Watch, Read: ‘The Future of Air & Space Power’

Royal Air Force Air Commander Jez Attridge moderates a discussion with Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force for strategy, integration, and requirements, and Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, director of staff for the Space Force on “The Future of Air & Space Power” on Sept. 21, 2022, at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Watch the video or read the transcript below. This transcript is made possible through the sponsorship of JobsOhio.

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Airmen and Guardians, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Royal Air Force Air Commodore Jez Attridge.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Good afternoon, everybody. The King sends warm greetings. Well done for making it to the end. So, this is the ultimate panel here. I’d like to start by thank you all for the kind mark of respect that you showed on Monday by holding a moment silence to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth.

The Queen was a great friend and admirer of the United States. She paid six official visits in total, many more to the Kentucky stables, addressing Congress as well as speaking to presidents and attending football and baseball games and commemorative events.

She was at the America’s Bicentennial, the 400th Anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement. She well understood the affinity between the U.S. and the UK, stressing not just our common heritage in kinship, but our common values.

We over at the embassy in the United Kingdom have been humbled and honored by the immense number of tributes from the President and First Lady visiting the embassy, right the way through to the Union Jack flag lowered to half-mast at the site of the Battle of New Orleans, the last time U.S. and UK militaries fought as enemies.

There are many stories about her majesty. My favorite is when some people were walking in Scotland and approached an older looking lady on the horse with a headscarf and said, “You look just like the Queen.” To which her majesty replied, “How reassuring.”

Her duty to public service is what resonates with many of us. On the 21st of April 1947, she pledged to devote her life, whether it be long or short to our service. She carried out an official meeting with our new Prime Minister the day before she passed away.

She kept her word. I know that she would’ve wanted to wish you a happy 75th birthday, so I’ll do it for her and on behalf of our new King Charles. So, happy 75th birthday, U.S. Air Force, it has been a fantastic journey. Well done. Now, on the future of air and space power contemplating your 75 years of progression leads nicely into this ultimate session of the 2022 AFA Conference.

In September 1947, the maximum speed of an airplane was probably about 500 miles an hour. Ships traveled at about 20 to 30 knots, tanks at about 30 miles an hour. But since then, America, the U.S. Air Force has introduced us to stealth bombers, stealth fighters, supersonic fighters.

You’ve introduced us to global strike, global lift, all at the speed of relevance. Whereas, ships still travel at 20 knots and tanks at about 30 miles an hour. And also, during that, those 75 years, the U.S. has put 12 men on the moon, built exquisite constellations of space satellites, and given the world amongst other things, GPS, which if deleted, would impact every facet of life we have today.

But what are the future from a 2022 standpoint? Five years ago, we would’ve been talking about doubling down on capabilities that would enable us to concentrate fires against violence and ex-violence extremists. But now, the focus has shifted to reconfiguration of our capabilities for potential state-on-state activity against a peer that is moving at pace.

A major influence on how we move forward may be the war in Ukraine, although there are many factors to consider. The headline is that Russia has been fought to a standstill and even lost ground in some crucial areas. In the face of fierce resistance from a smaller, theoretically less capable country, which we won’t necessarily dwell on, but we need to figure out what we can learn from this particular conflict.

It’s led to some interesting speculation from several think tanks noticeably the Atlantic Council, which has postulated that the war has signaled the democratization of air power and the return of master air and space operations. So, to unpack some of these, we have two luminaries from the air and space domains. Gen. Nina, or as was on her AFA badge, Ninja.

She’s the Director of Space for the U.S. Space Force. Previously, she directed the development of procurement of space programs for the Air Force. She has also serves as the Director of Plans and Policy and held command positions at multiple levels. And we have Gen. Hinote who is a Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategy, Integration and Requirements.

He oversees Air Force Futures with a focus on air force strategy and concepts. And as you would expect, he’s a SAS graduate, holds a PhD in military strategy and has a rich aviation heritage in F-16 and F-117s. Ladies and gentlemen, please show your appreciation of our panel today. Gen. Armagno, I’d be grateful for your opening comments.

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno

Thank you. Thank you, Jez. Thank you everybody. It is really wonderful to be here, the last panel of AFA. Happy birthday to the Air Force, 75 years old and happy birthday to the Space Force coming up on three. I do want to express my gratitude to the Air & Space Forces Association.

