The leaders gathered Wednesday for the 28th annual Air Force Association symposium, held at the Davis Conference Center in Layton. Discussion was aimed at the need for adjusting standard military practices due to the changing war on terrorism.
"Focus on Defense" was the theme for this year's conference, and each speaker identified what his or her Air Force department was doing to adapt to the war on terror.
Dr. Robert Haffa, Jr. director of the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center called the new style of fighting "irregular warfare." He addressed how changes in the way wars are fought the military has to change to better defend against it.
"We are not looking for large groups of [terrorists], but trying to find individuals in a noisy area," Haffa said. The technology of today has to be better to find those people.
Lt. General Terry Gabreski of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio talked about how the war on terror has become a global problem. She identified other countries that could become a threat.
China's growing military, North Korea's increasing missile production, and even Russia's rearmament, all pose a threat on a global scale. Gabreski told the 330 attendees the Air Force has to take these places into consideration, and prepare to defend against these countries if need be.
"We have to be committed to tomorrow's threats, and that commitment can't just be lip service," Gagreski said.
She highlighted four areas: technology, acquisition, testing and sustainment as ways to prepare to battle against terrorism. With the help of the community and government they can improve these fields and bring an end to terrorism sooner.
"Those that have died represent the need to resolve the conflict before us," Gabreski stated.
Due to technology advancements, such things as medical care are better. Major General Dr. Thomas Loftus said the time it takes to get a wounded soldier out of a battle zone has dropped dramatically. During the Vietnam War if a soldier was injured the average time it would take to get that soldier home was 45 days. Today, with the new advances the average time is now 72 hours.
Also, he said the military is giving its medical staff, such as nurses and surgeons, additional training so they can be up-to-date with the latest procedures.
According to Chris Russo, AFA board member, the purpose of Wednesday's meeting is to educate the military, and industry leaders, as well as the community, about the contributions the Air Force is making on the global war on terrorism. Those that attended the conference were from these three groups, and the speakers are all on active duty.
Colonel Robert McMurry acted as liaison between the AFA and Hill Air Force base. He said Hill's contribution to the war on terrorism is the sustaining of war fighting aircraft. Hill is one of three bases in the U.S. that is capable of complete overhaul and maintenance of all department of defense aircraft.
McMurry said Hill also contributes to this type of venue by helping those three sectors, military, industry and community, work together and have better ties to become a stronger team. According to him this team is crucial to success on terrorism.
"Without these three team players we cannot reach the solutions to beat terrorism," McMurry said.