Post-Industrial Air Force

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden had a blunt question for airmen during his talk at AFA’s Air and Space Conference on Tuesday: What is the Air Force’s contribution in a post industrial age security environment? “I don’t say this to other audiences, but we airmen need to think long and hard about this,” said Hayden at the National Harbor, Md., event. If there is any truth to the trends in threats and geopolitics, the Air Force needs to begin to explore what that means for “our contribution to national power and national strength,” he said. Hayden noted that the Air Force was created at the “height of the industrial age” and was the epitome of US power and strength in the mid 20th century. “Now we are in the post industrial age, there are different kinds of vectors, different kinds of threats, different kinds of instability,” he said. “What is the appropriate contribution of air and space power to that kind of world?” he asked. Hayden ended his talk by entreating airmen to engage on this topic and not shy away from it.