HomeNewsArticle Display

Barrett highlights space, modernization, alliances, people as pressing priorities

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett delivers remarks during the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 27, 2020. The three-day event is a professional development forum that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches, seminars and workshops with defense industry professionals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) --

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett said Feb. 27 that successfully launching the Space Force while also modernizing the Air Force, strengthening ties with allies and partners and ensuring a culture of trust for Airmen and their families are the priorities that will drive the service into a successful future.

“Our priorities can be summed up simply,” Barrett told an audience of more than 2,000 Airmen, industry officials and retirees at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium.

“We need a modern, smart, connected, strong, Air and Space Force to deter and defend against aggression and to preserve precious freedom and peace,” Barrett said in one of her most high-profile appearances since becoming secretary. “We have that in the United States Department of the Air Force today.”

Barrett touched on a range of highlights and aspirations for the Department of the Air Force.

She unveiled the official name of the HH-60W, a new combat rescue helicopter that will be known as the Jolly Green II, a direct connection to the historical exploits of the Air Force rescue community.

She spoke about the importance of space and how the Space Force provides crucial new capabilities in a way that most Americans still don’t fully recognize but rely on every day.

“Few Americans think about how reliant we are on space or how vulnerable our country’s space assets are,” she said. “But as you know, space is essential in today’s American way of life. GPS enables everything from ATMs to weather and traffic reports to ride sharing apps to your phone alarm clocks to precision cameras to the gig economy.

“While space was a relatively peaceful and benevolent domain at the dawn of the space age, things have changed. … Today most of America’s space assets are defenseless. That’s why the president and the secretary of defense formed the Space Force,” she said.

The push to modernize is a common thread across the Department of the Air Force. In space that means adding new jam-resistant satellites and having the ability to respond “if deterrence fails,” she said.

For the entire department it means, “harnessing the power of technology” to develop a new class of weapons such as hypersonics and those using directed energy. It means broader use of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, she said.

Modernization requires updates that are equal parts cultural and operational. The prime example is creating a battle network for the joint force. The concept known as Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, provides new abilities to collect, analyze and share vast amounts of data to commanders across a spectrum of air, land, sea, space and cyber operations. The common shorthand for such efforts is to connect all shooters to all sensors.

Modernizing the Air Force also means developing and deploying new hardware and equipment. “We’re fielding new weapons such as the F-35 Lightning II, the B-21 Raider, MH-139 Grey Wolf,” she said, referring to the Air Force’s state of the art fighter, the new long-range strike bomber that will eventually replace the venerable B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit, and a new multi-mission helicopter.

“These platforms form the core of our future force,” she said.

The strategy outlined Thursday by Barrett was the latest refinement of an effort launched in 2018 that came to be known as “the Air Force We Need.” That effort included the technology focus that Barrett highlighted in her remarks but also the need to increase the Air Force to 386 squadrons.

Barrett also noted the Arctic’s strategic importance and highlighted the department’s efforts in that region as an example of how allies and partners can work together for a common benefit.

“As in space, America is resolute in defending and protecting international norms of access and navigation as Arctic resources and sea routes gain importance. … That’s why maintaining strong defense relationships with Arctic nations who are willing to cooperate is critical. We stand with Canada, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Greenland via Denmark. We are stronger together,” she said.

She praised the quality and determination and focus of the 685,000 Airmen of the total force. “The most rewarding part of my role is talking with, and learning from, you,” she said.

“In the last four months I’ve heard from and visited thousands of Airmen, and I’m impressed. Our Airmen and space professionals are among the most talented leaders in the world,” she said.

In return, Barrett said the Air Force must do whatever it can to provide services and support. As an example, she said the Air Force is working with governors and legislatures to increase the chance that professional licenses, such as those for nursing or teaching, granted by one state are recognized in other states. She also said the Air Force must ensure “first-rate schools” for families.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
A C-21A Learjet taxies to the flightline @RamsteinAirBase. @NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility initiative allowed the aircra… https://t.co/uFkj2RUbwy
Thoughts about #MemorialDay from Lt. Col. Jeremy Guenet @129RQW. @AirNatlGuard https://t.co/arwZC9MIow
RT @SecAFOfficial: #MemorialDay is a time to remember those #Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and guaranteeing ou…
RT @thejointstaff: #GenMilley: This #MemorialDay, we pause to honor the more than 1 million Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice since…
RT @ArlingtonNatl: The 152nd National Memorial Day Observance to honor America’s fallen military service members at Arlington National Ceme…
RT @thejointstaff: #GenMilley: "We have a solemn duty to remember all those who've gone before us & fought & died for the cause of freedom.…
Today, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. #MemorialDay https://t.co/AO5mxOx7Gf
Yukari Brown, spouse of 2nd Lt. Mark Brown, at Moody AFB, poses for a photo after a ballet class. Brown uses video… https://t.co/2WkjPszC7J
As our adversaries evolve, we have to be ready to withstand a digital 'sucker punch'. To mitigate this threat, cybe… https://t.co/2gZuHzaEAD
Robert Miller discusses what it means to be a caregiver. @AFW2 https://t.co/1cTLbO7ZV4
Hugo, a military working dog, is going from "paw-trolling" to the couch. Well-earned retirement! @17TRW_GAFB https://t.co/pycRotL4EK
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: This #MemorialDay remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation. Brave Americans who died pr…
RT @AirmanMagazine: Maj. Gen. Mark Smith is the 24th National Commander of the @CivilAirPatrol. We sat down with him to discuss mentorshi…
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Morgan Nowick, a geospatial analyst @9thRW, practices archery for her own resiliency a… https://t.co/LwMnu3R0V5
An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron takes off @48FighterWing. The 494th FS conducts routin… https://t.co/1kXLSw86s3
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: We continue to identify and remove barriers to service in our @usairforce, while ensuring safety. @AETCommand https:/…
RT @HQ_AFMC: “This is really the beginning of applying machine learning to free our #Airmen from some of the repetitive tasks they’re asked…