February 28, 2019
Innovation and the Future Fight
• Thank you, Whit…
• Thank you also to Larry Spencer, for your leadership and advocacy for our Air Force and our Airmen. It has been a pleasure to get to know you and to work with you…
o And welcome to “Orville” Wright new AFA President starting tomorrow, March 1st
o With a name like that, you were a shoe-in!
• Thank you to my wingmen:
o Chief of Staff, General Dave Goldfein, and his wife, Dawn.
o Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Kuh-leeth Wright, and his wife, Tonya.
• I am a better Secretary because of you.
• I couldn’t ask for better partners in this effort.
The World As It Is
• Great to see you all … you being here speaks to who you are as professionals and to your commitment to the defense of our nation.
• … Not to mention your desire to be in Florida in February …
• Last September at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference, we recognized the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
• We talked about how strategic airpower was born.
• Led by thinkers and doers like … Giulio Douhet, Hugh Trenchard, and Billy Mitchell … men who foresaw the value of striking strategic targets behind enemy lines … and argued passionately for that vision of the future of warfare.
• Mitchell and Douhet were so confrontational in their approach that it cost them their careers.
• But the theory and its application endured and was proven correct in World War II … leading to the establishment of a separate Air Force.
• The way we fought with airpower evolved quickly with enormous leaps in innovation.
• From propellers to jets to rockets … the ability to attack at night … electronic jamming … communications satellites … precision-guided munitions … composite materials … stealth … intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sensors on a variety of platforms
• This list goes on and on … because innovation is one of the hallmarks of our service.
• In 1944, General Hap Arnold summed it up perfectly:
o “The future of U.S. national security depends on our military supremacy… and our military supremacy, in the long-term, depends on our ability to rapidly innovate and to be at the cutting edge of science.”
• As soon as the Air Force was established, we began pushing the limits of the possible to lead the world in air and space power.
• But today our technological dominance is at risk.
• For the first time in 30 years … Russia has resumed fighter patrols over the North Pole and built a ring of antiaircraft missiles from Syria to the eastern Arctic Circle … threatening U.S. airpower.
• The Chinese Air Force, Navy, and missile units just finished a month of unannounced live-fire exercises in the South China Sea.
• We have returned to an era of great-power competition.
• Last year the Congress appointed an independent National Defense Strategy Commission to analyze the global security environment and determine the forces needed to prevail in an era of great-power competition.
• They concluded this:
o “Regardless of where the next conflict occurs or which adversary it features, the Air Force will be at the forefront.”
BUILDING A MORE LETHAL AND READY AIR FORCE
• Job 1 in executing the National Defense Strategy is restoring the readiness of the force.
• Readiness, first and foremost, is about people.
• In the last two years, we have added more than 8,900 Active Duty Airmen to our end strength to fill critical shortfalls in maintenance, cyber, and logistics.
• We were 4,000 active duty maintainers short 2 years ago. As of December, we have closed a gap. Now we must give these young Airmen the experience to be craftsmen at their work.
• In 2016, the Wisconsin Air National Guard, located at Truax Field, had only a quarter of their authorized Active Duty maintainers.
• The shortage meant our F-16 pilots weren’t getting flying time to train.
• Today, the squadron is 103% manned with Active Duty maintainers, allowing for the development and seasoning of our pilots.
• Last year, we produced more than 1,200 new pilots… 146 more than originally expected … and our “Pilot Training Next” program is leveraging virtual reality and more simulators to train pilots better and faster.
• We are more ready for major combat operations today than we were two years ago.
• More than 90% of our pacing squadrons – those required in either the China or Russia operating plans — are ready to “fight tonight” with their lead force packages.
• To be sure, we have much work to be do.
• But we will continue to work to get the people and the training and the equipment and the spare parts so that if called upon …you can accomplish the mission and come home again.
Centralized Mission Direction, Decentralized Execution
• But its not just what we are doing to improve readiness, its what we are trying to stop doing – including wasting time on stupid stuff.
• We continue to put support into squadrons and ask each of you who are commanding to resist additional duties that don’t improve our readiness to fight.
• You may recall that Gen Goldfein and I have been reviewing Air Force instructions and rescinding the ones that are out of date … or out of touch.
