HOW THE MILITARY CAN INTEGRATE UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS IN THE CIVIL RESERVE AIR FLEET
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The US faces significant challenges in the future in meeting multi-spectrum airpower requirements, to include combat, airlift, and other support operations. The exponential growth of unmanned aerial systems UAS in recent decades brings new capabilities and continues to fundamentally impact military doctrine and strategy, particularly in how civilian operators or contractors contribute to airpower. Tightened defense budgets and military personnel reductions present significant restrictions on UAS fleet acquisitions. To address future contingencies, the military must examine how it can meet airpower requirements as UAS technology continues to evolve. The US military augments its transportation capabilities using the Civil Reserve Air Fleet CRAF, a program proven to sustain surges in passenger and cargo airlift requirements during wartime operations. Given this successful model, this research explores and recommends expanding CRAF to include UAS for combat support and airlift roles, in comparison to a dedicated military UAS fleet or interagency augmentation. Civilian resources may provide the necessary cost advantages, technologies, manpower, and integration that will allow the US to maintain air superiority and global reach. UAS continue to benefit from research and development to expand their roles in both peacetime and wartime operations, and rapid improvements in technology in the civilian sector continue to expand possibilities for military augmentation.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations