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Research Questions

  1. How should the Air Force evaluate power resilience investments, drawing upon the economics literature and standard practice among a select number of public and private sector examples?
  2. How well do current Air Force processes evaluate power resilience investments?
  3. What is a recommended valuation framework, and how can it be applied?
  4. What additional issues should the Air Force consider in improving its valuation of power resilience?

This report describes how the U.S. Air Force currently sets priorities among its investments in power resilience measures, and how it could improve on decisionmaking processes to ensure that available resources are efficiently and effectively used to increase mission resilience in the face of a wide range of power outage scenarios.

The framework and recommendations presented in this report are aimed at improving the Air Force's ability to make risk-informed decisions about power resilience investments. The goals of the framework are to identify and present cost- and performance-related information in a clear manner that facilitates decisionmaking.

Key Findings

Gaps in available data hinder framework implementation

  • Implementing a systematic valuation framework of the type presented in this report requires the Air Force to collect and maintain different types of cost and performance data.
  • Cognizant of the burden any data collection effort imposes on organizations, researchers nonetheless find that data that can be easily gathered and compiled could pay dividends by improving the quality of the analysis embedded in the valuation framework.

Mission owners and base civil engineers bring different perspectives and expertise

  • Mission owners are in the best position to determine the level of power resilience required to support their mission, whether across bases, within a base across facilities or infrastructure assets, or for individual assets.
  • Base civil engineers, given their association with particular installations and physical infrastructure, bring a perspective informed by their locations and understanding of materiel solutions to power resilience problems.

Separate organizations, contracts and subcontracts, procurements, and personnel can create blind spots when identifying infrastructure-related vulnerabilities

  • Division of labor made sense when these support systems were largely decoupled from one another: when communications meant copper wire telephony, and before water-cooled air conditioners were mandatory equipment for protecting sensitive servers and other electronics. These conditions no longer apply, as interdependencies among these systems have become ubiquitous.


  • Collect data required to implement the proposed framework. Data within easy reach of gathering and compilation could improve the quality of the analysis in the valuation framework. Several of the data gaps identified could be filled by recording information that is spread among many within the enterprise in one place.
  • Increase base civil engineers' (BCEs') views into mission owners' contingency plans. This would enable BCEs to be better positioned to maintain a mission perspective when identifying and budgeting for installation needs.
  • Create a forum for evaluating incremental versus transformational power resilience options for a given mission. This proposal would help to expand the range of power resilience options considered.
  • Use standard asset management principles for routine maintenance and repairs. Routine maintenance is foundational to power resilience and should be prioritized at the highest levels of the Air Force.
  • Consolidate the budgeting and management of electricity and communication systems in investment and asset management. These systems are increasingly interdependent; consolidation would expand the options for building resilience and efficiency into these systems and streamline procurement, construction, and maintenance.
  • Consider cost-sharing to encourage mission owners to internalize more of the power costs. Mission owners could communicate a clearer signal of their willingness to share in the costs of increasing resilience and enable the Air Force's resources to be allocated more effectively.
  • Consider power resilience earlier in acquisition and strategic basing processes. By addressing power resilience needs earlier in the life cycle of systems, solutions could be more efficient, affordable, integrated, and creative.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was commissioned by Mark Correll, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure, and conducted by the Resource Management Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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