16th Air Force unites IW leaders for 2023 Senior Leader Summit

  • Published
  • By Matthew McGovern
Sixteenth Air Force hosted Information Warfare leaders including wing commanders, command chiefs, staff directors and partners at the 2023 Senior Leader Summit, Nov. 8-9.
The summit allows strategic leaders of the Air Force’s only IW Numbered Air Force to collaborate on future organizational development and processes to succeed in an increasingly destabilized global environment.

“We must deliver a resilient, robust and adaptive organization that can anticipate, prepare and respond to new threats,” said Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, 16th Air Force commander. “This event is an opportunity for our leaders and our closest partners to come together, collaborate and chart the course of our collective future.”

This year’s theme, “Phoenix Resilience: Mission-Focused, Airmen-Centric, Threat-Informed,” aligned with the 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Charles Q. (CQ) Brown Jr., action order to, "Accelerate Change or Lose," addressing how Airmen can adapt to changes in a long-term strategic power competition.

“When we think about resilience, think about how we prepare our Airmen for the situation,” said Kennedy. “Are they confident in themselves under pressure? Assure them they are ready; we’ve trained them, their wingmen are ready to support them. They have resilience in their mission, they have resilience in their capabilities, in their doctrine, and in themselves personally.”

Topics of discussion included building emotional intelligence, understanding mission resiliency against threats and the IW operations center transformation—a modification to build a competition-based structure to support all air components.

"Grey zone competition requires non-traditional approach, so the 616th Operations Center is transforming to become an Information Warfare Operations Center that will unify IW operations across the other components," said Lt. Col. Weilun Lin, 616th Operations Center, Combat Plan Division deputy chief. "Using a competition-based framework, we need unity of effort at the operational level across our service and with our air components, whole-of-government partners, and allies to set the conditions for cooperation, competition, and ultimately our service's operational success in a future conflict." 

This initiative involves community members such as industry partners, science and technology experts, and academia.
“Risk equals dependencies, those dependencies equal relationships and that’s what I’m seeing here,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hopkins, 16th Air Force command chief, during his closing remarks. “If we’re looking at those relationships and bringing in our partners downtown, we can share ways to lower some of our shared risk.”  
A resilient force can reduce risks further. Resilience, as defined by the Air Force, is the ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.

Kennedy expanded on strengthening resilience, a 16th Air Force priority, as it relates to mission performance.
“When exercising in our domain, how do we create pressure on individuals to demonstrate their expertise in high-stakes situations?” said Kennedy. “It is imperative that our Airmen are trained to a high level so that the minute they are on mission, they are prepared to handle what’s coming and their response is second nature to them.”
Collectively, the summit provides senior leaders an opportunity to leverage intellectual information across the wings, within the NAF and among mission partners to better deliver outcomes for the Nation.