HomeNewsArticle Display

Donovan: Readiness, force lethality begins with training

USecAF visits Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas

From left, Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan, Maj. Steve Briones, 80th Flying Training Wing Innovation director, and Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of the Air Education and Training Command, fly T-38C Talons through a mixed reality training simulation at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 14, 2019. Donovan and Kwast came to Sheppard AFB to see how technology is changing the training environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

USecAF visits Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas

Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan visits the 365th Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 14, 2019. Donovan visited to see the new technology that will improve the training at Sheppard AFB and reduce the amount of on-the-job training needed for heavy avionics technicians. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)


Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew P. Donovan, wears a virtual reality headset as he experiences a virtual reality demonstration used for technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 14, 2019. Sheppard AFB leveraged the technology as another tool to enhance training and develop Mach-21 Airmen in areas such as aircraft maintenance and civil engineering. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The very foundation of the Air Force was built on innovation and technology, beginning with the first flight of the Wright Flyer four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903.

More than 115 years later, innovation and technology continue to play important roles in shaping the fight the service is able to take to the enemy, and it begins in classrooms, learning labs, pre-flight briefings and simulations at bases like Sheppard AFB and others in Air Education and Training Command.

Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew P. Donovan, the second highest ranking civilian in the Department of the Air Force, visited Sheppard on Feb. 14, 2019, to see how the Air Force’s largest and most diverse technical and undergraduate pilot training base is employing technology to train today’s Airmen for tomorrow.

When it comes to meeting those responsibilities, Sheppard is at the forefront of the effort by training the Airmen, officer and enlisted, who will be charged to get people and assets anywhere at any time.

“With the largest technical training wing in the Air Force, you train those that will build, move and fix our Air Force so we can fight,” he said. “These Airmen will be key to how we face future threats to our national security.”

Donovan said leveraging technology and innovation is important to the overall National Defense Strategy, which includes modernizing key capabilities, developing a talented workforce and evolving innovation operational concepts.

Our National Defense Strategy tells us that we’ve got to restore the readiness, increase the lethality of our force. It has to start right here in the training,” he said. “I’m out here to take a look at the innovations that have been put into place by the AETC Commander (Lt. Gen. Steven) Kwast and his two Numbered Air Force commanders that are in charge of these wings.”

Kwast has challenged bases in his command to be “masters at this game of innovation” by employing two forms of innovation: One “that sustains what you are doing today and what is working,” and one “that changes you into something that can do the same thing in a different game, a different world, a different economic curve.”

Sheppard has been in the innovative weeds in that regard, employing technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed realities to produce mission-ready Airmen.

During his visit to Sheppard, Donovan was able to see and experience how Airmen use HoloLens technology in aircraft maintenance and civil engineering courses, a virtual reality simulator to gauge electrical systems apprentice course students’ fear of heights before training, and mixed realty platforms at the 80th FTW’s Innovation Lab available for student pilots to hone skills in a virtual world.

Just as innovation is important to the future of the Air Force and the country’s military, so, too, is the relationships built with partner nations. That is also seen at Sheppard with the 82nd Training Wing’s International Military Student Organization and the 80th Flying Training Wing’s Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.

It actually plays a very, very large role,” he said of Sheppard’s role in the nation’s national defense. “In fact, our second Line of Effort that’s articulated in the National Defense Strategy is strengthening our alliances with our partners around the globe, so this is the absolute premier place that we do that for our NATO partners.”

According to the NDS, “By working together with allies and partners we amass the greatest possible strength for the long-term advancement of our interests, maintaining favorable balances of power that deter aggression and support the stability that generates economic growth. When we pool resources and share responsibility for our common defense, our security burden becomes lighter.”

Donovan, who began his Air Force career in 1977 when he enlisted and later commissioned in 1982, eventually becoming a command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours in the F-15C Eagle and F-5E Tiger II, also touched on the pilot shortage in the Air Force, something he said is a cyclical event that is a result of the private sector. When the commercial airline industry expands and hires new pilots, it affects the bottom line of the Air Force.

But, the service has plans and programs in place to increase and retain its pilots.

“We’ve put into place some increased production. You’ll probably notice that here at Sheppard Air Force Base,” he said. “We’re also looking forward to a new T-X trainer, which will replace the T-38, and that will provide the larger production capability. We’re also looking at retention incentives to try to get the pilots we have trained to stay with the Air Force.”

Donovan is in charge of organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of about 685,000 military and civilian Airmen. He is also the service’s chief information officer in charge of integrating data and developing information architecture across the Air Force.


Facebook Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It’s a great day to be an Airman. Today Barbara Barrett officially became our 25th @SecAFOfficial. The men and women…
RT @DeptofDefense: Fill em up! ⛽ KC-135 Stratotankers from @RAFMildenhall refueled over 80 F-15s in a two-day exercise, offloading 480,000…
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today I officially became the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. I'm conscious of the extraordinary privilege of working w…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #BomberTaskForceEurope 20-1 is in full swing and B-52s from @TeamBarksdale are operating out of RAF Fairford to improve bomb…
RT @EsperDoD: During #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth, I challenge all @DeptofDefense employees to stay committed, ensuring they are following…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Special Delivery! ✈️📦 The @109thAW teamed up with the @RCAF_ARC for Operation Boxtop, an annual resupply mission to suppo…
We strive to increase our Airmen's lethality and capabilities. Learn about firefighters leading the cost-effective… https://t.co/Nrgx3BSrtl
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett for her overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by @SenateGOP & @SenateDems to be the 25th Se…
Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Houston to help #SpaceCity celebrate #AstronautWeek. He visited @spacecenterhouston and… https://t.co/Nymvd98qvQ
Our Airmen continuously work to strengthen our alliances. Learn more about how EOD partnered with Niger Armed Force… https://t.co/VwRIOnBokn
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of #HoustonWeHavePodcast by @NASA_Johnson where Gen Wilson joins Air Force Colon… https://t.co/Y7u9cHFtOt
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: This is an exciting day for our Air Force. Secretary Barrett brings an incredible background and a level of strategic…
The Senate has confirmed the 25th Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett. https://t.co/Y6kDGD5eds
RT @DoDHealth: #DYK? Many @TRICARE beneficiaries may qualify to purchase vision insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision I…
Hello #Chicago! SrA Genesis Martinez Arteaga grew up in Chicago and has great things to say about the city, click… https://t.co/o8gFv5YYhp
RT @cmsaf18: It's a great day for our teammates in every corner of the DoD! Our brothers and sisters in service are in the best hands possi…
RT @DVIDSHub: This is what it’s like to be a piece of #military cargo being dropped from an aircraft. Try not to get dizzy! … https://t.co…
RT @AF_Football: The C-17 is the newest member of the Air Power Legacy and honors the nine Air Force bases home to the aircraft with tail f…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @usairforce Life Cycle Management Center will hold a #PitchDay Nov 13-14 in Dayton, OH focused on awarding on-the-spot, Ph…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The newest @usairforce software development lab is coming to downtown Macon, Georgia. "We want to expose the work that we’re d…