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Research Questions

  1. How does dispersed basing affect combat support resource requirements, and how many operating locations can be supported?
  2. Where should combat support resources be stored and maintained to enable rapid deployment and employment of forces in the Pacific theater?
  3. How vulnerable are U.S. air bases in denied environments, given current and planned capabilities?
  4. What is the right mix and level of investment in active and passive defense materiel solutions to ensure resilience against a range of adversary kinetic attack strategies?

This report documents the modeling framework Project AIR FORCE (PAF) developed to analyze the support of combat operations in a denied environment. The models help illuminate combat support requirements, basing posture vulnerabilities, operational resilience, and capability trade-offs. Specifically, the modeling framework addresses four questions: (1) How does dispersed basing affect combat support resource requirements, and how many operating locations can be supported? (2) Where should combat support resources be stored and maintained to enable rapid deployment and employment of forces in the Pacific theater? (3) How vulnerable are U.S. air bases in denied environments, given current and planned capabilities? (4) What is the right mix and level of investment in active and passive defense materiel solutions to ensure resilience against a range of adversary kinetic attack strategies? The PAF framework consists of four models. The Strategic Tool for the Analysis of Required Transportation (START) estimates manpower and equipment requirements to support a given basing posture in a combat scenario. The RAND Overseas Basing Optimization Tool (ROBOT) identifies the least-cost allocation of war reserve materiel. The Theater Air Base Vulnerability Assessment Model (TAB-VAM) analyzes trade-offs among basing strategies, determines the effect of adversary attacks on sortie generation, and examines the effectiveness of threat mitigation options. The Theater Air Base Resiliency Optimization Model (TAB-ROM) finds the most cost-effective way to improve sortie generation against a range of enemy attack strategies for a given scenario. Together these models can inform decisions concerning force posture, cost-asymmetric investments, and theater-shaping strategies in denied environments.

Key Findings

Project AIR FORCE's Modeling Framework Can Help Evaluate Support of Combat Operations in Denied Environments

  • The Strategic Tool for the Analysis of Required Transportation (START) estimates manpower and equipment requirements to support a given basing posture in a combat scenario.
  • The RAND Overseas Basing Optimization Tool (ROBOT) identifies the least-cost allocation of war reserve materiel.
  • The Theater Air Base Vulnerability Assessment Model (TAB-VAM) analyzes trade-offs among basing strategies, determines the effect of adversary attacks on sortie generation, and examines the effectiveness of threat mitigation options.
  • The Theater Air Base Resiliency Optimization Model (TAB-ROM) finds the most cost-effective way to improve sortie generation against a range of enemy attack strategies for a given scenario.
  • Together these models can inform decisions concerning force posture, cost-asymmetric investments, and theater-shaping strategies in denied environments.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Strategic Tool for the Analysis of Required Transportation

  • Chapter Three

    RAND Overseas Basing Optimization Tool

  • Chapter Four

    Theater Air Base Vulnerability Assessment Model

  • Chapter Five

    Theater Air Base Resiliency Optimization Model

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusion

  • Appendix

    Notional Scenario

Research conducted by

This report was sponsored by AF/A4/7 and AF/A3/5, by Air Force Materiel Command and the Policy branch of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and by the Pacific Air Forces, and was conducted within the Resource Management Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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