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Human Factors

Multi-domain operations can present many challenges for training, particularly as various disparate organizations must be involved and centralized coordination must be balanced with decentralized training objectives. Emerging training technologies can help support the unique complexities of MDO, but the training community may need to solve old problems.

Dr. Tim Marler, Senior Research Engineer, RAND Corporation and Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School, United States

AI is making its way into military operations and warfighters will increasingly co-exist with machines with progressively more advanced autonomous capabilities. As machines make the jump from simple tools to cooperative teammates, human-machine teaming will be at the center of warfare. Understanding how to ensure trust between humans and machines is critical.

Dr. Jean-Marc Rickli, Head, Global and Emerging Security Risk, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland

Federico Mantellassi, Research and Project Officer, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland

AI is a formidable enabler but its potential remains far from realized. There is a growing role in using AI for improving the air force’s planning and decision-making processes at the different levels of warfare, if the inherent limitations and constraints of this technology can be appropriately managed. Allowing for as much data as possible to be exploited will be key to expanding AI adoption.

Jean-Christophe Noël, Research Associate, French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and Editor-in-Chief, Vortex

Fifth-generation air warfare rewrites the delivery of air power by bringing together all components of air operations. Fifth-generation C2 will depend on human factors and the ability of air commanders and their subordinates to adapt to new ways of working. The air force will require leaders that can train new ways of thinking and cultivate trust.

Robert Vine, Squadron Commander (Ret.), Royal Australian Air Force and Independent Advisor, Australia

Multi-domain operations rely on the space domain as a ‘make-or-break’ enabler and demand space domain expertise at the field grade level. A new cadre of space specialists must be cultivated to exploit space enablers, and demand that air force leaders generate training requirements and begin to develop career pathways for military space officers.

Peter Garretson, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Space Policy Initiative, American Foreign Policy Council, United States

The United States Space Force prioritizes integrating digital tools across its missions, serving as a case study for other space organizations. Their focus areas include Digital Workforce for training, Digital Headquarters for data-driven decisions, Digital Engineering for infrastructure, and Digital Operations for efficiency through automation and AI. This comprehensive approach aims to maximize the effectiveness of space operations through digital transformation.

Charles Galbreath, Senior Resident Fellow for Space Studies, Spacepower Advantage Center of Excellence (MI-SPACE), United States

Lying at the intersection of human factors and human-computer interaction, human systems integration (HSI) aims to seamlessly team humans with AI-assisted machines. Critical for this integration are trust, collaboration, and familiarity, especially in high-risk environments. Tools like digital twins and human-in-the-loop simulations enhance HSI, while standardizing principles and improving user feedback are crucial for success.

Professor Guy André Boy, FlexTech Chair Holder, CentraleSupélec, Paris Saclay University, France

Building upon Peter Singer’s assertion that humankind is losing its monopoly on fighting war, the growing impact of AI in air power is explored, highlighting applications such as fully autonomous systems, virtual co-pilots, loyal wingmen, drone swarms, and autonomous decoys. These advancements enhance combat capabilities, cost-efficiency, and survivability, despite ethical concerns.

Professor Ron Matthews, Tawazun Chair in Defense and Security Capability, Rabdan Academy, UAE, and Visiting Professor in Defense Economics, UK Defense Academy

Leadership styles are critical for empowering organizations toward change. Transformational leadership will be pivotal for the air force in unleashing the potential of its people to evolve to a new way of working. Advancing change and transforming people is, however, not a linear process, and grappling with the adaptive challenge requires more than simply focusing on technical problems.

Dr. Bryan Watters OBE, Associate Professor and Head, Centre for Defence Management and Leadership, Cranfield University & Defence Academy of the United Kingdom