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The USAF Fighter Force Structure in the 2020-2040 Timeframe

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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The USAF capability gap during transition from 4th to 5th generation aircraft requires timely analysis, debate, and resolution for the United States to effectively implement a security strategy during the 20202040 timeframe. As described by Drew and Snow in The Making of 21st Century Strategy, the military facets of our national security strategy are force development, deployment, employment, and coordination of those elements against perceived threats.1 The strategic implication of the USAF capability gap during transition from 4th to 5th generation aircraft is among the many recapitalization issues confronting the United States military. Within a global environment growing in complexity and increasing the spectrums of potential conflict, the USAF must continue to modernize the fighter fleet to meet near, mid, and long-term combat capability requirements. Key to this argument is the net assessment of our combat capability. The USAF must remain capable to deter and defeat adversaries that threaten our national interests and the adversary gets a vote. The fundamental objective of force development is acquiring cost-effective means that are necessary to deter and defeat the myriad of threats to our national interests.

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