“Strengthening The Sword” characterizes the United States Air Force’s fourth annual Air Armament Summit to shape the future of armament development for our fighting air forces.
Senior military and civilian leadership of all four services and fourteen allied countries met for three days at the Sandestin Hilton hotel in Destin Florida to develop the long-range roadmap for armament development. Approximately 450 attendees representing the military, industry, and academia participated in panels focusing on planning, acquisition strategy, science and technology, infrastructure, funding resources, innovative industry practices and the global environment.
The summit was hosted by the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base Florida. “This allows us to showcase our primary mission of providing air armament for our forces,” says Brig. General Robert “Chedbob” Chedister, commander of the Air Armament Center.
A central theme overlaying the summit was transforming our processes to better integrate all available systems and think in terms of the intended effects versus the type of platform.
Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James Roche had previously issued a more poignant directive to his commanders at a January meeting. “If we don’t change the way we do business then we are going to lose the war,” recalled General Lester Lyles, Commander, Air Force Material Command.
Regarding our allies Dr. Roche noted a precedent as inspiring as it is sobering. “This is the first time ladies and gentleman since 1823, the Monroe Doctrine that a continental European force has helped defend the continental United States. I can assure you, the odds are something like 9-1 that the AWACS currently flying between New York and Washington tonight is manned by our NATO allies.”
In closing Dr. Roche noted, “The next war will not be like this one. We will learn from what we had done here and be prepared for a portfolio of conflicts.”