Courses of Action for Enhancing U.S. Air Force "Irregular Warfare" Capabilities

A Functional Solutions Analysis

by Richard Mesic, David E. Thaler, David A. Ochmanek, Leon Goodson


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The U.S. Air Force leadership plans in the near term to identify and implement a range of initiatives for enhancing the service's contributions to irregular warfare (IW) operations and to meet DoD guidance that directs its components to “recognize that IW is as strategically important as traditional warfare.” This monograph is the result of a “quick-turn” study to provide the leadership with a menu of actions it could consider both in the very near term and over an extended period to strengthen and expand the Air Force's capabilities to take part in joint and interagency efforts in irregular warfare. Rather than developing detailed endpoints for Air Force capabilities or structure in the future — e.g., what the USAF could look like in, say, 2015 — the authors propose solution vectors that could enable the Air Force to move out quickly while continuing to consider responses to emerging demands in a dynamic IW environment.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Engaging in Irregular Warfare

  • Chapter Three

    Exploring Courses of Action for Irregular Warfare

  • Chapter Four

    Recommendations for Successful Implementation of Irregular Warfare Initiatives

  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix A

    Snapshot Descriptions of the Irregular Warfare Initiatives

  • Appendix B

    Estimates of Resources Required for Irregular Warfare Initiatives

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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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