Fiscal Year 2012 Research Agenda

Air Force personnel operate an airborne tracking laser during an experiment with future directed-energy weapons.  U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bryan D. Axtell.

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.

Strategy and Doctrine Program

Updated: 4/27/2012

A New American Grand Strategy?

Project Leader: Adam Grissom
Sponsors: AF/CV*; AF/A3/5; AF/A8; AF/A10
Level of Effort (STE): 4.0

This project will examine current shifts in national strategy and direction based on national leaders’ stated positions and debate at the highest levels, and help the Air Force to prepare for changes in the U.S.’ grand strategy.

  1. Begin by defining the contours of the current U.S. role as a global power: how the international political, economic and security systems are changing and what constraints will be emerge from the domestic U.S. political and economic environment. With regard to the emerging debate, the project will aim to help the USAF understand how strategic adjustment has worked in other times and places, and what the likely outcomes will be in coming years.
  2. Establish methodology to understand how to retain global USAF capabilities to project power in a shifting grand strategy:
    • Draws on RAND PAF’s “Scorecards,” COIN, and “Whither the MOB” work
    • Includes CAF/MAF capabilities as well as ISR, space, maintenance/sustainment
    • Explores ability to transition from COIN to Peer conflict

Impact of the Arab Spring on USAF Partnerships and Operations

Project Leader: Jennifer Moroney
Sponsors: SAF/IA; AF/A3/5*
Level of Effort (STE): 3.0

This project will examine the recent and ongoing Arab Spring activities and influences in the ME and SEA, and help the Air Force consider appropriate changes in USAF BP/BPC approaches in the region. It will include lessons learned in Libya and will build on PAF SWA posture analysis and RAND Arroyo Center work. The project will ask several questions:

  1. Do we need to think more about how to egress quickly, relocate and sustain operations?
  2. In light of Arab Spring, how fragile is U.S regional presence and posture?
    • What have we learned about effectiveness of previous BP/BPC initiatives (e.g., Egypt, Tunisia)?
    • What’s the impact of past BP/BPC on evolving US partnerships in SWA?
    • How should we think about future BP/BPC in the region?

Whither the MOB? Toward a New Overseas Basing Framework

Project Leader: Alan Vick
Sponsors: AF/CV*; AF/A3/5; AF/A8; SAF/IA
Level of Effort (STE): 4.0

Identify and assess alternative basing options that respond to new pressures on existing main operating bases (MOBs) and, specifically, are: less costly, less vulnerable to anti-access threats and more versatile across an expanding set of demands. Key study questions:

  1. Purpose of future MOBs; what forces/units/activities will be based there?
  2. What are the most cost-effective means to enhance base resiliency against anti-access threats?
  3. What are the basing implications of a) National CT strategy that is shifting toward airpower and b) Joint USN-USAF ops under Air Sea Battle?
  4. How will the future overseas MOBs fit into the broader mosaic of CONUS MOBs/support facilities and partner nation Cooperative Security Locations and Forward Operating Sites?
  5. Will USAF organizations, command arrangements and doctrine need to be changed to support a new overseas basing system?

Support to FG13 – Regional Expertise - Spiral 2

Project Leader: Eric Heginbotham
Sponsor: AF/A8*
Level of Effort (STE): 1.0

This project will provide timely, rigorous and relevant support to preparations for the FY13 Futures Game (FG13). Routine interaction and quick turn deliveries to the client will help ensure that FG13 fully accounts for complex regional dynamics—thereby leading to more realistic and meaningful game outcomes. An FY11 SDP project provided support to FG11.

Nuclear Armed Regional Adversaries (NARA) - Spiral 2

Project Leader: Forrest Morgan
Sponsors: AF/A3/5*; AF/A8
Level of Effort (STE): 1.5

Build on the legacy FY11 PAF project Conventional Conflict with Nuclear Rogues to provide further insight into the implications of prospective confrontations between the United States and nuclear armed regional adversaries (NARAs). Address prospective consequences for U.S./USAF strategy, force, and force posture—and candidate prospective responses—through the application of the analytic framework of the FY11 project. In particular, apply that strategic framework, developed on a generic NARA construct, to current and foreseeable specific NARAs and circumstances. Exploit scenario development and strategic gaming of prospective future U.S.-NARA confrontations to identify and vet candidate actions—and in particular candidate capability concepts that warrant further investigation. Seek to quantify to the degree possible the effect that presence or absence of various capability concepts may have on decision-making dynamics during prospective confrontations with specific NARAs.

China’s SE Asia Policy and Its Impact on USAF Posture

Project Leaders: David Frelinger, Eric Heginbotham
Sponsors: AF/CV; AF/A8*; AF/A/3/5; AF/A10; SAF/IA
Level of Effort (STE): 2.5

The purpose of this project is to understand the nature of evolving U.S.-China strategic competition in Southeast Asia (SEA) and the South China Sea (SCS).

  • Will draw on PAF’s FY12 Air-Sea Battle (ASB) and A2/AD (project S230), and FY11 East Asia posture work
  • Include specific task to understand what the Chinese are saying about ASB
  • Include a “Deep dive" assessment of SEA airfield requirements as case study to explore utility of alternative basing arrangements for South China Sea (Air Sea Battle), MCO and counter-terror scenarios.

Airpower in Libya: Implications for Future Strategy

Project Leader: Karl Mueller
Sponsor: AF/CV
Level of Effort (STE): 1.0

This project will draw policy-relevant lessons from the employment of airpower by the United States and its allies and partners in Libya in 2011 in order to help the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and partner nations better prepare for future military interventions. This project will center on organizing and writing an anthology volume of essays describing and analyzing various aspects of Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector.

*Primary sponsor