• We have rescinded 302 Air Force Instructions and Regulations in the last 17 months.
• We heard loud and clear your complaints about MICT [“mick-T] and the time-consuming Self-Assessment Communicators.
• To date, the SAF/IG has reduced by 50% the Headquarters Air Force-level requirements … and the MAJCOMs have reduced their reporting requirements by 22%, with bigger improvements to come.
• As fun as this is … it has a higher purpose.
• In a high-end conflict you will not be able to rely on exquisite command and control.
• You won’t be told exactly what to do.
• You may need to act on mission orders and adapt to get the job done.
• If we expect you to fight that way in wartime, we must treat you that way in peacetime.
• Against an innovating, thinking adversary, we must also think and adapt and surprise. . .
Science & Technology
• That means we are also going to change the way we drive our most important research on new weapons.
• We’ve been working on a new science and technology strategy.
• It’s almost done.
• Instead of looking at where potential adversaries are heading, Air Force Science and Technology will predict where adversaries cannot easily go and ensure the Air Force gets there first.
• We will focus on advancing technology solutions along the following five strategic capabilities to move the Air Force from a current force challenged by increasingly sophisticated adversaries … to a force that dominates time, space, and complexity in future conflict:
o Global Persistent Awareness
o Resilient Information Sharing
o Rapid, Effective Decision-Making
o Complexity, Unpredictability, and Mass
o Speed and Reach of Disruption and Lethality
• We must think and innovate faster across these capabilities to create multiple dilemmas for our adversaries.
• Driving innovation isn’t just about enabling freedom of action in squadrons or research.
THE AIR FORCE WE NEED
• About a year ago, the U.S. Congress directed us to do a study to answer a question: what is the Air Force we need to implement the national defense strategy?
• That study is about to be turned in to the Congress.
• Its conclusion was clear: our Air Force is too small for what the nation is asking of us.
• We currently have 312 operational squadrons … and we need 386.
• But it’s not just more of the same…
• The Air Force We Need must also be more modern.
• In the last six months, we have accepted our first KC-46 tankers … we have awarded contracts for our newest trainer, the T-X … and a replacement for the UH-1 helicopter.
• The B-21 bomber is on schedule.
• And the way we fight, the Air Force We Need, will also change.
• Everything will connect.
• Any sensor … any shooter.
• Know more … decide faster … overwhelm.
• While the way we fight will change, to meet new challenges, so must the way we buy equipment.
WE ARE BUILDING TOMORROW’S AIR FORCE FASTER AND SMARTER
• We cannot win against a rapidly innovating adversary with an acquisition system from the Cold War.
• We must move fast to stay competitive, and we are fundamentally transforming “what we buy, how we buy it, and who we buy it from.”
• Last summer our acquisition ninjas set a goal to strip 100 years of unnecessary schedule from Air Force program plans.
• So far, we have saved 78.5 years and are closing in on our milestone.
• Three contributing factors are making us faster.
• The first is prototyping
• Congress has given us new authorities to prototype.
• To build things rather than just do paper studies..
• For example, in hypersonics, the Army had developed a warhead through DARPA that worked better than ours, but our booster worked better than the Navy’s.
• So, we’re putting the Army’s warhead on our booster and testing it on ground, ship, and B-52 bomber platforms.
• By cooperation and building prototypes, we are accelerating our nation’s first operational boost-glide weapon five years earlier than anticipated.
• The second contributing factor to increase speed is the use of tailored acquisition strategies.
• We have empowered our workforce to structure decisions around the specific needs of their programs, as opposed to the generic old-school, cookie-cutter acquisition process.
• Lt Colonel Todd Dye and his boss, Brigadier General Heath Collins, manage the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System called “E-PAWSS”
• E-PAWSS will replace a 30-year-old system to help Eagle drivers detect and identify air and ground threats, use countermeasures, and jam enemy radar.
• Last September, Lt Colonel Dye and General Collins had finished the engineering phase and were ready for production, but first they had to wait for a massive review.
• Instead, they decided to split the review into two tailored reviews, accelerating fielding by 18 months, at no additional cost.
