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Developing Air Force Strategists: A Plan, Instead of Ad Hoc Hopes

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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The current demand in the Department of Defense DoD for better strategists and better strategic planning probably predates the establishment of the first military academies and general staffs. Studies, theses, books, and newspaper quotes offer a plethora of evidence over decades expounding on this vital requirement. In the wake of strategic miscalculations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the resultant outcry has increased in the United States, perhaps best summarized by a recent for the development of a corps of strategic military thinkers. He believed the military needed these specialists, but did not develop them to handle future report that began, The ability of the US national security establishment to craft, implement, and adapt effective long-term strategies against intelligent adversaries at acceptable costs has been declining for some decades.2 Although the call for strategists is not new, the United States Air Force USAF has not taken concrete steps to ensure that it develops and sustains a cadre of strategy specialists. In 1982, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General David C. Jones USAF called challenges.3 Almost thirty years later, the USAF has still not developed a cadre of specialized strategists. In the face of diverse and rapidly-emerging threats in an age of globalization, the U.S. and the USAF no longer have the luxury of talented strategists emerging by happenstance from outdated personnel development systems.

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