Episode 12 – Securing Tomorrow’s Skies: A Conversation with ACC Commander General Mark Kelly

Episode Summary

The Mitchell Institute is proud to release episode 12 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast: Securing Tomorrow’s Skies: A Conversation with ACC Commander General Mark Kelly. One of the Air Force’s key mission areas is gaining air superiority—a crucial objective given that no military function can succeed if subject to attack from hostile airpower. While the service is in the midst of modernization with types like the F-35, it must also think about the capabilities it seeks to procure in future decades. General Kelly provides insights into this process and how he expects the mission to evolve given the future threat environment.

Full Topic Guide

In Episode 12 of the Aerospace Advantage host John “Slick” Baum welcomes Air Combat Command Commander General Mark Kelly to the show to discuss the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program and future air platforms with Co-host and Mitchell Institute’s Dean, Lt Gen (ret.) David Deptula.

Stealth, sensors, computing, real-time data links merged with advanced performance characteristics has evolved the way in which we fight. We operate in a world where long-range strike capabilities and stealth will allow us to take down an enemy before they even know we are there. These capabilities are not cheap, and money is tight, so we need to plan ahead and be prudent in our choices. When we imagine the platform that will rule the skies in the 2030s and 2040s, we need to start planning that aircraft today. That is what the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program seeks to address.

What does that fighter, or the NGAD platform look like and what capabilities do we need to maintain U.S. air dominance? To describe what he envisions as being critical to the NGAD program and future or air warfare, Gen Mark Kelly joins the show.

Time Marks

1:26 – Lt Gen (ret.) David Deptula joins Baum to describe the state of fifth gen, and the future for air dominance

8:14 – Gen Mark Kelly describes what the requirements for the NGAD program are from a military standpoint

16:12 – Gen Mark Kelly discusses the macro-level picture of what NGAD means for the future

21:22 – Gen Mark Kelly explores the importance of the migration from a kill chain to a kill web for the future of aerospace warfare

31:24 – Gen Mark Kelly talks about the importance of training and the Air Force’s Reforge program in getting pilots ready for the next generation of air warfare


Host: Lt Col John “Slick” Baum, USAF, ret.

Co-host: Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF, ret.

Producer: Daniel C. Rice

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Gen Mark Kelly, USAF

Share Article