This has been quite a conference and I’m happy to cap it off with this conversation. Thanks for allowing this conversation. When we first started the United States Space Force, one of our first meetings with Gen. Raymond was, “How do we grow a Q Hinote?”

And we all looked around at each other, staring at each other and said, “Well, my gosh, we better start now.” Because of how accomplished you are Q. So, I’m really humbled to share the stage with you. And as we were looking at each other around the table, we were just, “Hey, it ain’t me. It ain’t me.”

But we’re here to talk about the future of Air & Space Forces. So, what is the future of the Space Force and what is the future use of Space Forces? In a word or two, it’s space superiority. That’s what we’re here to build and provide ultimately for the all-domain war fight.

Look, space is booming. It is really exciting. Again, to think about the possibilities of space. Think about Artemis, which is about to launch. The pictures coming back from the James Webb telescope, the establishment of the United States Space Force and U.S. Space Command.

There’s a palpable excitement across our country for the support of space. But there’s a threat, still, a threat looming, and I don’t have to talk to this audience too much about the threatening capabilities that Russia and China are placing on orbit, and the surprising speed at which they are developing these capabilities.

So, the threat will possibly stifle space superiority. In response, what we have started doing as United States Space Force is building resilient architectures. We’re doing this by force designing, deliberately force designing and studying each one of our mission areas to build resilient architectures.

But if you’re going to be superior in the space domain or any domain, resilience isn’t the only thing you need. Resilient forces can be worn down or even destroyed if you don’t have offenses and defenses, if you don’t have allies and partners to go in with.

And if you don’t have amazing Guardians and Airmen to fight the fight, that’s what the United States Space Force is doing it and INR future is space superiority. And what that really means is the ability to take a punch and to continue to fight.

The ability to take a hit in any one of our mission areas, absorb that hit and fight back from the ultimate high ground. The ultimate high ground to us is space. But this isn’t just about space for space’s sake, this is about space integrated in the all-domain fight, air, land, sea, under sea forces plus space, plus cyber.

That is the capability that the United States brings to the fight. We bring our allies with us, but we will be unstoppable. And if we do this right, if we lay the foundation as we are doing with these very capabilities that we’re putting together today and we lay this foundation, we will be unstoppable.

We will achieve space superiority. And as a nation, we’ll be able to deter attack, defend our country when, where, any time, any place against any threat that might come our way.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you Gen. Armagno. Excellent. Especially the allies and partners. But let’s keep going. Gen. Hinote.

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

Jez, it is such an honor to be on the stage with you, and of course with what we have seen between our peoples, the friendship and alliance that we share. And we certainly saw that this last week with the celebration of the life and leadership of the Queen.

And just it means a lot to have the friends, the friendship that we share going forward. So, thank you. And Nina, it’s great to be with you. I’m so excited about being able to share the stage, talk about the future with the Space Force. So, a force that is obviously looking toward the future.

And as I was thinking through what has been a fantastic conference put on by the Air & Space Forces Association, so thank you to the leaders. I think it’s remarkable. The mainstream message is the message of the future, that was not always the case.

And we’ve had great history and we are celebrating 75 years of it, but we have a fantastic future. Sometimes, that doesn’t come across. And the mainstream message from our chief is accelerate change. The mainstream message from our secretary is we have to get after the most important problems that are facing the joint force so we can win.

That is incredible. And I’ll tell you, I’m going to give some feedback back to our industry partners and the people we collaborate with. I am so excited to see industry focused on the future. Every stop that I made, and I made a bunch of them, I’ve been doing a lot of speed dating. I know you have too.

What I have seen is that industry is spending their research dollars well. They’re learning things. They’re failing, even failing and growing. Learning, adapting, that helps tomorrow’s Airmen, that helps tomorrow’s Guardians. And that’s different. And I want to tell you how much I appreciate that on as we call ourselves in Air Force futures, the voice of tomorrow’s Airmen.

Tomorrow’s Airmen thank you for thinking about the future. We’re going to talk more about it. But I just think that that’s just a remarkable characteristic of this extremely successful conference this year.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you, sir. That’s set the scene well. Well, let’s start on the questions. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of literature at the moment, a lot of analysis that’s going into the Ukraine war. And there’s also a lot of speculation about the way the air and space power will go as we move forward.

