March 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force may soon cooperate on developing new capabilities to strengthen the ground force's air defenses.
The Army announced it is considering partnering with the Air Force just weeks after publishing an outline on future combat operations with the U.S. Marine Corps. According to the white paper, Russia and China are actively enhancing their own integrated defense systems, underlining a need for the U.S. to do the same.
Army officials say new air defenses are needed to free up air space for friendly aircraft to help infantry units to mobilize more easily.
"We would work on the air defense and the Air Force would be able to come in and conduct the missions that they need to conduct," Maj. Gen. Bo Dyess told an audience during the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium. "It's a symbiotic relationship and we all need to work together to achieve the mission."
Dyess went on to stress the urgency behind developing stronger air defenses, saying capability gaps could prove disastrous for the branch in the event of a major future conflict.
"We don't want to be surprised on the future battlefield," Dyess added. "If we're surprised on the future battlefield, that means Soldiers, Marines, Airmen are going to be killed. In order to not be surprised, we have to question the assumptions that we have."
Army leaders plan on meeting with industry partners to discuss current capability gaps in August.