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The post-Cold War era has ushered in an unprecedented need for responsiveness on the part of all U.S. services to fast-moving, rapidly evolving contingencies around the globe. Ready access to overseas installations, foreign territory, and foreign airspace has assumed particular importance to the United States Air Force (USAF), the majority of whose aircraft are configured to operate from bases relatively close to their intended targets. Accordingly, this report outlines an approach that the USAF can take to secure such access across a wide range of potential contingencies. The report begins by analyzing the variables that have affected other countries' decisions either to grant or to deny the United States access, and it then discusses the tools that are available to the United States to help ensure such access in the future. Subsequently, the report evaluates the effects that less-than-optimal basing and access might have on future USAF operations and the manner in which such effects might be mitigated. The demands that military operations other than war might impose on the USAF are similarly assessed. Finally, the report offers a set of recommendations that, taken together, constitute the basis for a global access strategy aimed at rendering the USAF better equipped to meet its access and basing needs - and hence to perform its missions both rapidly and effectively - in the future.

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