And in fact, Gen. Hinote, AFA have got their money’s worth from you this week. You’ve been on two panels, I think, to do with Manned-Unmanned Teaming, drones, et cetera. And if you look at the Mitchell podcast, there’s some great Peloton PME there just listening to some of those podcasts.

But what I’d like to ask you is, if we look at this democratization of air power, what were exquisite capabilities now in the hands of possibly anybody. Do you agree with that premise? And do you think it brings real military capability or is there a weak side to it?

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

Jez, great question. Because I think you can actually see that down on the floor where have, what you might call, young entrepreneurial companies that are in essence taking the best of commercial technology and the investments that have been made there and proposing the application of that to the military side.

Where you also have the established defense industry that is spending millions of dollars trying to learn things about technologies that might look like counter infrared or low observable or low probability of intercept communications. These are incredibly important things.

The way that I like to think about it is I do believe in the democratization of air power, we are seeing a revolution in air power. It is not something that is military only. We are going to see the economy of the United States grow due to the democratization of air power. Autonomous flight is going to change a lot of things.

And I hope that we as a country, can reap the full benefit of autonomous flight. If we don’t, other countries would but we’re the leaders in it right now. We ought to do that. I don’t necessarily believe that the role of established defense industry and especially the research that they’re doing at the high-end of warfare is now negated by low-end commercially available technology.

And what I have seen as I’ve gone out and talked to our industry partners and some of the great companies of our country is that there are things that are especially important for military operations going forward. And we are seeing those being matured and being ready to be fielded by these great companies.

And because of that, I think we have to be ambidextrous. I think we have to be able to accept that commercial technology can really help us in a lot of areas, and we need to be good at adapting that and being fast followers into those technologies.

But at the same time, we are still going to need to be able to lead the way in certain technologies. And I’ll give you one that has the potential to be both. And my former boss, Bob Works, has a hypothesis. And the hypothesis is that we cannot be second in the field of Man-Unmanned Teaming and the confluence of Man-Unmanned Teaming and artificial intelligence.

There are commercial sides to that and there are clear military sides to that. And as I walked the floor, I found pieces and parts of both. And I think we can be first in the confluence of Man-Unmanned Teaming and artificial intelligence. But if we’re not, the hypothesis is that China will be and that would not be good for tomorrow’s Airmen, tomorrow’s Guardians.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

And do you see that as a cliff edge? So, if you’re beaten to it, is it a disproportionate amount of time that you have to catch back up?

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

I don’t think there are any cliff edges in the most complex of human endeavors, warfare. I do believe that it would put us at a tremendous disadvantage and our strategy would be the strategy that we have of a denial of aggression by either China or Russia against one of our friends would be put in jeopardy.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you. Gen. Armagno, same question to you. Democratization of space power. We’ve seen it with the use of what were exquisite capabilities in space now commercially available. Your comments, please?

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno

I agree with Q. Next question. No, I’m just kidding. The democratization of space. The first time I heard about it was during a presentation by Rand. So, Rand had done a study about what this means, the democratization of space.

And basically, it means that things that used to just be the weapons of space forces or it was the Air Force and space operations are now produced and used not only by commercial companies but for commercial purposes. And once you have access to space, you will not believe the kinds of things that will go into orbit and the kinds of things that space will deliver for us as a nation beyond military means.

But what we’re seeing in Ukraine is absolutely stunning. We as a space force have, in our recently architectures, we talk about that being layered and hybrid and distributed and diverse. One of the layers, if you will, we’ve been contemplating very seriously is commercial.

And the questions always was as we’re debating this and deliberating, will commercial be there when the bullets start flying? Will commercial be in the fight? If they don’t have to be, will they turn tail? And my gosh, you don’t see that at all, Maxar.

And anytime you turn on your new source of choice, there’s Maxar. And the photographs they’re providing to the Ukrainians from space. Their photographs from their capabilities, and they’re figuring out how to get that information down to the ground in the war fighters that need it faster and faster and faster.

I met with them this week. They’re not scared. They’re under threat. They’re under threat by Russia. Viasat’s been jammed, SpaceX has been jammed. These companies are not scared. They’re not turning tail. They are in the fight with us. And one quick story about SpaceX.

You heard that they had gotten jammed and their Starlink constellations, they’re trying to use Starlink to supply communications and other data to Ukrainian forces. Well, they started getting jammed by Russia. And what did they do? They went into Ukraine and started fielding essentially transceivers.

