Oct 3, 2017
To assist the Air Force in its goal of increasing representation in the most-senior joint positions, this report examines which senior joint positions matter most and why, quantifies Air Force representation in those positions, and recommends how the Air Force might control factors shaping joint leader selection.
The joint senior leader positions most widely viewed as critical are tied to strategymaking and warfighting. Among the most critical positions are chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; combatant commands; joint task force commands; director of the Joint Staff; and the Joint Staff directors of the following three directorates: Operations (J3), Strategic Plans and Policy (J5), and Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment (J8). Airmen are underrepresented in many of these key positions.
Interviewees perceived that the Air Force may have a cultural tendency to focus on grooming its rated force for top positions inside the service rather than for joint assignments. Other factors that may be reducing competitiveness include a potential shortfall in the quality of joint experience in terms of both Washington staff work and cross-domain exposure, a lack of joint experience early in airmen's careers, a lack of focus on strategic-level education focused on interagency cooperation and geographic expertise, and an inadequate organizational structure to support the establishment of joint task forces. Before addressing these shortfalls, the Air Force should consider whether it is willing to undertake a fundamental cultural transformation by implementing reforms that will effectively elevate the importance of senior joint command over senior Air Force command.
GNA and the Rise of the Joint Community
High-Value Targets: USAF Representation in the Senior Joint Positions That Matter Most
Critical Factors That Influence Joint Senior Leader Development and Selection
Findings and Recommendations