U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, a 2018 Wash100 recipient, commented on the service branch’s need for technological development as she toured the service’s facilities in Texas on June 27 through 29.
Wilson visited the AFWERX and the Pilot Training Next programs in Austin and the Randolph and Lackland sites of Joint Base San Antonio, the Air Force said Monday.
The Air Force can tap the talents of technology companies to support innovation, entrepreneurship, community and university partnerships and the cooperation of local governments, Wilson said during her visit at AFWERX-Austin, which is designed as a collaboration hub for the service branch and external communities.
“We recognize that the bureaucracy doesn’t always allow innovation to happen, and that’s one of the reasons for creating things like AFWERX,” Wilson said.
During her tour of the Pilot Training Next facility at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, she noted the Air Force’s partnership with the industry and the academia to integrate modern technologies into pilots’ training environments.
“Technology has changed quite a bit, but the syllabus for pilot training had not significantly changed in about 20 years,” she said.
The Pilot Training Next program is meant to investigate and possibly prototype an immersive technology for pilot exercises.
Wilson discussed with the 12th Flying Training Wing at JBSA-Randolph fighter fundamentals, training for pilot instructors and weapons systems officer and exercises for operators of sensors and remotely piloted aircraft.
Her tour ended with a review of the Basic Military Training graduation parade of 628 new Air Force members when she visited JBSA-Lackland.