WASHINGTON — Heather Wilson, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, will be among the keynote speakers at the 2nd annual Defense News conference September 5.

This year’s conference will bring together senior-level military and industry leaders to discuss changes in U.S. defense strategy and a return to great power competition, and what that means for procurement, technology development and international cooperation.

Other keynote speakers include Ellen Lord, under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics and Representative Adam Smith, D-Wash., the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee. Among the confirmed panelists are Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, chief of naval research; Lt. Gen. John Murray, deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Army, and likely the first Futures Command commander; Tanya Skeen, executive director of the Army Rapid Capabilities Office; and Mike Madsen, partner and head of Washington operations at DIUx.

Smith will participate in a fireside chat with Defense News Congress reporter Joe Gould. The discussion will focus on Smith’s defense budget priorities, the prospect of a democratic take over of the House after the November mid-term elections, and how the House, Senate and Trump administration might find a consensus on military spending.

The conference will also feature seven interactive panels with leaders from across the defense community. These panels include:

  • Mission Readiness: Adapting to the Evolving Threat: The services are rapidly modernizing and replacing old equipment. This panel will discuss how they are preparing forces to use these technologies against current and future threats.
  • Army Systems Modernization: Priorities for the Futures Command: As the Army pushes ahead with rearranging its modernization priorities, what tactical efforts and platforms will fall under Futures Command?
  • Multi-Domain Warfare: Defining Battlespace Operations: As modern technologies blur the boundaries between domains, effective communication and operation across services is becoming all the more important. This panel will explore the technological and operational requirements to enable multi-domain warfare. 
  • International Partnership: Defense Investments in the Era of Global Instability: The U.S. and its allies are increasing their defense investments in response to the contemporary threat environment. What are the defense spending goals, and how do they respond to global and domestic security concerns. 
  • Fleet 2030: The Vision of the Future Navy:  If 2017 was a year in crisis for the Navy and 2018 a year of recovery efforts, the next decade and beyond will shape a new path forward in system development and strategy. Hear what Navy leadership thinks needs to be done to right the proverbial ship. 
  • Military Innovation: Leveraging and Countering Future Tech: What is the Pentagon doing to adopt and defend against emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, hypersonics, directed energy and cyberwarfare? Defense leaders will chime in.
  • Autonomy and AI: Enabling Modern Warfare through Man and Machine:  Once only found in sci-fi, artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomy now stand as a central aspect to future warfighting capabilities and technologies. This panel will examine how services are adapting existing systems and investing in new technologies to enable smarter platforms and better situational awareness. 

You can get more information or register for the conference here.