An Air Force Strategy for the Long Haul
CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND BUDGETARY ASSESSMENTS WASHINGTON DC
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This monograph discusses the current state of the United States Air Force and how it can better align its institutional identity and force posture to the future security environment. It offers a fiscally-constrained menu of recommendations for how that realignment might be realized over the next twenty years, with a larger force posture in mind. This paper suggests change mechanisms that will foster a break from the incrementalism that has plagued the entire national security establishment since the end of the Cold War. The change of presidential administrations and the Quadrennial Defense Review present an opportunity for Air Force leaders to inject fresh, strategic thinking into their planning to better posture their Service for existing and emerging challenges. Chapter 1 begins with a review of the command, planning, and decision-making structures of the Air Force, and then highlights key operational constructs, especially the very useful Air and Space Expeditionary Force concept. Force structure is examined, with emphasis on the handicaps of aging assets, diminished foreign basing, and costly excess domestic base structure. Fiscal constraints, including budget pressure and rising costs of fuel and healthcare, are discussed as serious as serious budgetary and operational constraints that are unlikely to diminish. Above all, two daunting challenges are posed the urgency of recapitalization and modernization despite severe fiscal constraints and the crisis of institutional confidence that has affected the Services internal dynamics and influence.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics