AF hosts International Air Chiefs Conference

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Carter-Powe
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., welcomed air chiefs from 49 air forces for a U.S. Air Force-hosted International Air Chiefs Conference in Washington, D.C. Sept. 15-17.

The gathering exemplified the Air Force’s ongoing efforts to strengthen relationships with allies and partners through meaningful conversation and information exchange.

It was held in conjunction with a series of events to commemorate the U.S. Air Force's milestone 75th Anniversary, representative of the notion that throughout the service's history, it has succeeded thanks to deep, enduring relationships with allies and partners, and moving forward, those relationships will continue to be its most significant strategic asset.

Addressing the air chiefs in attendance, Brown stressed that in an increasingly complicated, complex, and uncertain world, the air forces of all nations represented at the conference must work together to succeed.

Quoting an African proverb, Brown explained, “’If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’

“The thing we have to focus on is being able to accelerate, being able to innovate and being able to collaborate,” he continued.

To promote thought-provoking conversations and share actionable ideas, the IACC included a day of moderated panel discussions where air chiefs and think-tank members traded thoughts on distributed operations, the information environment, and the recruitment, retention, and training of Airmen.

“While air chiefs from around the world have different perspectives, a shared understanding of objectives and goals can be attained, because communicating viewpoints, even when divergent, challenges conventional thinking and helps find alignment,” Brown said.

Discussions began with a fireside chat between Brown and Dr. Richard Haass, Council on Foreign Relations president and veteran diplomat, where they discussed the value of airpower, and Brown’s proposal for increased collaboration between allied and partner air forces – an approach he first referred to as “Integrated by Design” in a July speech at the Global Air and Space Chiefs Conference.

Integrated by Design, he said, is not new – but a renewed emphasis on integration that is often discussed more than executed. The IACC was intended to put these words into action by providing a forum to discuss deliberate ways air forces can work together to understand the environment, define the threat, share information, and employ airpower.

Brown said the U.S. Air Force endeavored to become Integrated by Design in its development of people, policies and processes, citing events like the IACC, along with exchange programs and international military education training, as examples of ways in which the U.S. Air Force is growing globally-minded Airmen and cultivating long-term relationships between members of the U.S. Air Force and allied and partner air forces.

During the conference, Sharene Brown, spouse of the CSAF, met with air chief spouses who toured Washington, D.C., and the Pentagon, while exchanging perspectives on the challenges and opportunities military spouses experience as well as best practices for help caring for Airmen and their families.

Air chiefs and their spouses were also invited to attend, as special guests of the U.S. Air Force, the Fall Tattoo at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., the Joint Base Andrews Air and Space Expo, and the Air and Space Forces Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference, in National Harbor, Maryland.

The first Global Air Chiefs Conference was hosted in 1997 by then-Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman in Las Vegas and coincided with the Air Force's 50th Anniversary, the second was hosted in 2003 by then-Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper in Washington, D.C., honoring the 100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight.

While this IACC marked the first air chiefs conference held by the U.S. Air Force in several years, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass hosted the 2022 Senior Enlisted Leader International Summit earlier this year in Arlington, Virginia, with counterparts from more than 60 nations present.