Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., presided as the keynote speaker to U.S. and international combat air forces leaders attending the annual Weapons and Tactics Conference at Nellis Air Force Base Jan. 12
WEPTAC brings together hundreds of warfighters from joint and allied combat air forces to discuss current issues and to develop solutions for the joint employment of forces.
In his keynote address, Brown said, “We are at an inflection point in the history of our Air Force. After 30 years of fighting in the Middle East, we must quickly turn our attention and effort towards our strategic competitors.”
This year saw a change in the scope and purpose of WEPTAC geared more toward bringing the future faster and accelerating change in the United States Air Force. “I am extremely happy to see that WEPTAC is changing,” Brown said. “It went from being focused on tactical problems to impacting and accelerating the modernization of our Air Force. This new WEPTAC will be vital to solving enterprise-level problems.”
“As we shift our primary focus to readiness against strategic competitors, our Airmen must continue to provide our greatest advantage to defeat the speed and complexity of threats we face around the globe each day,” Brown said. “We’ve got to empower our Airmen at the lowest level by understanding and accepting risk where we can and by delegating, tolerating and iterating more.”
The Interim National Defense Strategy states that to enable the U.S. military advantage in the air domain for the long term, the U.S. must shift away from legacy platforms and weapons systems that are decreasing in relevance today and will be irrelevant in the future.
“There have been more new aircraft developed between the Wright Flyer and the B-52 than from the B-52 to today,” Brown said. “We know how to accelerate, we just haven’t been doing it.”
In closing, Brown charged the audience to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if the changes the Air Force needs are to become reality. “This is not the first time in our 75 years that we’ve faced challenging times or felt uncomfortable,” Brown said. “What will Airmen at WEPTACs 25, 50, 75 years from now say about us at this inflection point in our history? Will they say we accelerated change regardless of how uncomfortable or challenging it was?”