Disruptive technology debated at Strategy and Warfare Symposium
Cadets participate in the inaugural Strategy and Warfare Center Symposium in Polaris Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Jan. 27, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Pacheco)
U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo – The inaugural Strategy and Warfare Center Symposium at the U.S. Air Force Academy focused on disruptive technologies in future conflict. Service academy and ROTC cadets participated in high-level discussions on topics such as hypersonics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing during the three-day event.
Military and strategic studies professors, panelists and industry experts encouraged attendees to think about the integrated and interdisciplinary nature of technology in the future fight and to leave the symposium with more questions than answers.
Gen. (ret) Timothy Ray, former commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, encouraged cadets to not just think about taking technology to a new level but using technology to change the playing field.
“The truest expression of formative technology is a revolution in military affairs where everything changes,” said Ray. “You are going into a world that is going to constantly challenge you. You will be solving amazing problems and helping make this world better.”
Many speakers noted the need to think about data differently and to find faster ways to make data-driven decisions while improving the interface and interconnectivity with people.
Cadet 1st Class Nora Aschoff, a military and strategic studies major, said she also sees a need for creativity in problem solving.
“We need to be open to not just disruptive technology, but also disruptive discourse,” Aschoff said. “The whole way war is changing requires creative thinking. It takes courage to be disruptive and challenge the norm, change the status quo.”
This way of thinking is not new to Aschoff; she completed a summer research project at the Institute for Defense Analyses where she looked at ways AI could be used in warfare strategy development and testing procedures at air operations centers. Aschoff plans to attend graduate school to study global affairs and international relations before entering the intelligence career field in the Air Force.
Cadet 1st Class Nora Aschoff speaks during a cadet panel discussion at the Strategy and Warfare Center Symposium in Polaris Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Jan. 27, 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Pacheco)
The Academy’s Strategy and Warfare Center organized the symposium as part of its continued evolution. Previously the Center for Airpower Studies, the SWC was re-named in 2020 with a new mission to develop agile warfighter scholars for the Air Force and Space Force through education, research and joint all domain operational concepts across all levels of war. The SWC opened the multi-domain lab in 2021 and plans to continue the symposium annually.
More symposium photos are available on our Flickr page.