Change — in international relations, in technology, and in society as a whole — has become the idiom of our age. One example of these changes has been an increasing recognition of the value of air and space assets for handling nearly every contingency from disaster relief to war and, consequently, increasing demand for such assets. These developments have created both challenges and opportunities for the U.S. Air Force. This, the fourth volume in the Strategic Appraisal series, draws on the expertise of researchers from across RAND to explore both the challenges and opportunities that the U.S. Air Force faces as it strives to support the nation's interests in a challenging technological and security environment.Contributors examine the changing roles of air and space forces in U.S.national security strategy, the implications of new systems and technologies for military operations, and the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security strategy. Contributors also discuss the status of major modernization efforts within the Air Force, and the bill of health of the Air Force, as measured by its readiness to undertake its missions both today and in the future.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Price of Success
The Geopolitical Context for Aerospace Power
Forces for What? Geopolitical Context and Air Force Capabilities
The Future of U.S. Coercive Airpower
Where Does the USAF Need to Go?
Modernizing the Combat Forces: Near-Term Options
U.S. Military Opportunities: Information-Warfare Concepts of Operation
Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security Strategy for a New Century
Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction and Ballistic Missiles
Supporting Future Forces
Providing Adequate Access for Expeditionary Aerospace Forces
A Vision for an Evolving Agile Combat Support System
Strategic Sourcing in the Air Force
Ready for War but Not for Peace: The Apparent Paradox of Military Preparedness