Improving Air Force Command and Control Through Enhanced Agile Combat Support Planning, Execution, Monitoring, and Control Processes

by Robert S. Tripp, Kristin F. Lynch, John G. Drew, Robert G. DeFeo


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Today's defense environment is particularly challenging because (1) significant portions of the force are continuously engaged in a variety of operations, ranging from active combat to humanitarian assistance, over wide geographical areas where the needs for force projection are often difficult to predict, and (2) there is increasing pressure to operate more efficiently. And, although there has always been the need to relate combat support resource requirements to operational objectives, today's environment requires quick combat support actions to tailor deployable support packages and sustainment actions to meet specific operational needs. Furthermore, economic pressures are likely to continue and could result in further reductions in resources that are set aside to meet contingency operations. In addition to economic pressures, the inability to perfectly predict resource demands, the need to shift funding from one category to another to meet unanticipated needs, and the occurrence of unanticipated world events that require intervention contribute to having imbalances between needed agile combat support (ACS) resources and those that are available at any given time to simultaneously meet all requirements for contingency and training operations. This monograph describes ACS process gaps and recommends implementation strategies to facilitate changes needed to improve Air Force command and control through enhanced ACS planning, execution, monitoring, and control processes. The authors recommend a standardized, repeatable process to plan, execute, and control combat support activities focused on operationally relevant metrics; reliance on global managers to identify enterprise capabilities and constraints and relay them to component numbered Air Force staffs for use in their contingency planning and execution actions; and processes for determining which combatant commanders' operations will have priority.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction, Background, and Motivation

  • Chapter Two

    Approach and Analytic Framework

  • Chapter Three

    Agile Combat Support Planning, Execution, Monitoring, andControl AS-IS Process Shortfalls

  • Chapter Four

    The Vision for Meeting Agile Combat Support Planning,Execution, Monitoring, and Control Shortfalls

  • Chapter Five

    Agile Combat Support Planning, Execution, Monitoring, andControl Doctrine, Training, and Information Systems andTools: AS-IS Shortfalls and TO-BE Improvement Options

  • Chapter Six

    Agile Combat Support Planning, Execution, Monitoring, andControl Organizational Structure: AS-IS Shortfalls andTO-BE Improvement Options

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    The RAND Strategies-to-Tasks Framework

  • Appendix B

    Agile Combat Support Annotated Bibliography

  • Appendix C

    Joint and Air Force Command Structure

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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