Sept. 4, 2020 | By Rachel S. Cohen, Air Force Magazine

Lt. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris took over as head of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in a Sept. 3 ceremony, the service said in a release.

He replaces Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry, who retired this week, as the top officer overseeing the development and sustainment of Air Force aircraft, software, missiles, and more. AFLCMC encompasses a $304 billion portfolio and employs more than 28,000 people.

Morris takes the helm at AFLCMC for what could be a significant shakeup of Air Force technologies. The service is trying to phase out certain aircraft it believes are not well-suited to future combat, like certain bombers and the RQ-4 surveillance drone, while bringing on multiple high-profile systems like the KC-46 tanker, B-21 bomber, and a new nuclear, intercontinental ballistic missile.

It is also trying to embrace faster development and acquisition and focus more on forward-looking autonomous aircraft and computer systems.

“You have continued to deliver war-winning capability to our warfighters, … the kind of capability that is necessary to keep this nation safe,” he said. “We have a new Chief of Staff now, Gen. [Charles Q.] Brown [Jr.] and he has challenged us now to accelerate that even further.”

Morris previously served as head of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. He also ran the service’s weapons development programs, managed the troubled KC-46 acquisition, and led the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, which handles foreign military sales worth more than $196 billion.

He will also be the top officer at the Rapid Sustainment Office as it explores new methods of aircraft upkeep like three-dimensional printing and AI-driven repairs.

“I’m excited to see his analytic nature come to the helm of the RSO,” said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics. “You have 100 percent of my confidence. I know you will do this job exceptionally well and I look forward to working with you in this capacity and am excited to see what new ideas and new changes that you will bring.”

McMurry leaves AFLCMC after three years there and more than three decades in the Air Force. He is the only officer to command the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFLCMC, and their parent organization, Air Force Materiel Command.

“He was program manager for the F-16 and the airborne laser, where he oversaw the first mid-air track and shoot down of a beyond-line-of-sight missile from an aircraft using a laser.  It was a feat many at the time thought impossible,” the Air Force said Sept. 3.

“His plan was simple, to serve four years and then get out,” the service said. “It took him 35 years.”