"I want to know what’s good about Army aviation and what can be improved so we can meet the demands of the commanders and soldiers in the field," the chief of the Army Aviation Branch and the commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Ala., said.
Addressing the Association of the United States Army’s Aviation Symposium and Exposition Jan. 14, Brig. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, added, "Nothing is more important than how we train and sustain the flow of highly qualified aviation professionals to rapidly meet the demands of commanders worldwide and expertly employ the full-spectrum capabilities aviation bring to the Army and the joint force."
Crutchfield, who previously served as the director, Joint Center for Operational Analysis – Lessons Learned, U.S. Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, Va., said as the aviation branch chief, "We must look beyond Afghanistan and Iraq and develop the correct aviation force."
Adding, "We must look forward – the time is now."
Looking to the future and the role Army aviation will play in future conflicts in an unsure world, Crutchfield said, "Our [aviation] branch has to lay out what it needs and it must be done now."
Stating that "our aim point" is 2030, he said, "We may not get it all right, but we must not get it all wrong."
He cited a series of what he termed "aviation imperatives" that are necessary to meet his goals. These "musts" include:
Work as a team
Be rapid and responsive
Keep the "cost culture" in mind
Develop the correct aviation force
Professionally develop the aviation force
Enhance the strong relationships that exist with local, regional and national communities
Eliminate the current aviation training backlog
Significantly reduce aviation accidents
"It’s all about the future," Crutchfield said. "We must have a healthy aviation branch, postured for full-spectrum operations in defense of our nation and our national interests."