Based on large-scale trends regarding Air Force planning over the 25 years from fiscal years 1962 to 1986, this report compares inputs — in the form of defense resources — with posture outputs — such as alert strategic warheads, tactical fighter squadrons, airlift ton-mile potential, etc. After examining important trends in Department of Defense and Air Force budgets, the author provides an overview of the historical Air Force posture and budget. He then presents close-ups of strategic, general purpose, and deployment capabilities. The research suggests that, over time, the enterprises that comprise the total U.S. defense effort have substantially converged, driven mainly by fiscal reality.
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