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AF connects ISR Airmen with industry leaders

CHANTILLY, Va. (AFNS) -- Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance leaders hosted an industry day Feb. 2, 2018, at the National Reconnaissance Office to discuss needs for future warfare. Airmen analysts presented many of the needs themselves.

“This is about connecting our Airmen with industry,” said Lt. Gen. Veralinn Jamieson, deputy chief of staff for ISR. “Sharp senior airmen, lieutenants and field grade officers briefed industry experts directly because, in order to build the force of the future, we need inputs straight from the Airmen. It’s a paradigm shift.”

The industry day included presentations about threats, artificial intelligence and data aggregation, as well as briefs by Airmen and young officers from the field regarding operations and needs in cyber and analysis realms.

“The weapons that matter most are software and data,” said Col. Jason Brown, 480th ISR wing commander, explaining how Airmen are innovating for the future. He explained that his Airmen build applications to find solutions to problems to become quicker, more capable within current frameworks.

“Airmen come in today already knowing how to code,” said Capt. Michael Kanaan, deputy chief of the Director’s Action Group for Air Force ISR, addressing the assembled members of industry. “They expect interoperability (and) speed. You can help them with that in the future.”

Hundreds of industry professionals and many ISR Airmen and commanders from across the major commands attended the event that focused on agile, rapid development of capabilities that connect and learn. Briefs were held at the classified level to enable productive conversations about specific needs.

Drawing from the National Defense Strategy, Air Force ISR leaders stressed the need for experimentation and collaboration.

Part of that collaboration manifest in previewing portions of the upcoming ISR Dominance flight plan the Air Force plans to release in spring 2018. The plan will articulate how the service will maintain ISR superiority in the future.

“If we don’t invest in new ways of doing business now, we will not be competitors in the future,” Jamieson said. “That’s why we’re relying on industry to match the innovative spirit of our Airmen. We’re listening to them. That’s why they’re here talking with you. They’re doing great new things in the field right now, but they need your help to be prepared for the future.”