Since becoming US Air Force chief of staff in July 2008, Gen Norton Schwartz has presided over the cancellation of the F-22 and the Next Generation Bomber, the retirement of hundreds of tactical fighters, the revitalization of the nuclear enterprise, a politicized process to select a tanker supplier and a surge of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to Afghanistan. Schwartz's tenure may be remembered in history as a pivotal period in airpower, or perhaps an aberrant blip from convention.
The talk around Washington DC suggests Schwartz will soon depart his current post for a higher-profile role on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps as a dress rehearsal, Schwartz will stage a rare appearance for a service chief of staff on Tuesday at the "Newsmaker Luncheon" hosted by the National Press Club. It will be an opportunity for ourselves in the press to gauge Schwartz's legacy as chief of the world's largest air force. And, yes, I expect there to be at least a few questions about the tanker contract.