Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
Since its inception in 1947, the United States Air Force USAF has faced many challenges. Similar to all organizations, it has been shaped by the context of the world around it. Emerging threats, technological advances, shifting political priorities, and varying degrees of economic prosperity all combined to create a dynamic and challenging environment for the USAF. Through it all, however, the USAF has proven to be a pillar of national security. When called on in wars past, the USAF has exhibited overwhelming strength and resilience. Today the USAF is the most technologically advanced and capable air force in the world. Underwriting the success of the USAF has been a US economy fueled by abundant resources. The future will undoubtedly present an even more demanding strategic landscape and, at the same time, access to resources will decrease. For the USAF to continue to be a pillar of national security, it must ensure every taxpayer dollar gets the optimum return on investment. In an attempt to develop the most effective method for allocating resources, this work analyzes the evolution of resource allocation strategies in the USAF from 1947 to the present. Additionally, to provide a varying perspective, it analyzes successful business resource allocation strategies. This work investigates the proposition that a strategic resource allocation strategy guided by prioritized service core functions is the most effective method for the USAF to manage risk in a resource constrained future.