About Project AIR FORCE

Our Mission

PAF's mission is to conduct an integrated program of objective analysis on issues of enduring concern to Department of the Air Force leaders. PAF addresses far-reaching and interrelated questions: What will be the role of air and space power in the future security environment? How should the force be modernized to meet changing operational demands? What should be the size and characteristics of the Department's work force, and how can that work force be most effectively recruited, trained, and retained? How should sustainment, acquisition, and infrastructure be streamlined to control costs?

Our Beginnings

Originally known as Project RAND, PAF was established in 1946 by General H. H. "Hap" Arnold as a way of retaining the considerable benefits of civilian scientific thinking that had been demonstrated during World War II. Since its founding, PAF has remained the only Department of the 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 Department of the Air Force support over an extended period of years as well as in-the-family access by the research staff to relevant Department information and management personnel.

Research Programs

The Department of the Air Force's need for analytic support from PAF has led to the establishment of four research programs representing core capabilities:

STRATEGY AND DOCTRINE seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of geopolitical and other problems in the national security environments that affect Department of the Air Force operations. PAF maintains expertise in grand strategy; evolving security challenges; power projection; expeditionary operations; and the changing roles of air, space, and cyber power in current and future operations.

FORCE MODERNIZATION AND EMPLOYMENT identifies and assesses ways in which technological advances and new operational concepts can improve the Department of 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, mobility, long-range strike, combat air forces, command and control, space, cyber, and nuclear.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT analyzes policies and practices within three themes : (1) resilience of DAF installations, assets, and information, (2) efficient and effective allocation of resources and, (3) health of the defense industrial and technology base. The goal of the research conducted within the program is to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of operations in a resource-constrained environment.

WORKFORCE, DEVELOPMENT, AND HEALTH (formerly Manpower, Personnel, and Training) examines the Department of the Air Force's workforce size and composition, and it addresses the best ways to define, sustain, renew, deliver, and coordinate critical workforces. PAF also considers personnel development, such as training, job opportunities, and career advancement, and it analyzes the physical and mental health of the workforce. PAF's research encompasses the total workforce: active-duty, guard, reserve, civilian, and contractor personnel.

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.