Air Force Secretary (Dr.) Heather Wilson
The Secretary made the case for a massive (25%) growth in USAF force structure (from 324 to 386 wings), with C4ISR, refueling, and Search and Rescue seeing the biggest growth.

“The analysis says what every Airmen already knows. The Air Force is too small for what the nation is asking us to do. We have 312 operational squadrons today. The Air Force We Need has 386 operational squadrons by 2030.”

Outlined ambitious plans to stand up a new Space Development Agency beginning in 2019 and transition to a Space Military Department in 2021.  Offered an eye-brow raising $13 billion price estimate.

USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein

The Chief stressed the imperative for the Air Force to focus on the challenges and complexities of multi-domain (air, space and cyber) command and control and outlined his desire to to make the Service more expeditionary (with the ability to quickly project forces forward — and to protect them there) as it did in the past

“Together, we have tilled the soil, planted seeds and are growing deep roots in each line of effort.  The next phase of work is preparing the Air Force we need for multi-domain operations — the convergence of military capabilities in any or all domains to achieve military objectives on a global scale.”

“It is time to get back to our expeditionary roots.”

Vice President Michael Pence
Making very clear that the SECAF had the full support of the White House on her ambitious plans to expand the Service’s force structure, the Vice President wished the Air Force a happy 71st Birthday on behalf of President Trump, commended Secretary Wilson, thanked American service members, AFA and industry, and promised the strong continued support of the White House.

“We are rebuilding the military, and are restoring the arsenal of Democracy… and your voices have made a difference.  We will make sure that you have the resources you deserve and have the best equipment on Earth…”

USAF Acquisition Executive Dr. William Roper
Dr. Roper stressed the imperative for the Air Force to pursue quick fixes today over exquisite solutions tomorrow.  Among areas of strong and immediate interest: B-52 re-engining, F-22 software upgrade, hypersonic strike, and JSTARS replacement.

“Time is our enemy. Speed is something we have to value.  Even if we’re not the most efficient acquirers, if we’re faster than our adversaries, we’ll win.  It has continually been a criticism of acquisition that we can do a contract in about two months, and that’s if everything goes right, you pull all the stops” and use other transaction authority agreements.  Most OTAs “take three to four months — and that’s in a good case — [but] that’s too long for a startup.”

Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan
Mr. Shanahan downplayed the significance of reported differences between the White House and the DoD in the establishment of a Space Force and implored Air Force leadership to take advantage of the strong confidence — and associated funding boost — being provided by the Congress.

“We have a unique window of opportunity. Congress is behind us and given us the money we need.  However if we don’t deliver results, Congress won’t lift the budget caps in 2020 and we won’t have the money to fully implement our strategy. Congress won’t be impressed because we tried hard. They will judge our output, so we need to get to work.”

Lt. General John F. Thompson, Commander of the Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center
Citing the effectiveness of his organization — the Air Force Space Command — in diversifying the means to and increasingly the speed of getting work done, General Thompson Implored Air Force acquisition officials to be creative in contracting in order to bring technology to bear on the mission as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

“We are Program-of-Record happy.  We have to get away from that addiction.  We have got to be able to do things on a smaller scale. We should be looking at prototyping different types of competing solutions for the same requirement. You need to do your homework.  You need to learn on your own. Do not wait to be spoon-fed…Get up to speed now on Section 804, OTA authorities.”