MacGyver Isn’t Enough

One of the main impressions that Gen. Donald Hoffman, USAF’s top weapons developer, brought back with him from his recent trip to Southwest Asia is that ingenuity is “alive and well” among airmen. Specifically, airmen at bases in the region, Hoffman told attendees Friday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., are acting like MacGyver—the 1980s TV character who applied innovation, a pocket knife, and chewing gum to make any gizmo work—in incorporating laptop computers in the cockpits of tankers and airlifters. This jerry-rigged capability increases the aircrews’ situational awareness as they fly in the densely populated airspace above the combat zones—a place where these mobility platforms have not ventured to such a large extent before. But as innovative and praiseworthy as the efforts are, these airmen shouldn’t have to go to these lengths, said Hoffman. “We owe them better,” he said. Indeed, USAF acquisition arm needs to do more to figure out how to provide the situational awareness capability in “a proper acquisition way and a proper sustainment way,” he said.