CSAF: Air Force must change to keep competitive edge

  • Published
  • By April McDonald
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The theme of this year’s Tinker and the Primes conference was “Leveraging Partnerships to Accelerate Change.”

That theme nests with the strategic approach laid out by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. to Accelerate Change or Lose. The general was on hand Aug. 10, 2021, to elaborate on the priority with an audience of aerospace and defense business leaders and contractors at the 15th annual event held at the Reed Center in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

“Without change we are at risk of losing our competitive edge to win in a highly contested environment. We are at risk of losing our credibility with our joint teammates, our allies and our partners. We are at risk of losing quality Airmen and their families because the Air Force is not changing enough. Most importantly, we are at risk of losing aspects of our national security,” the general said.

Brown said the point of his approach is how the Air Force looks at things from a more enterprising view.

“I am excited about where our Air Force and our Airmen are going,” he said. “We have some complexities, but we also realize we are not in this alone. We must partner with industry and academia because I fully believe that strong partnerships make the partnerships stronger.”

To drive change, Brown said the Air Force needs to revamp processes and take an innovative approach to use allocated resources.

“We must be better prepared not only for today, but for whatever transpires over the next couple of decades,” he said.

That also applies to maintaining platforms such as the B-52 and KC-135, which are closer in age to the Wright Flyer than they are to aircraft of today.

“Think about that,” Brown said. “This is why we need to modernize our Air Force. We need a paradigm shift from a sustain model to a perpetual design model for acquisitions where we move from a conventional hardware focus to more software-focused programs.”

Moving in that direction means everyone – government and industry – working together, Brown said.

“Navigating the challenging times ahead requires effective collaboration among all stakeholders to acknowledge, balance and share risk over time,” the general said. “We’ve got to move at the same pace that our adversaries are moving – and so that’s why we’ve got to adjust and be willing to change and ready to change in the same way.”

Before exiting the stage, Brown took a moment to recognize the surrounding communities for all the support they give to the military.

“I want to thank you for your fierce commitment to support the Airmen and their families here in the state of Oklahoma,” he said.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said the state is proud of its partnership with the military.

“We’re doing everything we can to support our military,” he said. “With five military installations – Vance, Altus, Tinker, Fort Sill and McAlester – we want to make sure we’re good partners.”


CSAF tours Tinker

While in Oklahoma, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. CQ Brown and his spouse, Sharene, spent time at Tinker Air Force Base, learning the installation’s diverse mission and meeting with Airmen.

Representatives from across the base briefed the CSAF about current operations and initiatives and discussed the role Tinker has in maintaining readiness across the Air Force.

At the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, Brown toured the F-135 Heavy Maintenance Center to see the production gates and learn about constraints the team faces. He also received an overview of B-52 modernization and discussed the impacts to sustainability of the fleet.

In the Reverse Engineering and Critical Tooling Lab, Brown got an up-close look at the OC-ALC’s advanced manufacturing efforts and learned how the Air Force Sustainment Center and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center work with the Rapid Sustainment Office.

In addition, the general stopped by the 552nd Air Control Wing where he was briefed on the wing’s mission, readiness, training and infrastructure.

During the visit to Tinker, Mrs. Brown met with members of the base Key Spouse program to discuss Airman morale and welfare. She also visited the Child Development Center to meet with caretakers and discuss challenges in dependent care.