GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Air Combat Command commander Gen. Mark Kelly and Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, ACC command chief, visited Grand Forks Air Force Base, Oct. 7, 2021, to meet the Airmen behind the mission of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing and discuss the future of the wing’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.
During the visit, Kelly met with pilots, sensor operators, defenders, firefighters, intelligence, weather, maintenance and medical Airmen who discussed the importance of their mission.
Kelly also expressed his gratitude for the vital Airmen within the Remotely Piloted Aircraft community, and how the 319 RW plays a direct role in the global power competition.
“If we don’t punch into sovereign space, we are not an Air Force that is ‘airpower anytime, anywhere’ we will be one that is ‘sometimes, some places,’” said Kelly. “In terms of innovation, we need to look forward with strategic, penetrating ISR.”
Kelly communicated that the ISR enterprise needs to be persistent, connected and going forward it needs to be survivable. He also noted that the Air Force will soon articulate how we will be able to do so in the near future.
During an all call Airmen, had the chance to talk about how their current role enables Air Combat Command’s future mission requirements.
“I believe that the Air Force, Air Combat Command and the Airmen I meet every day are organized, trained and equipped for peer competition,” Kelly responded after being asked if he believes ACC is capable of meeting the threats of our adversaries now.
A key part with keeping up with our adversaries is updating our mission to meet the modern needs of the Air Force. One of those mission updates is the addition of the Space Development Agency partnership at Grand Forks AFB.
Kelly received an update on the location of this partnership and agreed that it may provide Space Force opportunities the base has not had before.
“Whether it be with our local partnerships, U.S. Space Force Guardians or with our own teammates, we bring the power of capability every day,” said Kelly. “Our Air Force has never been more relevant in the nation as we are today. Great power competition requires great power capability.”