Lead Change or React to It Faster

The Air Force rolled out its new long-term vision document Wednesday. Dubbed “Strategic Agility,” the plan calls for a more nimble force that is quicker at spotting geopolitical and technological change and staying ahead of it, the service’s top leaders said at a Pentagon press conference. Secretary Deborah Lee James said it’s the third part of a “trilogy” of white papers setting the “who, what, where” of USAF’s future. The 30-year look is meant to form the backdrop to decisions affecting how USAF will organize, train, and equip, and it guides the service on keeping pace as changes in threats and technologies accelerate. It calls for agility in adjusting requirements and a greater emphasis on “rapid prototyping” of new systems. It also calls for greater “flow” between the Active and reserve components—such that members of one component may serve with the others over a career, or even leave the Air Force and return after gaining needed expertise from the civilian world. USAF is also looking for “diversity of thought” and will seek greater connections with academia and industry. A 20-year, program-specific view is coming at the end of the year, which is to wrap together a dozen or so smaller USAF “roadmaps,” and a “10-year, balanced budget” subset will accompany next year’s budget submission, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said.