Air Force Featured Stories

CSAF delivers 2023 Life Cycle Industry Days keynote address

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline
  • Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs

In a keynote speech to attendees of the Life Cycle Industry Days conference at the Dayton Convention Center July 31, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. discussed how combined efforts of Air Force, industry leaders and innovators will deliver the changes necessary for the service to remain the world’s best Air Force in an increasingly complex and competitive strategic environment.

LCID is held annually in Dayton, Ohio, presented by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. The conference brings together high-level military leaders, industry partners and media. The event allows for discussion of current capabilities and facilitates networking for stronger partnerships.

Brown, who was recently nominated to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stressed the necessity of change to maintaining the Air Force’s advantages over adversaries.

“Change can be uncomfortable,” Brown said. “We have done it before and we can do it again, because the threats we face today leave us with no other choice. If we don’t embrace a culture of change today, we may find ourselves facing an adversary that has.”

To emphasize his point, Brown pointed to July 1942, when Lt. Gen. George Kenney took the helm of the Fifth Air Force in the early days of World War II and faced down a determined enemy equipped with superior aircraft.

“The Fifth was a rag-tag force of what he called a shoe-string operation,” Brown said. “His own fighters could not compete with the Japanese fighters since they had longer range, were more maneuverable and had some of the best trained aviators in the world.”

Brown added that in the face of this threat, Kenney needed a solution–and that solution came in the form of innovation.


“General Kenney found a brilliant aviator named ‘Pappy’ Gunn hard at work modifying A-20s turning a light bomber aircraft into one that could strafe,” he said. “Kenney was so impressed that he put Gunn on his staff. He gave him the tools that allowed him to innovate and set him loose.”

Gunn’s modified bombers devastated Japanese shipping and crippled their forces in the region, playing a major role in American success in the Philippines and Okinawa.

Next, Brown delved into the changing security landscape and its implications for the future of the Air Force.

“When I became the chief nearly three years ago, I shared my strategic approach Accelerate Change or Lose,” he said. “The United States Air Force is the best Air Force in the world, until it’s not. As the international security landscape changes, we must also change, and we must prepare if we want to preserve our way of life.”

When looking across the security horizon, three things crystallized for Brown: uncontested Air Force dominance is not assured; good enough today will fail tomorrow; and we must collaborate within and throughout to succeed.

Brown wrote Accelerate Change or Lose because he felt the Air Force needed to adapt to a more complex, competitive environment.

“While the threat from outside is like nothing we’ve ever seen, we also have a threat from within,” Brown added. “That threat is inertia or a resistance to change. The threat from within is the inability to adapt to a changing threat landscape.”

Working efficiently with industry partners will play a vital role in developing and sustaining needed Air Force capabilities.

“Along with our industry teammates here today we must design, build, field and sustain the war-winning capabilities needed to prevail tomorrow,” added Brown. “Those capabilities are found in the [Air Force] Operational Imperatives and they are how we are going to shape the future. The change they bring will require all of us here, government and industry, to work together to ensure we remain the world’s best and most capable Air Force.”

Brown ended the speech with a call to action, encouraging others to find their own “Pappy Gunn” to drive change and innovation.