circumstance closer to home - a senator’s blockade on all military confirmations that has been in place for six months.

Responding to a question about the stalled nominations, Allvin said there is “anecdotal” evidence that the Senate’s refusal to confirm more than 300 general officers and flag officers is having a negative impact on recruiting and retention.

No matter when he becomes Chief of Staff, should he be confirmed, Allvin has a deep and accomplished record as an Air Force officer with 37 years of experience in a wide variety of important and demanding roles.

A 1986 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Allvin is a command pilot with more than 4,600 flight hours in over 30 aircraft, including 800 test flight hours and 100 flight hours in combat.

He has commanded at the squadron and wing levels, which included serving as the commander for the 97th Air Mobility Wing and 618th Air and Space Operations Center. He also held major command staff assignments and served in several Joint Staff positions, including as commanding general for the NATO Air Training Command - Afghanistan and NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and commander for the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Allvin has served as the director for Strategy and Policy for Headquarters U.S. European Command and vice director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy at the Joint Staff. More recently, prior to his current assignment as Air Force vice chief of staff, he was the director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy, Joint Staff.