Annual acquisition conference a success

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Hundreds of acquisition and industry professionals gathered at the Air Force Institute of Technology here June 13-14, for two action-packed days of demonstrations and presentations from some of the greatest and brightest minds in acquisition, technology, intelligence and sustainment. 

Hosted by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Defense Acquisition University, the ninth annual event was broadcast live and drew senior Air Force leaders and experts from across the country.

The theme for the conference was ‘Keeping a Decisive Edge,’ which was highlighted in the more than 60 presentations that attendees had an opportunity to participate in.

Throughout the event, audience members were regaled by the personal experiences, compelling testimony and entertaining but informative commentary shared by the presenters. 

Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, AFLCMC commander, provided opening remarks which included his vision for AFLCMC to be the best acquisition center in the Department of Defense and be able to prove it. He also urged audience members to think about how they can improve professionally and what the center can do differently as it provides systems to warfighters.

The keynote speaker on the first day was Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander.

In her remarks, Pawlikowski highlighted the importance of agile software development to the future of the Air Force and challenged everyone to look for ways to make acquisition processes focus on networks as opposed to individual platforms. 

“If you think about how we manage our weapons systems today, it really is hardware centric,” Pawlikowski said. “With the KC-46, we immediately start talking about what the airframe is, but I recently had the opportunity to crawl through a KC-46 and I’ve never seen that much wiring in an airplane in my whole life.”

Throughout the conference, attendees were able to view technology demonstrations put on by experts from the Air Force Research Laboratory, showcasing pioneering efforts to advance Air Force priorities and help military members in the field.

Sue Payton, president of SCI-Aerospace and former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition served as the keynote speaker on the second day of the conference.

In keeping with the event theme, Payton said that in order to be successful, the Air Force must have significant, pre-emptive, assured, and absolute superiority in technology, tactics, techniques and procedures. Some of her recommendations included incentivizing people with bright ideas, investing in innovative and disruptive technologies and building and maintaining a strong and competitive industrial base.

Overall, the goal for the conference was to provide attendees with a plethora of useful resources and opportunity to engage with experts.

Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition thanked audience members for their hard work and dedication.

“We are today the most dominate air power the world has ever seen,” Bunch said. “Thank you for the work you do in acquiring, sustaining and developing systems that our most valued treasure, America’s sons and daughters are going to take into harm’s way. You’ve done a remarkable job.”