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The new U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff has a reputation of only asking for what he needs. He’s going to need a lot.

WASHINGTON — In September 2016, when the U.S. Air Force’s new chief of staff, Gen. Dave Goldfein, took the stage at the service’s largest conference, he spoke of the heavy responsibility of leading the service. He said the portraits of former chiefs had eyes that followed him like “a Harry Potter movie,” and he recounted his own experience as a young F-16 pilot in combat for the first time during Desert Storm.

Then he used the speech, like his predecessors had, to lay out his goals for the Air Force.

He wanted to reinvigorate squadrons where pilots had become overloaded with administrative work. He wanted to improve joint operations in the face of emerging Russian and Chinese threats. Perhaps, most ambitiously, he wanted to create a new command-and-control enterprise that would connect the military’s legacy platforms and inject new technologies like data fusion and artificial intelligence.

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