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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.

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The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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