PAF News Archive

  • The U.S. Air Force Is Working Harder to Retain Female Officers, and Here's How

    Aug 6, 2018

    Women are underrepresented among the U.S. Air Force's senior leadership. This could be robbing the service of the potential to improve innovation, agility, and performance. The Air Force is working to address diversity in the service, and it continues to work to improve representation of women within its ranks.

  • Improving the Effectiveness of Air Force Squadron Commanders

    May 23, 2018

    U.S. Air Force commanders around the world understand their responsibilities. But they believe that many unrecognized duties interfere with mission performance. They are generally prepared by professional education and career progression to fulfill their responsibilities, but they could use more instruction on how to command.

  • Xi's Consolidation of Power at the 19th Party Congress: Implications for PLA Aerospace Forces

    Dec 11, 2017

    Xi Jinping has emerged from the 19th Party Congress stronger than at least his past two predecessors. He solidified his grip on power and revealed significant changes to the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army.

  • Exploring Trust, Leadership, and 'Analytic Courage'

    Nov 15, 2017

    Leaders in business, government, academia, and philanthropy gathered at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica to pay tribute to the seven-decade relationship between RAND and the U.S. Air Force. Panelists discussed the importance of trusted advice to inform national security descisonmaking.

  • What Does the 19th Party Congress Mean for the PLA?

    Oct 18, 2017

    The People's Liberation Army has a lot at stake in China's Communist Party Congress. In addition to changes in military leadership, reports issued at a Party Congress invariably contain directives to the military that can add impetus to ongoing initiatives.

  • Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    Sep 13, 2017

    Recent bomber flights near Taiwan represent the most concerted training regimen yet aimed at improving Chinese airpower. China seeks to enhance the PLA Air Force's capabilities and signal Beijing's will to defend its territorial claims against the U.S. and its regional allies and partners, especially Taiwan and Japan.

  • RAND Corporation Administering 2017 Air Force Community Feedback Tool

    Sep 5, 2017

    Researchers from the RAND Corporation are administering an Air Force-sponsored survey to provide members of the Air Force community an opportunity to speak out on the challenges they face and the services they find most helpful.

  • Enhancing China's Status as a Great Power

    Aug 1, 2017

    China is investing heavily in its military modernization program as it aims to extend its power in the region as well as globally. How will China's growing ability to project power affect U.S. regional goals?

  • Five Simple Strategy Lessons for a New Secretary of Defense

    Mar 2, 2017

    Secretary of Defense James Mattis will need to lay the intellectual groundwork to fulfill President Trump's promise of “a great rebuilding” of the United States military. History suggests that how the strategies are developed may be as important to their success as what they say.

  • China's PLAAF Pilot Training Program Undergoes Major Overhaul

    Oct 27, 2016

    China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has made great strides in recent years to transform its pilot training program. PLAAF leaders understand many of the institutional and cultural weaknesses that impede effectiveness and are taking measures to address them.

  • China's Air Force Is Fixing Its Shortcomings

    Oct 14, 2016

    The prevailing view among Western observers is that Chinese fighter pilots lack the tactical mindset to engage and prevail in a dynamic, unscripted combat environment. But the PLAAF appears to have undertaken major reform in how it trains its pilots.

  • PLA Reforms and Their Ramifications

    Sep 23, 2016

    The newest round of reforms to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is expected to improve the military's efficiency, warfighting capability, and political loyalty, but entrenched interests within the PLA could lead to reluctance within the military to adjust to new realities.

  • China's Military Reorganization Aims to Tighten Party Control and Strengthen Warfighting Capabilities

    Sep 6, 2016

    Xi Jinping's sweeping reforms could result in a leaner, more combat-effective PLA that presents a more potent challenge to China's neighbors and to U.S. interests in the region. But even successful reforms will not guarantee victory on the battlefield, and any hypothetical conflict involving the U.S. would carry tremendous risks.

  • Book Review: 'China's Military Transformation,' by You Ji

    Jul 5, 2016

    China's military has undeniably made tremendous strides in recent years. You Ji's book provides a collection of interesting and often perceptive observations on political and intellectual aspects of a rapidly modernizing People's Liberation Army.

  • Xi's Purge of the Military Prepares the Chinese Army for Confrontation

    Apr 21, 2016

    Xi Jinping is relying on an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, echoing Mao Zedong's dictum that “the party commands the gun,” and implementing a sweeping reorganization of the PLA to ensure his personal dominance over the military and to strengthen its ability to deter or win future wars.

  • Taiwan Forced to Rethink Its Air Defense Strategy

    Apr 14, 2016

    Taiwan's defense problem is challenging, but it will spend a considerable sum on air defense capabilities in the coming years, and those investments could be made much more effective.

  • Will the PLA Reforms Succeed?

    Apr 1, 2016

    Reforms within the Chinese People's Liberation Army are in the process of delivering sweeping changes to its day-to-day operations, despite concerns held by some military members. Whether or not the overall implementation is successful as envisioned, assessing the operational implications of the reforms will require more time.

  • China's Naval Modernization: Where Is It Headed?

    Feb 10, 2016

    The PLA Navy is expanding its capabilities and operations to reduce vulnerabilities in China's near seas, but also to aggressively support its expanding global ambitions and challenge U.S. leadership in Asia.

  • Inside the Fish Bowl: High Stakes Acquisition Protests

    Dec 3, 2015

    The Boeing-Lockheed Martin team filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office asserting that the U.S. Air Force's selection of Northrop Grumman to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber was fundamentally flawed. Work on the program, valued at approximately $80 billion, is now paused.

  • Pakistan and China's Almost Alliance

    Oct 16, 2015

    Policymakers in the United States and throughout Asia should take note of why the Sino-Pakistani relationship has endured for so long, what each partner gets from the other, and what inherent limitations prevent the union from developing into a true alliance.

  • A No-Fly Zone Over Syria: Q&A with Karl Mueller

    Oct 15, 2015

    Some are advocating a no-fly zone in Syria to protect civilians from both ISIS and forces loyal to Assad. What constraints complicate establishing a no-fly zone and realizing its expected benefits? And how might Assad supporters, such as Russia, respond?

  • Lessons from the Past for the Future of the KC-46A

    Sep 16, 2015

    Analysis suggests that fixed-price contracts have not successfully reduced costs to the DoD associated with developing complex weapon systems. This has implications for the Air Force, given the importance of the ongoing KC-46A program.

  • Peacetime Fuel 'Tankering' Could Save $25 Million Per Year

    May 4, 2015

    Fuel tankering is carrying excess fuel on an aircraft when flying from origins where fuel is less expensive than at the destination. Tankering fuel to a conflict zone like Afghanistan is almost always cost-effective, but the story is more complex elsewhere due to how fuel is purchased and resold within the DoD itself.

  • China's Incomplete Military Transformation

    Mar 18, 2015

    Although the People's Liberation Army has made impressive progress over the past 20 years, it still suffers from a number of potentially serious problems. Understanding its weaknesses — particularly what PLA officers themselves see as the most important shortcomings — is just as critical as studying its strengths.

  • Where Commonality Can Work in a Sixth-Gen Fighter

    Mar 13, 2015

    The DoD plans to fund a Darpa-Air Force-Navy technology demonstration program aimed at developing critical sixth-generation fighter capabilities. It's a sign that the Pentagon is adopting a cost-effective strategy but it will need to remain vigilant to avoid the pitfalls that have caused previous joint fighter programs to fall short of hoped-for cost savings and to accept unwelcome design compromises.