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The goal of the defense budget is to deliver a portfolio of capabilities to meet a spectrum of uncertain future security environments. Despite progress in recent U.S. Air Force capabilities-based programming efforts, many limitations persist, and there are many disconnects between capability assessments and programming. To help mitigate these limitations, the findings presented here reexamine capabilities-based programming by introducing a new definition of capability metrics and a new set of algorithms for building and evaluating budgeting allocations. The capability metrics relate resources to operational-level activities in national plans, apply across a range of programs, and conform to programming boundaries. The algorithms provide the programmer with a means to quantitatively and reproducibly develop programming options in light of an uncertain future security environment, serving as a means to express capabilities and risks of resource allocations in terms of national planning objectives.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Air Force Programming and Capability Assessments

  • Chapter Three

    Linking Programming Decisions with Capability Assessments

  • Chapter Four

    Algorithms for Capabilities-Based Programming

  • Chapter Five

    Applications to Policy Analysis

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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