About Project AIR FORCE

Our Mission
PAF's mission is to conduct an integrated program of objective analysis on issues of enduring concern to 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 USAF 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 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.

Research Programs

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. James Chow 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 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. Obaid Younossi 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.