Heather Wilson Says Air Force will Accelerate Innovation Efforts

Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force and a Wash100 winner, said the service plans to resume previous "vanguard" programs to speed up prototyping, testing and deployment of next-generation technologies, Inside Defense reported Thursday.

The service intends to use a different way of identifying and fielding new technologies to maintain air dominance. 

"Rather than looking at a particular platform, our next-generation air dominance will identify the technologies that we need to develop and test and then make decisions along the way on how we will deploy those technologies," Wilson said during a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Wilson admitted that problems still remain in the Air Force’s major defense programs, which involve multiple processes to bring new capabilities to service members. The Air Force Systems Command created "vanguard" in the 1970s to provide a technology management approach that determines systems, costs, schedules and plans needed for acquisition and research.

You may also be interested in...

Derek Tournear

SDA Director Derek Tournear: Satellite, Launch Prices Have Dropped

Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency (SDA) and 2021 Wash100 Award recipient, said virtually in a Defense One panel that the military's goal to establish a network of low Earth orbit satellites is now more reachable as a result of commercialization. Tournear said launches now cost tens of millions of dollars compared to just a few years ago.