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Sovereign Options: Securing Global Stability and Prosperity -- A Strategy for the US Air Force

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Journal article

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In 2007, Congress asked the Air Force to explain its strategy for organizing, training, and equipping its forces. The question is important. The Air Force spends a great deal of effort programming its forces but surprisingly little explaining how the forces it builds support the nations needs. We say in our mission statement that we deliver sovereign options for the defense of the country and its global interests, but we have not made as much of an effort as we could to explain what sovereign options are or to link our mission to the particular mix of forces we have requested from Congress. We do our contingency planning and write our strategy memos for internal consumption, but we often neglect to share our thinking with the nation. Stated briefly, as the Air Force builds its forces, its central goal is to offer the nation a flexible mix of capabilities that allow it to act in a world of growing strategic uncertainty. We program our forces to allow policy makers to act across the spectrum of violence, from strikes against individual terrorists to major-power wars. We construct our forces to provide presidents and combatant commanders the widest possible range of options to assure friends and dissuade and deter those who seek to use violence to pursue their ends. We assemble our forces so that, when we must fight, our air, space, and cyber forces provide the nation with capabilities that maximize the chances that we will be able to pit our asymmetric advantages against our opponents vulnerabilities. The Air Force provides the United States with powerful advantages that it does not obtain from land or maritime services. We currently possess unparalleled advantages in air and space -- domains that cover the entire surface of the earth. So long as our air and space superiority forces allow us to dominate these domains, we will be able to observe any part of the planet, communicate that information to where it will do the most good, and project force to that location.

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  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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