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Reconfiguring Footprint to Speed Expeditionary Aerospace Forces Deployment

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Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Air Force has frequently been deployed overseas, often on short notice, in support of crises ranging from humanitarian relief to Operation Desert Storm. To meet these challenges, the Air Force has implemented a new operational concept, that of the Expeditionary Aerospace Force EAF, which replaces the permanent forward presence of airpower with a force that can deploy quickly from the continental United States CONUS to Forward Operating Locations FOLs in response to a crisis, commence operations immediately on arrival, and sustain those operations as needed. In the words of Air Force Vision 2020, We will be able to deploy... in 48 hours, fast enough to curb many crises before they escalate. However, quickly deploying the support structure for aerospace operations is not easy The consensus of most studies is that moving the support for a force package to an FOL with minimal infrastructure within the notional time frame of 48 hours is almost certainly infeasible given current support process organization and equipment. The equipment and people required to support a combat deployment is simply very heavy. One primary result has been a call for footprint reduction, i.e., physically reducing the amount of materiel and personnel actually deployed to FOLs. However, for many areas such as munitions, significant mass reduction will require substantial investment in new technology and development replacing a 2000-lb bomb with a smaller munition may require more sophisticated guidance, new explosives with more power, and other modifications such as new techniques for penetration.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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