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ACC commander discusses the warfighter's edge

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation at the 2018 Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018.

Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combatant Command commander, delivers a keynote speech during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018. During his remarks Holmes highlighted the abilities that give the warfighter an edge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation at the 2018 Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018.

Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combatant Command commander, delivers a keynote speech during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018. During his remarks Holmes highlighted the abilities that give the warfighter an edge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation at the 2018 Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018.

Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combatant Command commander, delivers a keynote speech during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018. During his remarks Holmes highlighted the abilities that give the warfighter an edge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation at the 2018 Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018.

Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combatant Command commander, delivers a keynote speech during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018. During his remarks Holmes highlighted the abilities that give the warfighter an edge and discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation at the 2018 Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018.

Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combatant Command commander, delivers a keynote speech during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018. During his remarks Holmes explained that innovation in our Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance enterprise such as Project Maven, which uses computer algorithms and artificial intelligence to sort the vast amounts of data the Air Force collects, will be key to keeping the warfighting edge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes, discussed the importance of taking the lead in warfighting through innovation at the 2018 Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018.

Holmes said rising near-peer threats, combined with aging infrastructure and new global challenges, means the gap between the Air Force and its competitors is closing. He described war as infinite, with the staying power of the service required to keep its advantage.

“We need to ask ourselves how we stay committed in an infinite game,” he said. “The winner will be determined by who gives up first.”

Adversaries are using conventional, unconventional and irregular means to gain the edge in the fight, he said.

Holmes explained that innovation in our Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance enterprise such as Project Maven, which uses computer algorithms and artificial intelligence to sort the vast amounts of data the Air Force collects, will be key to keeping the warfighting edge.

Specifically in the Air Force, Holmes pointed to light attack experimentation as an innovative way to prepare for the long term.

“The light attack experiment isn’t just for today’s fight, it’s about helping us free up other weapon systems to regain conventional forces readiness in the future,” he said.

Ultimately, he said, the Air Force must adopt a culture where ideas aren’t bogged down in bureaucracy and Airmen are provided opportunities to innovate.

“We’re committed to creating an environment where Airmen and families thrive, not just survive,” he said. “If we are going to stay in this fight and win, the warfighter’s edge is you.”

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