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WEPTAC 2023: Solving enterprise-level challenges

  • Published
  • By Michael J. Hasenauer
  • Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs

U.S. and international combat air forces senior leaders participated in the Weapons and Tactics Conference and C2 Summit at Nellis Air Force Base, Jan. 2-13.

WEPTAC is Air Combat Command’s annual pinnacle of tactics and warfare with a charge to accelerate the modernization and development of solutions for the joint employment of forces across the range of Air Force core warfighting functions.

"There is a common saying of 'As goes Nellis, so goes the Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. David Lyons, ACC director of operations, in a speech to an audience of nearly 1,400 U.S. and allied service members. “The primary focus of WEPTAC is the National Defense Strategy and therefore the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. We are here at the nexus of airpower to advise and shape our nation's warfighting prowess."

Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander, gave the keynote address to this year’s summit and WEPTAC attendees, emphasizing a need for constant forward motion with innovation as a requirement for mission success.


“Innovation will be the key to ultimately winning the next fight,” Wilsbach said. “Improvements in innovation talked about at previous years’ WEPTACs can be seen in PACAF today.”

Lyons added that while focus on emerging technologies and processes like the Advanced Battle Management System are critical to the Air Force maintaining competitive advantage in the Indo-Pacific, effective employment of warfighting constants like mobility and logistics capabilities also remain vital to success in conflict in the region.

"Do not wish away logistics. There is no room for error when we look at the tyranny of distance in the Pacific," Lyons said. "You cannot overlook tanker plans, logistics and sustainment, weapons, communications and mission-type orders. Think about and talk about these things, including swap-out plans, rejoin plans from disparate locations, and comm-out mission planning – there is nothing we can't tackle when we put our minds to it."

Along with the tyranny of distance in the Pacific, fiscal and political constraints limit the establishment of new enduring air bases. To address these challenges, the Air Force introduced Agile Combat Employment, or ACE: a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating air-combat power.

“ACE will expand the envelope in the next fight; it will be a highly contested environment,” Wilsbach said. “ACE needs to be exercised in every squadron, every day.”

The National Defense Strategy states that to enable our military advantage in the air domain for the long term. We must shift away from legacy platforms and weapons systems that are decreasing in relevance today and will be irrelevant in the future.

Addressing the Air and Space Force senior leaders in the audience, Lyons highlighted the multi-disciplinary specialists conducting WEPTAC’s various working groups.

"We have provided you experts of multiple disciplines to inform your solutions and outputs across multiple programs and resources to provide tangible, feasible decisions to support our conclusions," he noted.

WEPTAC's scope and purpose brings the future faster and accelerates change in the United States Air Force. In its 23rd year, WEPTAC continues to provide feedback from warfighters directly to general officers and decision-makers that lead to substantive enhancements and improvements across the Joint Force, both from tactics development and science and technology advancement recommendations.

Wilsbach concluded his speech with a straightforward charge, “It’s not going to be easy, but we must put in the work. No shortcuts.”