Speaking recently to senior-most air power leaders from partner nations, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., emphasized the importance of collaboration.
“Collectively our single most significant strategic asset is our opportunity to work together as allies and partners,” Brown told the audience at the Global Air and Space Chiefs’ Conference in London earlier this month.
The “Integrated by Design” concept, Brown said, offers the framework for such cooperation in defining threats, sharing information, and using air power.
“‘Integrated by Design’ is not a replacement for our current security efforts, but it’s the idea that we collaborate and make decisions together on interoperability, resource investment, information sharing, force development and strategy from the very beginning,” Brown said.
Acknowledging that the idea poses significant challenges, Brown said the U.S. Air Force will work to develop a force that has a “broader understanding” of what it will take to work effectively with international partners.
“We need to build global fluency into every schoolhouse, as early as when our airmen enter the Air Force and continuously throughout their careers,” Brown said.
Training and education opportunities with international partners, as well as exchange and advisor programs, would serve to foster trust, Brown said.
“It is often less expensive to send people than it is airplanes,” he said.
Brown is encouraged by a new Air Force plan to pool funds with international partners to foster development of emerging technologies. The policy, he said, led to the development of an advanced electronic warfare system. It’s a start, he added, but more needs to be done.
“The U.S. allies and partners should have conversations about what we can develop that is complementary instead of in competition, to better align against future challenges,” he said. “Our next global threat may achieve parity, technologically, economically, or militarily, but the leading edge we have is each other,” continued Brown, “And in order to maintain that leading edge, we need to take an integrated approach in how we manage our people, policies and processes.”