And I was just surprised by this. This is a commercial company going into a war zone. I got to talk to Gen. O’Shaughnessy about this who recently retired but now is working with SpaceX. And I said, “Gen. O’Shaughnessy, how in the world did you get people to volunteer to go into a war zone and then place these transceivers, this ground equipment?”

I said, “How in the world did you do it?” He said, “Well, we asked for volunteers.” And I said, “How many volunteers?” And he said, “Everyone volunteered.” Everyone. These are partners. These are partners for the future. Thanks.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Excellent. I’d like to dig just a tiny a bit more into what we’re seeing from Ukraine and then we’ll move on. But Gen. Hinote, you recently commented that mutual, and this was fantastically controversial it turned out, commented that mutual denial of air superiority may be enough to turn enemy in the future. Could you explain this observation and give us some insight into how the status quo could be broken if no side is able to dominate the airspace?

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

Well Jez, thank you for that question. It did earn me the accusation of being heretical by some folks out there. And I guess, my solace is that Billy Mitchell was accused of heresy too. And so, what I would say is Billy Mitchell’s most famous book is titled Winged Defense.

The entire first section of that book makes the argument that the United States needs an independent air arm to accomplish what you might call air and maritime denial around the United States. I believe in the context of what the Atlantic Council put out and what we’re talking about, the words defense and denial are very similar.

And in fact, our doctrine talks about that superiority in the domain. Nina, even talked about this in space, requires both offense and defense. And in fact, we talk about offensive counterair all the time. Our doctrine absolutely agrees that defensive counterair is important.

And in fact, our doctrine even suggests that we may not be allowed to do the full range of offensive counterair emissions, do the political restraints. And that means we better be good at defense. Now, let’s think about the situation in Ukraine. Here’s what I think I know. Nobody gave them a shot.

They denied Russian air over their territory using asymmetric means. We might have helped them, others might have helped them, but they did it. They’ve been good defenders. I think it saved their country. I don’t think any of us gave them a shot to being here right now.

I think the denial of air superiority over their country was fantastically consequential. They have not been conducting large scale offensive counter era into Russian territory. They’re still playing. They’re still strategically viable. They could win. Nobody thought that was possible.

If this is something that is happening today, the worst thing we could do as Airmen is to ignore the evidence in front of us. So, young Airmen leaders, young Guardian leaders, what I want to ask you and what I want to inspire you on, don’t let the established way of thinking, getting the way, your way of questioning what you see.

Critical thinking is incredibly important for the Air Force and the Space Force. Without it, our solutions become brittle. I think there is a reason why the joint war fighting concept is an air and space concept, that didn’t just happen. I think there’s a reason why the National Defense Strategy is an air and space strategy that didn’t just happen.

The view from above is important in today’s world, but we can’t let it grow stale. So, young leaders, I ask you and I invite you to think to see what the evidence is, to form hypotheses about it, to talk with your friends about it and not to allow the established ways of thinking get in your way of creating a better tomorrow.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you, sir. Put that one to rest. That’s perfect. Gen. Armagno, we’ve seen from recent Russian ASAT activity that not only do some powers appear to have a laissez-faire attitude to maintaining status quo in space, but that they also have no respect for the safe use of space. Can you discuss the consequences of mutual denial of space?

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno

I think that if space were to be mutually denied, it would be different than air being mutually denied in one specific way. I think it would lead to the destruction of the entire domain. When an air platform is denied, it either lands or, God forbid, gets shot down.

When a space platform is denied, it’s most likely destroyed, especially how you led the question with ASAT. Anti-satellite capabilities today are destructive and we saw that back in last November with the Russian destructive ASAT test where just surprisingly, unbelievably, they destroyed one of their own satellites causing 1,500 pieces of debris that we’re still tracking.

And so, that’s one target. Think about multiple targets in various orbits and destructive capabilities that currently exist. I mean, we can talk about their missile ASAT capabilities. We can talk about jamming and lazing and such, but both them and China have a significant number of military ASATs.

And if they take out a significant number of our capabilities in various orbits in the space domain, I fear it could destroy the very domain that we’re trying to operate in. And the consequences, of course, will ripple down to every other domain that uses the space domain and the exquisite capabilities that we provide on a daily basis to the American public and to our joint war fighting partners.

