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
Around the world, our medical Airmen have stepped up to ensure proper precautions are being taken to prevent to spr… https://t.co/Jc8khMLzX2
RT @USAF_ACC: Ride in the cockpit with the @F22DemoTeam during this virtual air show! @usairforce | @ACC_Commander | #AimHigh https://t.c…
"They left their homes all across America; rushed to Lackland Air Force Base, in Texas, and other military installa… https://t.co/lUaQ8uvo6j
Capt Melanie Ziebart is 1 of 6 USAF pilots flying the F-35B in Marine squadrons. “It’s such a surreal feeling to t… https://t.co/w4S3YrEMvQ
RT @cmsaf18: We're back with another #BlueprintLeadership (recorded before we started #socialdistancing)! It's a good listen for those who…
RT @USNorthernCmd: .@USNorthernCmd Commander, Gen. O'Shaughnessy, on @CuomoPrimeTime Mar. 30 discussed military assistance for #waronCOVID1
"The next several weeks will test us...we will do everything in our power to take care of you and your family, whil… https://t.co/paZCq6IGN5
Have deployment questions? @USAFReserve has answers. https://t.co/ONkkswJZhq
The world may be on pause but our Airmen are in overdrive. Congrats to the @USArmy family on the new arrivals!👶👶 https://t.co/sjMhFj5SZN
.@POTUS signs executive order authorizing mobilization for @USAFReserve medics. #COVID19USAF https://t.co/r4c8qcEgbT
An @USAFCENT flight crew tests the engines of an MC-130H Combat Talon II at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. The MC-1… https://t.co/D5Buu8PDK5
Members of the @MDNG work w/ members of the Maryland Office of Preparedness & Response to prepare & load medical su… https://t.co/ccKPArqlSh
🎧 Tune into @CMSAF18's 6th episode of Blueprint Leadership as he talks about leadership, lessons learned, and share… https://t.co/pxpdxCshhX
The latest news on the Dept. of the Air Force response to the spread of #COVID19 is available at… https://t.co/ipQz6TsRuC
RT @HQ_AFMC: We still have a few more days in March, so take some time to check out the stats from across @DeptofDefense for #WomensHistory
RT @EsperDoD: On this #NationalVietnamWarVeteransDay, we pause to honor the millions of Americans who served during the Vietnam War, the Fa…
RT @AirNatlGuard: "To be able to go out and help the community at a time like this is something that we’re all proud of," @NJNationalGuard.…