Normalizing RPA Operations: The Time Is Now
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE United States
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The United States Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft RPA community developed under a state of constant combat-surge operations and is rapidly approaching 65 sustained RPA combat air patrols CAPs. As a result of this combat focus, the community has not experienced normalized garrison operations. As the requirements in United States Central Commands USCENTCOM area of responsibility AOR begin to lessen, other Geographic Combatant Commanders GCCs are requesting additional RPAs. This transitional phase provides an opportunity to normalize RPA operations. The Air Force should take advantage of this shift in global operations to establish a normalized steady state operational framework for the RPA community. To accomplish this, the USAF must ensure consistent strategic emphasis on RPA steady state sustainability and readiness, counter poor international and domestic public perceptions of RPAs, provide operational priority to dedicated training, and establish a method for centralized global management that maximizes RPAs inherent economies of scale. These steps are necessary to facilitate full spectrum readiness for all geographic combatant commands.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics