by John Parker
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
8/28/2015 - MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- The
Air Force needs private industry to help field new weapon systems
faster and the nation requires more graduates in scientific and
technical fields to maintain America's edge in combat air power, the
head of the Air Force Sustainment Center said recently.
Lt. Gen. Lee Levy II addressed more than 800 attendees, including scores
of defense contractors, Aug. 18, 2015, at the 10th annual Tinker and
the Primes Requirements Symposium in Midwest City, Oklahoma. The general
and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin were keynote speakers at the three-day
The commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center with more than 35,000
personnel in Oklahoma, Utah and Georgia said some potential adversary
nations possess the industrial and technological means to take new
weapon systems "from idea to hardware" in 18 months.
"That ought to give us all pause, right?" Levy said. "Because in modern
warfare the pace of warfare is almost instantaneous. In some cases it's
simply the speed of electrons."
The Air Force will need faster development times for new innovations in
areas as diverse as swarming unmanned aerial systems, space and
cyberspace capabilities and micro-robots, the general said.
"Other nations who wish to do us harm sometimes field hardware
capabilities a lot quicker than we do, and all of us in this room are
partners in that strategic agility that's essential to going faster to
delivering those combat capabilities sooner at a more affordable cost so
we can afford to get ready not only for today, but for the future," the
Representatives hailing from prime contractors such as Northrop Grumman
to Oklahoma aerospace companies traveled from 34 states and three
countries to network and learn about Tinker Air Force Base's current and
future needs. Tinker directors, managers and engineers conducted
multiple presentations on those subjects.
Levy also encouraged professionals, elected officials, parents and
teachers to continue inspiring students to pursue the STEM disciplines
of science, technology, engineering and math.
"When I look at the requirements in the future for software engineers,
mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and computer scientists, I
think at the Air Force Sustainment Center I could hire every single one
that's produced in the state of Georgia, the state of Oklahoma and the
state of Utah and still not have enough people to fill all the chairs
that I need to fill."
Governor Fallin praised the work of the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce
and Rose State for hosting the annual symposium that helps fuel
Oklahoma businesses, innovation and jobs. Tinker packs a $3.5 billion
economic impact for the state.
"We understand the importance of partnership, the importance of
community support for Tinker Air Force Base, our men and women who wear
the uniform, and our civilians, who serve our great nation," the
Symposium organizers also honored retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce
Litchfield. The former AFSC commander was awarded the symposium's
inaugural Tinker and the Primes Patriot Award for his outstanding
achievements for the Air Force and Oklahoma. The award inscription
quotes the general's signature saying.
"I know the award says, 'It's a great day to fly,' but that's not my job
anymore," Litchfield said. "So I'm going to tell you this in my
(retirement) coming out party that it's my job, it's my responsibility,
to make this a great day to thrive and that's what I'm going to work to
do. It's not about flying anymore. It's about America thriving, and I
think that's what we all need to rally around and that's what's going to
make America great. That's why this award is so special to me."