AF changes inevitable: Technology impacts future military structure

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Thomas Griffin
  • 62nd Airlift Wing
As a squadron commander with a scheduled retirement date, I thought I would share my views on some of the upcoming changes that will impact the Air Force in the near future. 

If we look at some of the changes on the horizon such as joint basing, the National Security Personnel System and force shaping, it appears the future will be a very daunting and volatile period for the Air Force. 

Additionally, senior leadership is moving the Air Force back to its heritage with the proposed adoption of a uniform similar to the high-collar one from World War I and the incorporation of the old Army Air Corps patch. 

Though at first glance it appears the Air Force is looking backward when we should have a strong vision for the future, as a 20-year veteran, my advice is to trust our senior leadership and roll with it. 

Years ago senior military and civilian leaders forecasted that we would eventually shrink to a much smaller force due to the change in warfare caused by the elimination of the Soviet Union's massive Red Army. Guess what -- that time is here! 

While fighting the war against terrorism these past five years, we have learned to leverage technology in warfare with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. We no longer need a spy plane pilot to risk his life by flying long hours when technology allows pilots on the other side of the globe to fly aircraft that can not only take pictures of the enemy, but also destroy the enemy if necessary. 

The use of technology will continue to make the difference in war because it is impossible to deploy enough troops to cover every possible village or town where a terrorist could hide. 

Our forces will now use technology and information to not only fight the enemy, but also influence the populace so the host nation may eventually control their own destiny. More and more conflicts will be won through influence and politics rather than firepower. 

Change is inevitable whether you are in the Air Force or a civilian working within a corporation. Our challenge is to learn how to use technology and apply it in all of our peacetime activities. 

Take this opportunity to branch out with creative ideas, utilizing technology to the maximum extent. 

There will be no better time to think outside the box and break down outdated organizational structures and archaic processes that have been kept around just because "that is the way we always did it." 

Jump on board, take some risk and do some good for your organization -- the opportunity is ripe for the picking!