In 1947, following World War 2, the United States Army Air Forces became the United States Air Force. They aso became one the preeminent research and development teams in the United States. But in the last 20 years that title has gone to the private sector. The USAF plans to meet with companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook to talk about topics such as innovation, security, and technology.
“We really are looking at what are the best practices to keep innovation and technology access in the Air Force alive and healthy.” Said Jennifer Ricklin, chief technologist for the Air Force Research Laboratory. “It’s no surprise that a lot of the technology innovation in this country in the last two decades has not com from the defense industry, it’s come from the private sector, from the commercial sector, things like the smartphone, the pad, the tablet,” said Ricklin. “We’re looking to those types of areas to see how is it that we can incorporate that type of innovation into the Air Force and how we do business in the Air Force.”
The USAF is mainly interested in cyber security, mostly due to the increased hacking attempts and successes by the Chinese in the recent past.
How can these two behemoths get along? Are there any 2 entities that are more opposite culturally than the US Military and Silicon Valley? The USAF is hoping that their combined interest in national security will fuel the collaboration for years to come. “They don’t need us, they don’t care about us, they don’t particularly care about the defense department, this is not where they’re at. But, at some level, they might want to be concerned about the defense of their country. That’s something that we all share,” said Ricklin. As we can see, there may be some big hurdles, but also a very big commonality.
With the threat of Nuclear annihilation becoming less and less every day, thanks in part to USAF projects such as the Boeing 747 YAL-1 Airborne Laser, they now have the time to work more closely on cyber threats.