About Project AIR FORCE
Project AIR FORCE (PAF) is the product of visionary thinking that led to a RAND-Air Force partnership now approaching its sixth decade. Originally known as Project RAND (an acronym for research and development), PAF was established in 1946 by General H. H. "Hap" Arnold as a way of retaining for the United States Air Force (USAF) the considerable benefits of civilian scientific thinking that had been demonstrated during World War II. Since its founding, PAF has remained the only Air Force federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) concerned entirely with studies and analyses rather than systems engineering or scientific laboratories. The special FFRDC status facilitates stable USAF support over an extended period of years as well as in-the-family access by the research staff to relevant Air Force information and management personnel.
The Air Force's need for analytic support from PAF has led to the establishment of four research programs representing core capabilities:
The Strategy and Doctrine Program seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of geopolitical and other problems in the national security environment that affect Air Force operations. PAF maintains expertise in defense strategy; regional analysis; the objectives and tasks of evolving joint operations; and the potential contributions of air and space power to joint operations, defense planning, and requirements for force development. Paula G. Thornhill is the director of the program.
The Force Modernization and Employment Program identifies and assesses ways in which technological advances and new operational concepts can improve the Air Force’s ability to satisfy a range of future operational demands. This research involves assessments of technology feasibility, performance, cost, and risk. PAF assesses major air, space, and cyber force components needed in the future and the systems and infrastructure supporting their operations. Areas of specialization include intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), mobility, long range strike, combat air forces, command and control, space, cyber, and nuclear. Carl Rhodes directs the program.
The Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program concentrates on questions about workforce size and composition and the best ways to recruit, train, pay, promote, and retain personnel. PAF's research encompasses the total workforce: active duty, guard, reserve, civilian, and contractor personnel. The acting program director is Raymond Conley.
The Resource Management Program analyzes policies and practices in the areas of logistics and readiness; outsourcing, privatization, and contracting; the industrial base; planning, programming, and budgeting; infrastructure; and weapon-system cost estimating. The goal of this program is to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of Air Force operations in a resource-constrained environment. Laura Baldwin is the director.
PAF also conducts wide-ranging research on topics that cut across all four programs, and it regularly responds to Air Force requests for help on urgent problems. See the Current PAF-Wide Research Agenda.