Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones, Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, U.S. Transportation Command commander, and Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander, co-chaired the “Preparing for Global Competition” panel at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference, Sept. 19.
As the nation increases its focus on strategic competition, Jones highlighted the imperative for the Department of the Air Force to stay ahead of the pacing challenges.
“When we think about global competition, we’ve got to act and invest like we are in a competition,” Jones said. “That’s exactly what the operational imperatives are for.”
While the DAF continues to prioritize modernizing capabilities, Jones stressed the department must be aware of how its allies and partners can help increase capacity.
“Integrated deterrence is most powerful when you are leading by example,” Jones explained. “There is no shortage of opportunities to demonstrate the type of country we are and the types of values on which our partnerships are based—We will be stronger for it.”
Jones also emphasized the importance of retaining talent and how diversifying our force will impact the DAF’s race in the global competition.
“The way we think about maintaining air and space superiority calls for the best and brightest,” Jones said. “Regardless of where you are from, what you studied, or your background, there is a place for you.”
Going forward, the DAF must remain adaptable to assist in fostering, retaining and recruiting a stronger force, while enhancing its abilities as a nation alongside allies and partners.
She emphasized that serving the country is “a higher calling.”