Maj Gen William T Cooley

Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory

Talk Title: Adapting S&T for Future Force Development




Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley is the Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for managing a $2.5 billion Air Force science and technology program and an additional $2.3 billion in externally funded research and development. He is also responsible for leading a government workforce of approximately 6,000 people in the laboratory’s nine component technology directorates and the 711th Human Performance Wing.

General Cooley entered the Air Force in 1988 through the ROTC program after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in mechanical engineering. He entered active duty in January 1990 after completing a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and went on to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in engineering physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

General Cooley served in a variety of technical management, leadership and staff positions including commanding at the group and wing level. His assignments include Director, GPS Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command; Commander, Phillips Research Site and Materiel Wing Director, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory; System Program Director for operational command and control programs; Program Manager, Air Force Distributed Common Ground System; Defense Sector Program Manager, Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan, Kabul; Program Element Monitor for Military Satellite Communications, and staff officer at the Warrior Preparation Center, Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany. Prior to assuming command, he was the Program Executive for Programs and Integration, Missile Defense Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.


This presentation will provide an historical perspective of changes in technology and the critical need to recognize these changes and adapt strategies and tactics to deliver warfighting capabilities at the speed of relevance and necessity. The current technology climate will be described followed by an elaboration of Air Force Science & Technology Strategy objectives. These objectives include: 1) Develop and Deliver transformational strategic capabilities for the Air Force; 2) Reform the way science and technology is led and managed through the appointment of an Air Force Chief Technology Officer; and 3) Deepen and expand the science and technology enterprise through an increased focus in partnerships and adopting agile and innovative business processes. The transformational objective will focus on strategic capabilities that support the vision to dominate time, space, and complexity across all operating domains. These areas include: 1) Global persistent awareness (cyber intelligence); 2) Resilient information sharing (quantum); 3) Rapid, effective decision making (AI); and 4) Speed & Reach of disruption and lethality (hypersonic flight). Included is a discussion of what and how to adjust in the S&T portfolio to adapt to changes and methods to transition technologies rapidly to the warfighter.