WASHINGTON – Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Stephen Wilson emphasized Airmen will continue leading the way in preparing for the future of war and highlighted the importance of speed, connectivity and innovation during the 2018 Future of War Conference April 9, in Washington, D.C.
Wilson said the goal is for the Air Force to be the thought leaders for future conflict to deter, defend and win any future fight. The service is looking for new ways to do business and accelerate the transfer of ideas from the lab bench to the flight line to increase lethality and provide the joint force a technological advantage.
“Industrial-age speed won yesterday’s war. Digital-age speed will win tomorrow’s war,” he said. “It’s going to take all of us working together across academia, across government and across industry – we’re going to have to compete to win. That’s where I think we can come together.”
Wilson noted the general nature of war will not change, but the speed of connectivity will. The Air Force must be able to collect and decipher information and produce dilemmas for our adversaries at a rate they can never keep up with. It is not just speed in decision-making. It is also speed in budgeting, contracting, acquisition, defending the homeland and owning the high ground in air and space.
In short, speed wins, he said.
It is about data – the oil of the 21st century, he added. The intent is to invest in technology and apply it flexibly across all domains, including space.
“Space is essential for any joint warfight,” Wilson said. “How do we acquire space capabilities faster? Our space force today is the envy of the world. And, the United States Air Force is responsible for 90 percent of that.”
Space is a contested domain that provides many capabilities to the nation, including indications and warning, missiles, communications, GPS and more – it must be defended, Wilson said.
The service is building a defendable architecture to maintain the U.S. advantage in space. Air Force leaders are training space operators and working to speed up the acquisition process for building capabilities, partnering with industry, enabling milestone decision authorities and other transaction authorities, all to advance space capabilities faster.
Mission success starts and ends with people, he continued.
“We start with really good people,” Wilson said. “We then make sure they’ve got the right education, training and experience; they’re confident and proud of what they do; they’re personally and professionally fulfilled. And, when we do that, we get mission success.”