So, to me, a better way to think about it is how do we deter, not only by establishing space superiority and proving that we have the military might, but how do we also deter by talking about and establishing norms of behavior and rules of engagement and things that we can talk about now internationally with our partners and other space faring nations to establish some rules.

So, that when those rules start getting encroached upon, it’s almost like a signal or a flashpoint that tells us, okay, now, we can start pointing fingers or accusing or moving on maneuvers from another country rather than waiting for a destructive attack. And again, the very domain will be unusable. So, we need to start by communicating, talking and establishing international rules.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you. Gen. Hinote, fifth, sixth-gen technology, so that’s the future for the U.S. Air Force. Mass and agile combat employment with that technology appear to be competing force design concepts, and that you need runways, you need to be able to maintain the logs supply lane to these particular capabilities. What challenges do you see configuring a fifth, six-gen force to conduct ACE? And do you see these challenges being different in the Indo-Paycom and EUCOM AORs?

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

It’s a good question. And of course, agile combat employment is something that we have postulated is very important both for the European Theatre and for the Pacific Theatre. And I do think they’re different. I believe that we have many more runways available to us in Europe.

The adversary has fewer missiles to shoot at those runways. And there’s quite a bit of ability to get logistics through landlines of communication. And the combination of that means that ACE is especially potent in the European Theatre. We saw that and that NATO had been practicing ACE at the beginning or before the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict.

And it did help us as we were generating air power on NATO’s eastern flank. The situation in the Pacific is different because of the amount of water and the islands. There’s fewer runways. China has many more missiles than Russia does to be able to target those runways. And the logistics lines go over the ocean.

So, because of that, the challenge is more than just ACE, it’s ACE plus something else. It’s ACE plus logistics under attack. It’s ACE plus active defense. And so, I think that one of the things we see as being an absolute joint requirement going forward is that the passive defensive ACE is not enough in the Pacific.

There has to be an active component of defense. And back in the ’80s, there was a great compromise between the Air Force and the Army. The Air Force took the air-based cruise missile and integrated air and missile defense. The Army took the ground-based portion of that.

And of course, by implication, the Navy had the maritime-based part of that. What we see is that the vulnerability of fixed infrastructure in the Pacific is a joint problem. There are depots that are in jeopardy of being hit. There are ports that are in jeopardy of being hit.

Certainly, there are runways that are. And so, what that means, I believe, is that the joint force has to re-double its efforts on integrated air and missile defense. I think in the Air Force we have to do our part, the air-based version of that. I think the army needs to step up and do more in the area of ground-based air defense. The missile defense agency has to step up in creating hypersonic defense. And all of that has to come together in order to make ACE viable in the Pacific.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Gen. Armagno.

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno

And I think there’s a space layer that, and cyber, that enables and supports not only the exquisite data that you need from for precision navigation, timing, communications, early warning of those attacks. Our new missile tracking layer will be able to track the hypersonics and report.

That space layer is very crucial to ACE and really any other services, priority strategies that are out there or and priority future capabilities that are being built. And what we have to do is, I probably will sound like a broken record, but our resilient architectures are going to be a piece of it so that we can take a punch and keep providing that good information.

Offenses and defenses that we develop. But all this has to be now integrated into operational plans or O-plans, the war fighting plans that each COCOM is responsible for, integrated into global campaigning so we can put together all domain type of capabilities to campaign together to deter Russia and China.

And ultimately, it’s for the protection and defense of our nation. I mean, the National Defense Strategy calls upon all forces and all services to come together for the, ends ways means, the ends are defense of the homeland, deterring aggression and being able to fight and win when called upon, that’s the ends.

The ways, the Air Force talks about ACE as a way. And the Space Force talks about air superiority as a way to an integrated deterrence, where a piece of integrated deterrents, which is all levers of national power coming together, not just military but diplomatic information and economic coming together to deter aggression against the United States of America. So, we’re there too.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you. I’d like to pick you up on a comment you made earlier about how important the Guardians are, how important the people are for an organization. And it’s interesting that space has hit the limelight again because of things like the James Webb Space Telescope, SpaceX, the Space Force TV series, which was excellent, but it got scrap, sadly. How is the U.S. Space Force exploiting this interest to ensure it is able to attract future generations to serve in the Space Force and pursue a career?

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno

I tell everybody if that Netflix would have 10 years, if they had just come to me for material. I’m the Director of Staff, believe me, there’s a lot going on that we could make quite a series out of. But Guardians and attracting, you’re talking about attracting talent, which I think has been a theme this week as well.

