6th Annual West Coast Aerospace Forum

Aerospace Vision for the Future

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

Photo by U.S. Air Force

A virtual event featuring some of the Air Force's most senior and experienced leaders and top civilian national security experts — December 1-3, 2020

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.

Video of the proceedings is available below.

Tuesday, December 1

The Future Shape of Strategy, World Order and Competition

This panel (Lt Gen Jack Weinstein, USAF (Ret.), Dr. Paula Thornhill, Ms. Mackenzie Eaglen, and moderated by Dr. Ted Harshberger) examines the likely evolution of the national defense strategy in the coming administration, including those elements of the NDS that are likely to remain consistent and those that face challenges now and in the future. The panel then turns to the implications of these shifts for the Department of the Air Force and concludes with questions submitted by members of the audience.

The Defense Budget Outlook

This panel (The Honorable Bob Hale, Mr. Peter Levine, Ms. Elaine McCusker, and moderated by Todd Harrison) discusses the defense budget outlook in the Biden administration. They explored lessons learned from previous efficiency initiatives, the major budgetary trades facing DoD, and their own predictions for the budget trajectory over the coming years.

Wednesday, December 2

The Changing National Security Space Landscape

General John W. "Jay" Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force, engages in a fireside chat on the changing space domain. Dr. Jamie Morin of the Aerospace Corporation moderated with open Q&A from the audience. As the US Space Force approaches its first birthday, the first Chief of Space Operations sat down with a former acting Under Secretary of the Air Force for a strategic conversation about the priorities of the new service and how it can contribute to an effective and efficient national defense.

Actualizing Joint All Domain Command and Control: The Way Ahead

This panel (Brig Gen David Abba, Dr. Tim Grayson, Lt Gen Clinton Hinote, Ms. Heather Penney, and moderated by Lt Gen Dave Deptula, USAF, Ret.) brought four essential perspectives on the mobilization of new operational concepts and technologies to achieve the vision of Joint All Domain Command and Control. It addressed key military modernization challenges such as communicating in contested environments and integrating emerging technologies into command and control systems, all of which are critical to enabling the Air Force to compete in the years to come.

The embedded video was produced by our event partners at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and is hosted on YouTube. Please note that videos on YouTube may contain advertisements, or recommendations for other videos that are outside of RAND's control.

Thursday, December 3

Maintaining Advantage Under Uncertainty in the Next NDS

This dynamic panel assembled three prolific leaders from across the services: Dr. Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy and senior national security consultant; Mr. Eric Fanning, former Secretary of the Army and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association; and Ms. Deborah James, former Secretary of the Air Force and senior national security consultant. They discussed how in an ever-changing and challenging era, the U.S. can most effectively move forward under the new National Defense Strategy. The panel was moderated by Mr. James Swartout, Executive Director of MITRE’s Center for Technology & National Security and Visiting Fellow at the Mitchell Institute.

The embedded video was produced by our event partners at the MITRE Corporation, and is hosted on YouTube. Please note that videos on YouTube may contain advertisements, or recommendations for other videos that are outside of RAND's control.

Speakers

Brig Gen David Abba, Director of the F-35 Integration Office, Headquarters United States Air Force

Dr. Richard J. Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy and senior national security consultant

Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Ms. Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Mr. Eric Fanning, former Secretary of the Army and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association

Dr. Tim Grayson, director of the Strategic Technology Office, DARPA

The Honorable Bob Hale, former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and current Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security

Mr. Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow and Director of Defense Budget Analysis and the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

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

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

Ms. Deborah James, former Secretary of the Air Force and senior national security consultant

Mr. Peter Levine, former Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense and current Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analysis

Ms. Elaine McCusker, former Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and current Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

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

Ms. Heather Penney, Senior Resident Fellow at the Mitchell Institute

General John W. "Jay" Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force

Mr. James Swartout, Executive Director of MITRE's Center for Technology & National Security and Visiting Fellow at the Mitchell Institute

Dr. Paula Thornhill, Associate Director of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Associate Professor of the Practice

Lt Gen Jack Weinstein, USAF (Ret.), Professor of the Practice of International Security at the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies