GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Goodfellow hosted its first Future of the Air Force Symposium held at the event center Sept. 6.
This event focused on the possibilities of future technologies to be used in the Air Force and featured guest speakers, Capt. Michael Kanaan, Air Force co-chair for artificial intelligence, Lt. Gen. retired Ronnie Hawkins, and Chief Master Sgt. Lee Hoover, senior enlisted leader of basic military training. They spoke on topics such as infrastructure, artificial intelligence and tomorrow’s Airmen.
“What I am most excited about the future of the Air Force is this internal recognition by senior leaders, Airmen, civilians and contractors alike that we are living in a different time,” said Kanaan. “Things are changing right now and the future of the Air Force is guided by young people making decisions.”
The panel members answered questions from the audience about topics relating to their career and the possibilities in store for the Air Force’s future.
A second panel with Col. Andres Nazario, 17th Training Wing commander, Chief Master Sgt. Lavor Kirkpatrick, 17th Training Wing command chief, and President of San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Bruce Partain, talked about how the future of the Air Force affects Goodfellow and the San Angelo community.
“What we have is the absolute responsibility to make it happen, the absolute responsibility to come up with the strategy,” said Nazario. “The absolute responsibility to build the right bridges in the right way so we can get to where we want and it makes sense.”
The highlight of the symposium was how the Air Force is changing the way it looks at Airmen and how they perform their jobs. Instead of just doing what has been done, Airmen are now encouraged to ask why and to think of the solutions to future problems.
“We need to be a force of thinkers, we need to start thinking,” said Kirkpatrick. “We need to be able to answer and understand the question ‘why’ because that’s an extraordinarily important question for the future of our force, for the future of America and for the future that we have.”
The symposium ended with attendees participating in mental health and teamwork exercises.
Talk of the future of the Air Force didn’t stop at the symposium. Kanaan also spoke at the 2019 Air Force Ball held at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo Sept. 7.
“As Air Force intelligence professionals we are going to have to answer the hard questions to the President of the United States to our populace to our own senior leaders,” said Kanaan. “Warfare itself starts with the information we have. Those with better information win wars, win battles or make sure we can assure our force they are not put in harm’s way.”