Cover: How Can the Mobility Air Forces Better Support Adaptive Basing?

How Can the Mobility Air Forces Better Support Adaptive Basing?

Appendixes A–C, Supporting Analyses of Adaptive Basing, Soft Power, and Historical Case Studies

Published Jan 24, 2023

by David T. Orletsky, Julia Brackup, Christian Curriden, Adam R. Grissom, Patrick Mills, Robert A. Guffey


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The U.S. Air Force is exploring adaptive basing (AB) concepts to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. forces to growing air and missile threats and to preserve critical combat capabilities in highly contested environments. These concepts are likely to stress the U.S. Air Force's global mobility capabilities. AB concepts call for force packages to operate in mobile and responsive ways to preserve critical combat capabilities and fight from positions of advantage. Although these concepts place additional and different demands on the U.S. Air Force's global mobility capabilities, their effect on the Mobility Air Forces had not been fully analyzed.

These appendixes provide in-depth discussion of the concepts, a detailed examination of the different types of power (hard, soft, and sharp) an adversary could exert on potential allies to limit U.S. base access, and historical case studies from World War II.

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The research reported here was commissioned by the director of strategic plans, requirements, and programs at Air Mobility Command and conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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