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Transforming Aerospace Power

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Journal article

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The United States is pursuing a defense strategy developed during the Quadrennial Defense Review QDR, stated in terms of shape, respond, and prepare now. The latter tenet of this strategy implies change in defense capabilities to leverage advances in technology and address operational challenges envisioned for the early twenty-first century. Certainly, aerospace power will have a key role in our future. But the real question to consider is whether this nation will develop the bureaucratic and political resolve to make the necessary investments and key decisions to truly transform aerospace power as Secretary Cohen indicates, or whether we will merely evolve the current state of aerospace affairs. To put the bottom line up front, the United States is destined merely to evolve aerospace power unless we demonstrate, in a joint setting, the capability to overcome vulnerabilities associated with technical shortfalls and operational challenges in areas such as anti-access, target identification, and force protection. Before discussing the future of aerospace power, we need to define transformation in general and differentiate it from a mere evolution of the status quo. In short, we can think of transformation as innovation on a scale sufficient to enable a discontinuous change in military affairs. Some people associate this notion of discontinuous change with a revolution in military affairs. The proposed transformation of aerospace power involves not only the pursuit of new technologies but also the adoption of new organizational structures and new operational concepts. The National Defense Panel NDP described some attributes of this transformation as it relates to aerospace power fewer numbers of short-range aircraft emphasis on short takeoff and landing multispectral stealth new approaches to long-range, precision strike and distributed, survivable, and redundant satellite systems.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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