By Capt. Eydie Sakura
AFIT, Education with Industry Fellow
Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief executive officer and founder, answers questions about machine learning, automation, robotics and space at the inaugural re:MARS conference in Las Vegas June 6, 2019. (Photo by Capt. Eydie Sakura/U.S. Air Force)
LAS VEGAS – A group of Air Force Education with Industry fellows were invited to attend the Amazon re:MARS event where machine learning, automation, robotics and space were the driving force behind the conference June 4-7, 2019.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief executive officer and founder, provided a keynote address on the MARS topics — providing insight on tourist travel to space, going back to the moon, launching low-orbit satellites for worldwide broadband, and exploring the moons of Jupiter.
Bezos said to several thousand in attendance that you don’t say “I’m right on this, go do this,” you say “I want you to gamble with me on this.”
“You have to be willing to take risks,” Bezos said. “If you come up with a business idea and there’s no risk there, it’s probably already being done.”
Tech. Sgt. Armando Cabrera, Air Force fellow and intelligence specialist, said he saw the re:MARS conference like a sporting event, where people watch games to improve their skills.
”We watched and listened to the best people in their fields discuss new ideas and lessons learned,” Cabrera said. “The best practices we have learned will improve our skills and [ultimately] see the problem set differently.”
Attending re:MARS reframed the view of the changing world for Maj. Garrett Hernandez, Air Force EWI fellow and logistics officer.
“Integrating these advanced automation and robotics technologies into the logistics and maintenance missions will help Airmen generate Airpower safer, faster, and more reliably – ultimately building a foundation to boost lethality and readiness,” Hernandez said.
Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and military strategist from 770–255 BC, would call this "contentious ground" or ground possession of which imports great advantage to either side, said Capt. John Radovan, Air Force EWI fellow and weather officer.
“[It] not only showcased the latest advances in contentious ground, they also highlight the possibilities these advances could bring,” he said. “Re:MARS introduced me to concepts and technology that have fundamentally changed the way I see the world. In a National Defense context, we need to be able to read the tea leaves to see where the next big discovery will lead to an asymmetric advantage on the battle field.”
EWI, a program sponsored by SAF/AQH and managed by the Air Force Institute of Technology, is a highly selective, competitive non-degree educational assignment within an industry related to the fellow’s career field.
The program is designed to develop qualities and abilities in selected officers and civilians necessary for effective management, professional, and technical leadership; and to provide an understanding of organizational structure, management methods, and technologies of modern industry. By studying the best practices of industry, students are able to bring new knowledge, understanding, and empathy back into the Air Force to improve its processes. In turn, the company benefits by receiving the fellow’s experience and perspective.
(Left) Maj. Garrett Hernandez, Tech. Sgt. Armando Cabrera and Capt. John Radovan, Air Force Education with Industry fellows, pose after doing a flight simulation in the Blue Origin capsule at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas June 6, 2019. The capsule, which would sit atop a 60-foot-tall rocket, would bring “space tourists” to the K?rm?n line, the internationally recognized line of space. The capsule would then return to Earth as the capsule’s parachutes deploy for a gentle landing back in the West Texas desert. (Photo by Capt. Eydie Sakura/U.S. Air Force)
(Right) Capt. Eydie Sakura, Air Force Education with Industry fellow and public affairs officer, spends time learning about machine learning, automation, robotics and space at the re:MARS conference in Las Vegas June 6, 2019. (Photo by Maj. Garrett Hernandez/U.S. Air Force)