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Global Strike Commander challenges cadets to innovate, develop tomorrow’s technology and platforms

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, poses for a group photo with members of the Air Force Academy’s Unmanned Aerial Systems research program, Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. The UAS research program serves as a platform for cadets across various disciplines to conduct meaningful research supporting the warfighter within the UAS and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles domain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, poses for a group photo with members of the Air Force Academy’s Unmanned Aerial Systems research program, Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. The UAS research program serves as a platform for cadets across various disciplines to conduct meaningful research supporting the warfighter within the UAS and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles domain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Col. Brian Neff, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, gives Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, an overview briefing of the Air Force Academy’s Unmanned Aerial Systems program Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. The UAS research program serves as a platform for cadets across various disciplines to conduct meaningful research supporting the warfighter within the UAS and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles domain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Col. Brian Neff, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, gives Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, an overview briefing of the Air Force Academy’s Unmanned Aerial Systems program Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. The UAS research program serves as a platform for cadets across various disciplines to conduct meaningful research supporting the warfighter within the UAS and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles domain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, talks with Air Force Academy cadets during an immersion tour Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. As part of Ray’s visit to the Academy, he met with cadets and faculty members involved in the Unmanned Aerial Systems research program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, talks with Air Force Academy cadets during an immersion tour Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. As part of Ray’s visit to the Academy, he met with cadets and faculty members involved in the Unmanned Aerial Systems research program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, controls a racing drone during an immersion tour Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. As part of Ray’s visit to the Academy, he met with cadets and faculty members involved in the Unmanned Aerial Systems research program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, controls a racing drone during an immersion tour Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. As part of Ray’s visit to the Academy, he met with cadets and faculty members involved in the Unmanned Aerial Systems research program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Col. Brian Neff, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, shows Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, how to use a pair of drone racing goggles during an immersion tour Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. As part of Ray’s visit to the Academy, he met with cadets and faculty members involved in the Unmanned Aerial Systems research program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

Col. Brian Neff, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, shows Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, how to use a pair of drone racing goggles during an immersion tour Oct. 2, 2019, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. As part of Ray’s visit to the Academy, he met with cadets and faculty members involved in the Unmanned Aerial Systems research program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, visited cadets here, Oct. 3, to better understand the current education program and deliver a message.

His message: innovate in order to compete. 

During the visit, Ray saw Remotely Piloted Aircraft training operations, aeronautical engineering classes and a wind-tunnel. Ray discussed how these classes relate to the National Defense Strategy, Great Power Competition and long-range precision strike.

Cadets briefed Ray on a conceptual fuel efficient, stealthy and survivable fighter platform. Ray applauded their project, but surprised cadets when he explained that the nation, and Western allies, only have 156 (U.S.) bombers and 400 (U.S.) ICBMs providing security to allies worldwide.

The general challenged the cadets to innovate and design capabilities for tomorrow: “conceptually, help me come up with an inexpensive, long-range strike platform. It needs to be affordable and modular, built quickly, might be stealthy, might be available now and would have the ability to employ standoff weapons--hypersonics.”

“Help us develop concepts; innovate and build technologies,” he said. “Fail, but fail-forward as countless Airmen have before you.”

“We need a dynamic test capacity that incorporates and integrates digital engineering at the foundational level to radically alter designs and concepts,” he said to the students. “It’s not about a single program, but the opportunity to deliver on a consistent and regular basis when needed. This is risk reduction.”

The general’s discussions with cadets also focused on hypersonics, aerodynamics, Artificial Intelligence, stealth and unmanned flight, as well as issues with leadership, resiliency and officership.

“Our national ability to compete is underwritten by technology,” he said to the future Air Force leaders. “We have always been the lead for technology. We must get back in front and lead this industry for our nation.”

Ray visited with the cadets on the day his command conducted an operational test launch of a Minuteman III ICBM from Vandenberg, AFB, California, as a visible demonstration of strategic deterrence for allies around the world.