News | Feb. 22, 2018

CMSAF discusses the innovative spirit of Airmen

By Staff Sgt. Megan Friedl Defense Media Activity

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright discussed how to harness the innovative spirit of Airmen during the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 22, 2018.

Wright stated that many Airmen ask him how can they continue to do more with less. Rather than answering that question, he has a few questions of his own.

“How can we do less, do it better, do it faster, be more efficient, and ultimately create a more ready and lethal joint fighting force,” asked Wright. “The answer is innovation.”

Since its inception, the Air Force has been in the business of innovating and adapting its culture and technology.

The National Defense Strategy states that to maintain the advantage, the service must out-think, out-maneuver, out-innovate and out-partner rogue regimes and anybody that tries to harm America.

Ten to 20 years from now, the Airmen of today will be fighting wars with what the Air Force is building now. It will be innovative technology that takes the Air Force to the next level in that fight.

“We have to allow Airmen to fail forward,” said Wright. “We must listen and provide opportunities. Do you have a culture in your organization that allows Airmen to provide ideas?”

He highlighted an Airman who was encouraged to share his idea. Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Curtin, a broadcast journalist stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida, came up with the idea to use 360-degree video cameras for the flight training program at NASA. This video can provide so much more than a simulator can, said Wright. It can be used in the classroom, it saves money, and multiple people can use it at once. It will help those in the training pipeline become comfortable with takeoffs and landings at almost any airport in the world.

“We all have to figure out how to be comfortable with taking risks and allowing Airmen to generate ideas,” said Wright. “Being innovative is about trust and empowerment. I trust our Airmen will help us get to where we need to be ... leaders must help them get to yes.”