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Fighter Basing Options to Improve Access to Advanced Training Ranges


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The 2018 National Defense Strategy emphasizes the need for the United States to restore warfighting readiness and field a lethal force capable of defeating aggression by a major power. One element in meeting this goal is enabling units to train in an environment that is sufficiently representative of the threats posed by a major power. For U.S. Air Force (USAF) fighter pilots, this means training at ranges with appropriate airspace, threat emitters, targets, and electronic support measures. The USAF has determined that few, if any, existing training ranges have the capabilities to provide fighter pilots with advanced training. The Office of the Director of Training and Readiness, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force is developing an operational training infrastructure investment plan to upgrade certain ranges with sufficient capabilities to provide fighter pilots with advanced training. This investment strategy shifts the current distributed investment across 30-plus ranges to a more-focused investment in fewer ranges. In addition to range upgrades, the USAF may also consider potential fighter squadron restationing options that would improve access to upgraded training ranges. This report details RAND Project AIR FORCEs (PAF) framework, tools, and analysis showing the potential effectiveness of different combinations of range upgrades and squadron restationing while also considering costs and risks. The research reported here was commissioned by the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy and conducted within the Resource Management Program of PAF as part of a fiscal year 2019 project entitled Optimal Basing Posture for U.S.-Based Forces.



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