Kwast on a Mission to Change the Way We Think

Air University Commander Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast is on a mission to change the way we think about military education. “We are, as a world, realizing that the world has changed under our feet in a way that we haven’t fully recognized,” said Kwast during a Nov. 12 all-call session at Maxwell AFB, Ala., which was held two days after he assumed command of the university. “Here we are as a nation with industrial-age models of how to deal with the world. Yet the world is an information-age world. The speed of information and the rate of change is astounding, and we don’t even fully recognize how profound that change is, often times, until it’s too late,” said Kwast. Future airmen “have the ability to reinvent our Air Force,” he added. However, Kwast rallied against the idea that Air University would become a “diploma mill,” churning out certifications exclusive of any real learning. What the Air Force needs to develop, he said during a Nov. 21 symposium on the future of airpower hosted by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and RAND Corp. in California, is “a culture of airmen who know how to learn and know how to think. First, get the culture right of thinkers, [then] actually get a strategy” for moving forward, he said.