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Air Force Institute of Technology celebrates 100 years of defense-focused education

Richard J. Joseph, Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force, speaks at the Air Force Institute of Technology Centennial Symposium about the future of the Air Force at the Sinclair Ponitz Conference Center in Dayton, Ohio, Mar. 5, 2019. Dr. Joseph talked about how the men and women who study at AFIT today will be the scientist of tomorrows Air Force, leading the force into the future and beyond.

Richard J. Joseph, Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force, speaks at the Air Force Institute of Technology Centennial Symposium about the future of the Air Force at the Sinclair Ponitz Conference Center in Dayton, Ohio, Mar. 5, 2019. Dr. Joseph talked about how the men and women who study at AFIT today will be the scientist of tomorrows Air Force, leading the force into the future and beyond.

Scientists, researchers and other various guests listen to Air Force Institute of Technology alumni and heads of fields of science during the AFIT Centennial Symposium about the future of the Air Force at the Sinclair Ponitz Conference Center in Dayton, Ohio, Mar. 5, 2019. Attendees had the chance to listen to the Chief Scientist of the Air Force, those who currently work at NASA, and other prominent members of the science community.

Scientists, researchers and other various guests listen to Air Force Institute of Technology alumni and heads of fields of science during the AFIT Centennial Symposium about the future of the Air Force at the Sinclair Ponitz Conference Center in Dayton, Ohio, Mar. 5, 2019. Attendees had the chance to listen to the Chief Scientist of the Air Force, those who currently work at NASA, and other prominent members of the science community.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Institute of Technology kicked off its Centennial Anniversary celebration March 5 at the Sinclair Ponitz Conference Center highlighting its rich journey since Nov. 10, 1919.

Themed “A Century of Education Excellence: Inspiration to Innovation,” Chief Scientist of the United States Air Force and keynote speaker, Dr. Richard J. Joseph, spoke about AFIT’s longevity and how the future depends on an educated Air Force.

“This is quite an accomplishment and very few institutions, especially in our military, have been around this long,” said Joseph.  “Our future folks will need to be a well-educated force.”

AFIT, originally the Air School of Application, was established Nov. 10, 1919 at McCook Field in Dayton after U.S. Army Colonel Thurman Bane received approval from the War Department.

Dr. Todd Stewart, AFIT director and chancellor, expounded on why AFIT was and is still a key component in helping to develop students and how that student then plays a major role using the technology we create.

“We develop new technologies, but if our people aren’t schooled to understand or operate them, then the utility of those capabilities won’t be realized,” said Stewart.  “Whether it’s communications or weapons, we at AFIT are in the business of schooling Airmen, military and civilian to do that work, but also to manage it, to use it, and to employ it over the life cycle of that technology.”

Although AFIT offers distance learning around the world, the focus on developing strategies along with technologies remains steadfast with every location and class.

 “We not only have to teach our folks about the technologies, but strategies for employment for deterrence, and for creative effects,” said Stewart.

Working in conjunction with other organizations, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center; Air Force Research Laboratory; National Air and Space Intelligence Center, AFIT is able to maintain a competitive advantage in educating all of its students.  The goal is to continue to be a force multiplier through education and the capability of students.

“It is very important to have the synergy we need to maintain our competitive advantage from a warfighting point-of-view,” said Stewart.  “AFIT’s role is to school all those folks so they can more effectively do their job.”

 Not only for the current career of the student, but AFIT wants students to continue to innovative.

 “We want to try to develop in our students a passion for life-long learning and a significant distrust for the way things have always been done,” said Stewart.

 Stewart reemphasized the notion to be able to think in that way is vitally important.

 For more information about AFIT’s Centennial, please visit www.afit.edu/centennial