ORLANDO, Fla. — Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson spoke about the importance of innovation and research and development during her State of the Air Force speech at the Air Force Association Innovation: The Warfighter’s Edge conference Feb. 22, 2018, in Orlando, Florida.
“This is about lethality and mission effectiveness,” said Wilson. “Innovation has to be part of the way the Air Force just does business.”
The Air Force leverages new and existing technologies to provide rapid and affordable solutions. To that end, Wilson said, new science should be pursued relentlessly and applied quickly to support airpower.
To aid in that support Wilson explained the Air Force will empower program managers, strip away bureaucratic approval steps and move quickly.
“In a world where far more innovation is happening outside the government than inside of it, connecting to that broader scientific enterprise is absolutely vital to our future,” she said.
Last September Secretary Wilson announced the service was going to do a comprehensive review of its science and technology strategy to help bridge the gap between the Air Force, its industry partners and universities.
“The creativity, initiative and spirit of the American Airmen and American industry must now be leveraged in new domains in more contexts to solve more problems faster,” Wilson said.
The Air Force is investing in game-changing technologies such as autonomous systems, unmanned systems, hypersonics, directed energy and nanotechnology. Wilson said long-term U.S. military supremacy depends on our ability to rapidly innovate and be at the cutting edge of science.
“Sharpening our competitive edge in this new age will require creative approaches, innovation, resources and execution at the speed of relevance,” she said. “The advantage will go to those who create the best technologies and who integrate and field them in creative operational ways that provide military advantages.”