5th Annual West Coast Aerospace Forum

An Air and Space Force Designed for the Future

Lightning strikes at dawn near NASA’s Orion test vehicle

Lightning strikes near NASA's Orion test vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

Photo by Dalton Williams/U.S. Air Force

Event Details


Friday, December 6, 2019


7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Program begins at 8:25 a.m.


Continental breakfast and lunch provided


RAND Corporation
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA

Complimentary parking at RAND

Register for the Forum

Registration for this event has closed. For general questions about attendance, please contact Matt Shelp at 310-393-0411 x7319 or mshelp@rand.org.

About the Forum

The West Coast Aerospace Forum provides a rare chance to engage with some of the Air Force's most senior and experienced leaders as well as top civilian national security experts in a setting that encourages debate, discussion, and audience interaction.

The theme of this year's forum will be "An Air and Space Force Designed for the Future."

Forum Program

7:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast
8:25 a.m.
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
8:30 a.m.
Air and Space Power in an Era Defined by Peer Competition
9:40 a.m.
Service Perspective on Joint All Domain Command and Control
10:50 a.m.
11:00 a.m.
How to Create a Successful Space Service
12:10 p.m.
Proceed to Lunch Session (1st-floor Courtyard)
12:40 p.m.
Lunch Session — Projecting Power in an Increasingly Contested Environment
1:50 p.m.
Return to Forum
2:10 p.m.
Keynote Remarks and Conversation on Nuclear Forces and 21st Century Strategic Deterrence
3:30 p.m.
Forum Adjourns


Ms. Susanna Blume, Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security

Dr. Kerry Buckley, Vice President of Air Force Programs, MITRE

Rear Adm. William Chase III (invited), Deputy Director, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber, J6, Joint Staff

Maj Gen Clint Crosier, Director, Space Force Planning Task Force

Lt Gen, USAF, ret. Dave Deptula, Dean, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Mr. Preston Dunlap, Chief Architect, office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

Dr. Morgan Dwyer, Fellow, International Security Program and Deputy Director for Policy Analysis, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Lt Gen Tim Fay, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force

Maj Gen Brian Killough, Deputy Commander, Pacific Air Forces

Mr. Todd Harrison, Director, Aerospace Security Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Dr. Ted Harshberger, Vice President and Director, RAND Project AIR FORCE

Ms. Margaux Hoar, Research Program Director, Organizations, Roles, & Missions Program, CNA

Brig Gen Kumashiro, Director, Joint Force Integration and Lead, Air Force Joint All Domain Command & Control Cross Functional Team, Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability

RADM John "Oscar" Meier, Commander, Navy Warfare Development Command

Brig Gen David Miller Jr., Director of Plans, Programs and Financial Management, Headquarters Air Force Space Command

Dr. Jamie Morin, Vice President of Defense Systems Operations and Executive Director of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy, The Aerospace Corporation

David Ochmanek, Senior International / Defense Researcher, The RAND Corporation

Ms. Heather Penney, Senior Resident Fellow - Mitchell Institute

General Timothy Ray, Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command and Commander, Air Forces Strategic - Air, U.S. Strategic Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana

Lt Gen David Thompson, Vice Commander, Air Force Space Command, Washington, D.C.

Lt Gen John Thompson , Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command

LTG Eric Wesley, Director, Futures and Concepts Center, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Futures Command

The Honorable Christine Wormuth, Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center and Senior Fellow, The RAND Corporation

Planned Panel Sessions

Air and Space Power in an Era Defined by Peer Competition

The U.S. military is currently exploring force design alternatives to ensure desired effects are attained effectively and efficiently in an era where threats are on the rise and technology is radically altering power projection realities. Whether discussing AFWIC's alternative operating concepts, COCOM efforts to sustain missions while under attack, or what it takes to operate in a contested space domain—the current threat environment is prompting the Air Force to explore new operating concepts at a level not seen since the Cold War.

Service Perspectives on Joint All Domain Command and Control

Future success in combat will increasingly rely upon the ability to effectively command and control forces in a dynamic, resilient, domain agnostic fashion. While "things" like ships, planes, tanks, satellites will still be critically important, it is crucial to ensure that these tools are used at the right time and place. The services recognize this imperative and are each working on their respective plans to bolster this mission area. This panel will present an opportunity to have a cross-service discussion about their respective visions, while also emphasizing that joint interoperability and collaboration will be a crucial metric measuring success in a future paradigm.

How to Create a Successful Space Service

While the prospective legislative enactment of an independent military service will mark a significant milestone, significant steps need to occur to turn the potential of this vector into reality. This panel will discuss pragmatic near-term steps that need to be taken to address gaps and shortcomings, as well as broader strategic and operational factors the new service should address as the nation continues to adapt to a contested space domain.

Projecting Power in an Increasingly Contested Environment

Success in modern combat operations increasingly depends upon the ability to gather data, process it into real-time actionable information, and share it collaboratively with other battlespace assets while resisting adversary attempts to disrupt the sensor-to-shooter kill chain at every step along the way. Fifth generation aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, and the Air Force's Next Generation Air Dominance program are built around these ideas. However, these capabilities merely represent the tip of the iceberg for combat operations in the information age. For example, DARPA has introduced a concept known as Mosaic Warfare to blunt adversary advantages through increased force agility, harnessing advanced technologies, and a new approach to force design. This panel will address the types of threats that are on the horizon and the capabilities the Air Force needs to project power in an increasingly contested environment.

21st Century Strategic Deterrence

The nation's nuclear triad is set for a massive overhaul. While many are focused on the "things" slated for purchase, it is also important to discuss strategic deterrence theory in the modern era. No longer is the U.S. looking at a bi-lateral contest with the Soviet Union. With proliferation significantly growing the number and types of nuclear powers in the world, American military commanders face a significantly different challenge. This panel will explore strategies and concepts tied to this new reality, while also discussing the implications this will have for the current recapitalization effort.

How to Attend

Registration for this event has closed. For general questions about attendance, please contact Matt Shelp at 310-393-0411 x7319 or mshelp@rand.org.