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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

Policy shifts and technological advancements have propelled commercial space activities, outnumbering traditional satellites. Military benefits, including cost savings, hinge on flexible acquisition processes. However, challenges persist, especially in kinetic operations. Adapting requires addressing critical questions about acquisition models and collaboration with commercial providers.

Dr. Jamie M. Morin, Executive Director, Center for Space Policy and Strategy, United States

Sam (Robert) Wilson, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Space Policy and Strategy, United States

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

Only the space domain can move information at the speed, size, and range required of an effective JADC2 architecture. If the United States hopes to prevail in a peer conflict, foundational space-based capabilities will be essential. The Department of Defense and the Space Force must prioritize a robust space transport layer, sensors, and space superiority to protect these capabilities.

Tim Ryan, Senior Resident Fellow for Spacepower Studies, Mitchell Institute, United States

The rapid growth of commercial space positions it at the forefront of innovation and activities relating to the expanding use of space. Militaries have much to gain from commercial space as they attempt to unlock the full potential that space-enabled capabilities can provide for military activity, but this will also introduce new dynamics into the competition for dominance.

Dr. Malcolm Davis, Senior Analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Australia

Military capability development is a highly complex process, and when it happens in a multinational context, the complexities increase significantly. Militaries manage these complexities using several models, but each model presents trade-offs. The most relevant trade-off is between coordination and political costs on the one hand and economic and military benefits on the other.

Dr. Bence Nemeth, Senior Lecturer, Defense Studies Education, King’s College London, United Kingdom

Open innovation (OI) models represent a new strategy inducing huge transformation for defense organizations such as air forces and their industry partners, particularly lead systems integrators. The shift from closed to OI models has become essential, but implies paradigmatic changes to be managed relating to the design and appraisal of complex military programs.

Dr. Valérie Merindol, Professor and Co-Director, newPIC Chair, Paris School of Business, France