Sustaining the U.S. Air Force Nuclear Mission
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA
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The biggest challenge likely to confront the U.S. Air Force USAF nuclear enterprise in the near future is how to cope with declining total obligation authority and a smaller force structure. To meet this challenge, the USAF needs to have the best processes and tools available to allocate resources across sustainment of all systems in the nuclear enterprise in a way that most efficiently and effectively fulfills its portion of the national nuclear mission. The purpose of this report is to identify ways to strengthen future nuclear deterrence capabilities by better planning and programming for the sustainment of these missions in the present. This cannot be done well by focusing alone on the sustainment of individual platforms. It requires a mission-based planning view that embraces how the various systems work together to perform a mission. For example, for a mission such as nuclear long-range standoff, this integrates the sustainment, modernization, and recapitalization plans for the W80 nuclear warhead the air-launched cruise missile that carries it the B-52H that carries the missile and the relevant nuclear command, control, and communications NC3 systems that support them. Sustainment in this context also extends to the full doctrine and policy, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities DOTMLPF set of resources, processes, and activities needed to ensure the provision of a continuous, reliable capability to fully execute the missions specified by national guidance for some duration into the future.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Nuclear Warfare