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AFRL welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Aleah M. Castrejon 
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – Brig. Gen. Scott A. Cain assumed command of the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, during a change of command ceremony hosted by Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, commander, Air Force Materiel Command, June 5, 2023, at the National Museum of the U.S Air Force. 

Richardson expressed his gratitude to Maj. Gen. Heather L. Pringle for her impressive work as AFRL commander. In the search for Cain, officials looked for someone equally as impressive to take AFRL even further.  

Cain, who came from a position as the director of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations at Headquarters, Air Force Materiel Command, was chosen to be the 13th commander of AFRL. 
“You're inheriting a phenomenal team [of] remarkable professionals,” Richardson said. “My charge to you is to lead and take care of them, and they will take care of you. Your challenge is to take the baton and continue running with it.”
Cain said he was thankful for the opportunity to lead AFRL. 

“It truly is a dream job, and I appreciate the confidence in ‘team Cain’ moving forward onto this challenge,” Cain said.

Pringle assured Cain that AFRL is ready for his guidance and leadership. 

“They are already focused on the mission and taking that first step to expand their knowledge, explore new science and develop game-changing technologies,” Pringle said. “More than ever, they are prepared to partner across your command to deliver integrated capabilities that our warfighters need.”
Cain knows how to branch that “valley of death” by getting technologies out of the lab and into the hands of warfighters, Pringle said. 
“Most importantly, [Cain] is an exceptional leader — possessing the intellect and integrity to guide AFRL forward no matter what the future holds.”
Cain thanked Pringle for her years of leadership and said he is honored to serve in this new role.
“I'm highly motivated to be leading in this command and at a critical time in our department’s and in our nation's history,” Cain said. “I'm stepping into a strong team that has grown tremendously over your [Pringle’s] tenure. I look forward to carrying that forward momentum that we talked about and that you built.”
Cain said he plans to continue driving the efforts of One Lab, Two Services in AFRL. 
“We're here simply to drive the fight,” Cain said. “We're in a competition, and my intent is simple: advance warfighting science and technology [or S&T] to win.”

“We're here simply to drive the fight. We're in a competition, and my intent is simple: advance warfighting science and technology [or S&T] to win.”
Brig. Gen. Scott A. Cain, AFRL commander

Which doesn’t happen overnight. Cain said focus and effort must be present to affect the efforts of the fight with understanding and focus on the future.
“We must accelerate technological advancements for the Department of the Air Forces priorities,” Cain said. “We’ll drive operationally relevant science and technology and provide dominant technology to the force. We must continue to close gaps to achieve our operational imperatives, but we also need to lead discovery for technological advantage to win the future.”
Science and technology investments must be structured to efficiently provide advantages, he added.
“To accomplish these events, one of our greatest enablers is a close, enduring connection with the warfighter,” he added. “We must also grow both our world class S&T workforce and our partnerships with the research and development base.”
With AFRL being a strong lab, Cain said transformation is next. 
“We need to build our digital future and transform into the digital landscape to support digital material management,” he added. “We're One Lab, Two services, but we have to remember we're one lab in one fight. 
The mission is to discover, develop and transition technology. 
“We're at an incredibly important time for that mission, particularly with our strategic competition and our pacing challenge with China,” Cain said. “So, I look forward to driving the fight with AFRL — moving that technology to warfighting.”