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Commentary: U.S. Air and Space Forces are accelerating innovation to deter and defend the American way of life

The Air Force Association 2020 Air, Space and Cyber Conference graphic. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

The Air Force Association 2020 Virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference is an annual meeting of aerospace professionals, Defense Department, industry, academia and international partners. The 72nd conference and professional development event is being held remotely for the first time from Arlington, Va., Sept. 14-16, 2020. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --

This week, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force leadership will gather for the Air Force Association 2020 Virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference, an annual showcase for the services’ latest thinking.

This year we welcome four Department of the Air Force leaders in their new roles: Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., the Air Force Chief of Staff, CMSgt. JoAnne S. Bass, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, the first Chief of Space Operations, and CMSgt. Roger A. Towberman, Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Space Force.

Gen. Brown brings a wealth of experience, from leading the air campaign against ISIS to his most recent assignment as commander of Pacific Air Forces. For the past two years, Gen. Brown has countered the challenge of a rising Chinese military threat. Both Gen. Brown and CMSgt. Bass keenly understand the urgency of accelerating change to improve how we operate, train, and equip our nation’s Air Force.

Gen. Raymond and CMSgt. Towberman are building the U.S. Space Force to maintain national security. Under their leadership, Space Force is moving boldly to defend and advance U.S. and allied interests in the increasingly competitive space domain. The Space Force mission is critical to the American way of life. Every day, the Nation depends upon space-provided navigation, information, and communication.

American capabilities in air and space are under threat. Both Russia and China are investing significantly to negate American defenses, from the development of anti-satellite weapons to standing up formidable anti-aircraft networks.

U.S. Air and Space Forces are developing game-changing technologies, including artificial intelligence-driven systems, low-cost “attritable” aircraft, and a real-time information-sharing network to reinforce deterrence, expand defenses, and keep American military forces one-step ahead of adversaries.

There is more to do. The Department of the Air Force is accelerating innovation to equip U.S. Air and Space Forces to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression. The Department will collaborate with Congress to fund new systems and capabilities to deter future conflict in air, space, and cyberspace and maintain peace.

To respond effectively to the threats of tomorrow, the National Defense Strategy requires us to accelerate force modernization today.