WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, officially stood up the Program Executive Office for Advanced Aircraft during an Oct. 2 ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The new office was created to transform the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program into the Air Force’s Digital Century Series initiative, using digital engineering, modular opens systems architecture, and agile software development to design advanced airplanes faster and enter production with a significantly lower learning curve. The Digital Century Series aims to improve the speed and flexibility with which aircraft can be fielded by using all-digital design and manufacturing technologies, but will not alter the warfighting technologies pursued in NGAD.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center aligned office will be led by Col. Dale White. Until recently, he served as the PEO for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces, and was responsible for the acquisition execution of a $22 billion portfolio, developing, producing, testing, modifying, fielding, and sustaining Air Force ISR and SOF platforms and related sub-systems.
During the event, Roper expressed confidence in White’s ability to lead the new organization, citing his creative and out of the box thinking. He also talked about the urgency of the new organization’s mission to include engaging industry and fielding technologies faster.
“I am turning to this program and to Dale in particular to find a way to bring the best technical expertise that we have to bear, to understand industry’s business case – because if it’s not good for industry it’s not going to happen – to see if there’s a way we can continue innovating, doing things smaller, faster, more agile where you don’t have to necessarily be a company that can build a thousand things to work with us,” said Roper. “I have the utmost confidence that if there’s a yes to be found in this universe you [White] will find it.”
White is a highly experienced acquisition professional with a wide variety of scientific, acquisition, and operational planning assignments involving space, cyber, and aircraft systems, and including assignments at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Headquarters Air Intelligence Agency and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO).
While at the RCO he was the Senior Materiel Leader and System Program Director for the B-21 Raider Program, where he led the highly classified program through acquisition planning, milestone development, and program execution.
“The mission placed before our team today will be tough, but is a must do to keep this nation on solid footing on a global stage,” said White. “We are no longer assured the super power prominence we once held and we are now forced to reach back to our roots and relearn those attributes that made us the nation we are today. For those that will be part of the new team, thank you for what you’ve done and what you will do.”
White ended by thanking his former team in the ISR & SOF Directorate, and highlighting the organization’s accomplishments of the past year and a half, to include delivering more than 60 aircraft, approximately 60,000 pieces of special warfare gear and over 600 aircraft modifications.