Air Force vet, professor speaks on today's military

By brian hale
Posted 7/4/17

Daily Mountain Eagle

Bill Lewis, a retired Air Force fighter pilot and current professor at the U.S. Air Force Air War College, spoke on the current state of America’s military and the challenge it faces at a recent meeting of the Rotary …

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Air Force vet, professor speaks on today's military

Posted

Daily Mountain Eagle

Bill Lewis, a retired Air Force fighter pilot and current professor at the U.S. Air Force Air War College, spoke on the current state of America’s military and the challenge it faces at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club.

Commissioned after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1988, Lewis was a career fighter pilot with over 3,500 flying hours, including over 2,000 in the F-15 with 250 hours in combat. He commanded the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, was a division chief on the Joint Staff, served as the 48th Fighter Wing vice commander at RAF Lakenheath and completed his career as chief of staff at the Headquarters for the U.S. Air Force in Europe and Africa. He is a graduate of the National War College and the USAF’s School for Advanced Air and Space Studies.

In the summer of 2016, Lewis joined the War College faculty in Montgomery as professor of leadership and joint operations in the Warfighting Department.

Lewis is continually impressed by the men and women who volunteer to serve in America’s armed forces, whose drive and dedication to the preservation of freedom lays a strong foundation for current and future operations.

“The young men and women who join our military represents a strength for the United States unparalleled among any other nation. They join the service for the right reasons — they’re not worried about making money or their 401K — they want to travel the world and serve with distinction. They really are incredible,” Lewis said. “In the Air Force in particular, the personnel is both highly trained and skilled. We pay enlistment, recruitment and retention bonuses to maintain our level of quality that the American people have come to both expect and deserve.”

The strength of the nation’s military — cited by Lewis as arguably the greatest the world has ever seen — comes from the support of the nation as a whole.

“It’s our hometowns, our friends, families, neighbors and communities where our military draws is support. We are the most well-supported and resourced military there has ever been,” Lewis said. “In the fiscal year of 2016, the United States spent $611 billion on our military — that’s greater than the next eight nations, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, England, Germany and Japan, all combined. I think that the American public needs to understand our spending matches to ambitions — we simply can’t do more with less.”

Lewis feels both confident and secure about the future of the military, citing strong leadership within the Department of Defense as a key aspect.

“I have great faith in out current DoD leadership, both in and out of the uniform. I have served with many of them at the highest levels of our government currently and highly capable. They are the most combat-seasoned, highly educated and effective leaders our country has ever seen,” Lewis said. “They’re not perfect — as we see in high-profile cases in the media — but the top people in our government are selected, educated and trained and they are our hope for the future.”

Technology and its constant and ever-changing impact in both civilian and military life figures prominently into the future of the nation’s armed forces. Lewis expects more state-of-the-art advances to be introduced into the operational structure that will more effectiveness in intelligence and combat, thereby saving more lives.

“Eventually, I think we will see swarming unmanned aircraft, missile trucks with payloads that can be used for multiple applications, as well as other cutting-edge technology that we expect to see in the very near future,” Lewis said. “Incorporating these new items into our military planning is critical for us — we’re going to see huge changes on the technological front that will have a positive impact for both ourselves and out allies.”