Thursday, February 23, 2012

“Priorities for 21st Century Defense” and "Opportunities for Change"

Gen. Kehler on Priorities for 21st Century Defense
In a session entitled, “Priorities for 21st Century Defense” Gen. C. Robert Kehler, let the audience in on the new and current reality: change, complexity, and uncertainty. Surprise will continue to be one of the greatest dangers we face going forward, which includes possible conflict on many levels: conflict in all five domains (air, land, sea, space, cyberspace), conflict across boundaries with new weapons, conflict involving multiple participants who will often be anonymous, and overall conflict that is a hybrid.

He quoted the proverb, “May you live in interesting times” as both a luxury and a challenge. As such, we must maintain a global presence while protecting the homeland. “This is not your father’s strategic air command,” he warns, needing new strategies and new ways to implement them. Our new national security realities—change, complexity, and uncertainty—need a new strategic approach. This will rely on interdependent joint forces and command, as well as regaining fiscal security. Using many tools as an integrated whole will help the United States to continue to be a strong global presence. Current national security strategy says that WMD and terrorism are our #1 threats, so it is our job to build an overarching plan to develop a robust and imaginative strategy, most likely shaping our activity away from combat.

Gen Hoffman on Materiel Command's
Opportunities for Change
Directly following Gen. Kehler's session was a presentation by Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command on “Opportunities for Change”.

General Hoffman presented the symposium audience with a very real, very large national debt ticker. He returned to this on many occasions, remarking that everything is affected by this increasing debt. With this looming, he listed many of our upcoming challenges and limitations on a national level, with the hope that we will work together to turn them into opportunities. Much like stealth and precision changed the game 30 years ago, we have much to explore in today’s cyberdomain.

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