• But it’s not just our big programs where we are moving faster…
• Russell Gunter and Jennifer Hattabaugh at the Hard Target Munitions Branch at Eglin Air Force Base are bringing a more survivable penetrator warhead… the BLU-137 [“blue-137”] … to the warfighter 2-1/2 years faster than originally scheduled.
• They did 3 things: they scrubbed the Department of Defense Acquisition Instructions to eliminate unnecessary paperwork … they had multiple companies involved in prototyping… and pulled operational testing forward and combined it with development testing to sharpen the requirements up front.
• Brigadier General Awgie [AH-gee] Genatempo [jin-uh-TEM-po] is here today representing the BLU-137 team.
• The third major effort to increase speed to the warfighter is agile software development.
• The decades-old step-by-step method of writing software is too slow, very expensive, and it often just doesn’t work at all.
• We established the Kessel Run Experimentation Laboratory to put coders and operators together from the beginning.
• Anybody here a maintainer on an F-35?
• I can guarantee that no Air Force maintainer will ever name their daughter “Alice”.
• The logistics maintenance system on the F-35 is known as ALIS … a proprietary system so frustrating to use, maintainers said they were wasting 10-15 hours a week fighting with it … and looking for ways to bypass it to try to make F-35s mission capable.
• Our Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics … Dr. Will Roper … told Kessel Run to send a team to Nellis Air Force Base to see if they could fix ALIS.
• The Kessel Run Team stood up a program called Mad Hatter made up of coders, maintainers, and Lockheed Martin members to drive solutions.
• Next month, less than 75 days from the Kessel Run team landing at Nellis … the maintainers will have two software solutions at their fingertips.
• One is called Titan … that helps the crews track the status of the fleet.
• The other is called Kronos.
• Instead of manually managing the flying and maintenance schedules, Kronos does it automatically.
• Here is a screenshot of Kronos scheduling tail numbers for various appointments throughout the week.
• And, if you are wondering, “Kronos” is the Greek god of time.
• It will save time for our maintainers.
• Using authorities given to us by Congress is not just faster, it’s giving us better results.
• We are able to find design flaws earlier, fix them faster, and save money with better products.
• Finally, we are engaging innovative businesses like never before.
• Our Space Enterprise Consortium is removing barriers to entry for small business and non-traditional vendors, and these companies now make up nearly 80% of the Consortium’s 235 partner organizations
• Companies like Tangram Flex, that have never done business with the United States Air Force before.
• Under the Space Enterprise Consortium, Tangram Flex partnered with a traditional defense contractor for $600,000 to deliver software to the warfighter.
• By removing bureaucracy and giving authority to our Program Managers, our Space and Missile Systems Center is awarding prototype contracts in 90 days, twice as fast as traditional contracting.
• But we thought we could do more.
• We created a new mechanism to get dollars into the hands of small businesses faster than before.
• By combining government credit card payments with one-page contracts, we created a small-dollar contracting process that will “pay in a day.”
• In 2 weeks, we are conducting our inaugural Pitch Day to build on this success.
• We invited entrepreneurs, universities, and start-ups to pitch us revolutionary solutions to Air Force problems.
• Air Force acquisition teams reviewed and selected candidates to pitch to a larger audience of government, industry, and investors.
• Next month, those candidates have an opportunity to earn a contract on the same day.
• America’s small businesses and startups are engines of innovation, and we are developing creative ways to employ their talents.
• Near the end of World War II, it was clear to General Arnold that America had been outpaced by our adversaries in developing new capabilities.
• The world was at the dawn of a new era of warfare that would bring supersonic airplanes, rockets, satellites, cruise missiles, guided munitions, and nuclear-tipped missiles …
• What some experts dismissed as “too theoretical,” Arnold saw as imperative … and today we take them for granted.
• He urged his scientific advisors to explore radical new technologies.
• He said to them: “…divorce yourselves from the current war.”
• Today, we again find ourselves pushed by rapidly innovating adversaries.
• And we face a new era of warfare … with hypersonic weapons, offensive space capabilities, artificial intelligence, directed-energy weapons, electronic warfare, and robotics.
• We’ve been here before … and Airmen rose to the occasion.
• You are the pioneers of our time who will earn air and space superiority … enable military supremacy … and underpin our nation’s security.
• Thank you for all that you do … to keep us on the cutting edge.
• God bless you all, and God bless the country that we love.