We’re all almost in competition for talent. We want the best and brightest across our country to join the Space Force. Just like I’m sure Q wants the best and brightest to join the United States Air Force. We’ve written a strategy, it’s called the Guardian Ideal. We’re trying to make it real, put it on a path to success with implementation pieces along the way.

But essentially, that strategy talks about attracting the best and brightest, recruiting them, retaining them, which is also a challenge I think for not only the Space Force but other services and probably industry, Retention in those middle years and then taking a Guardian all the way to a successful retirement.

We are working on something called a single component, which is legislation that we’re working on with Congress. Our concept is to bring active duty and reserve together. So, this would be, yes, the Air Force reserves who do space operations, bring together to create a single component. And this way, we can create flexibility for Guardians.

Guardians who may want to go have a family or someone wants to maybe finish a master’s degree that requires lab work or requires a lot of your time away from your job. Guardians who may want to go off and try some time in industry and then come back with that new information and new experiences and talents that can feed again back into the United States Space Force.

We’re working on these kinds of concepts. We just hired our first direct hire. She is a cyber operator and she came from industry. We made her directly a first lieutenant in the United States Space Force. Her name is Jessica Thompson. She’s an OTS right now.

And we plan to have many more direct hires, just like the Air Force does, where you bring over a doctor or a dentist or a lawyer. We’re looking at that concept as well for the Space Force. And that will bring unique talent over to the Space Force as well.

And just one other thing, university partnership program is an effort to partner with universities and academia across the country. We have signed our 14th UPP memorandum of agreement. It’s a win-win for the Space Force. It’s a chance to recruit and teach people about the Space Force and get them excited to potentially come and join the Space Force.

Each one of these UPPP schools has Air Force ROTC, which is a big piece of the program, but they also do research. And it’s not just the technical research that we get from labs and programs like GTRI, Georgia Tech Research Institute or MIT Lincoln Labs. But it’s also strategic problems that they’re going to help us solve.

They want to help us do research with the most difficult strategic questions we have. The Sam Nunn School, for example, is clamoring for topics to help us and complex problems to help us solve. So, I mean, honestly, the future is bright and Guardians are the secret sauce. They are not afraid of Russia or China. They are all in and ready to fight.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

Thank you. Gen. Hinote, we’ve literally got two minutes. Anything to add to that in terms of bringing in people maybe laterally from industry?

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

Thank you, Jez. I do want to follow up on that. And something that I think that we have seen in Air Force futures that I’d like to share with you. As Nina talks about the importance of creating a single component, what I hear about that is the importance of treating Airmen and Guardians in ways that allow them great choice within their careers.

And I see that as being something we are either going to do in the Air Force or we will accept who we get in the Air Force. We are in a competition for talent. It’s a rough competition. It will get rougher. And we need to be able to offer flexibility to be able to help each Airman be who they want to be and reach their full potential.

What we see is there’s a very interesting connection between full-time service inside of the Air Force, the Space Force, the Army, wherever, and time away. That was not the model for us. But you can see it in people, especially in our reserve component who have had that opportunity.

They offer something different. And I would offer, they represent the American people pretty well. If we are going to be the air and space force that reflect the best of America, and I believe we will, I would like to see the opportunity for Airmen to have full-time service and do some great things in the uniform.

But also, to have the opportunity to go outside the uniform and do things that they see in their unique journey that help them become who they want to be. And oh, by the way, they’ll bring that back in. And we benefit in Air Force futures and I know the Space Force benefits from the experience that comes back in.

And it’s not just the experience of going from base to base to base to base to base, it’s the experience of doing different things of starting a company, of getting a PhD, of going out and working in a very different way and coming back in, that’s what America was founded upon.

We were citizen soldiers at one time. And I would like to see the Ar Space Forces reflect that, because I believe in the best of America and I believe as we look to the future, if we could bring that idea of back and forth, it would be powerful, powerful for our future.

RAF Air Commander Jez Attridge

It’s an utter disaster, we’ve run out of time. But your comments were nothing short of a triumph and it’s always a privilege to go and have the opportunity to not only ask you questions, but to listen to what you said. Thank you very much for participating

in this, the last panel at AFA 2022. And I’d like to invite you, ladies and gentlemen, please to join me in a round of applause for our panelists.

Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote

Thank you.