Sustaining the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise through Officer Workforce Planning

by Brandon T. Dues

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This study examines how the United States Air Force (USAF) can sustain sufficient nuclear skills and experience within the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise. The research specifically examines the overall officer nuclear workforce's accumulated nuclear experience and determines where skill gaps exist based on the competencies required for nuclear-related jobs. Nuclear personnel without sufficient nuclear skill are less likely to adequately perform their nuclear-oriented jobs and their decreased job performance likely impairs or at least creates inefficient operations for the USAF's nuclear deterrence capability. Assuming that human capital development is one relevant factor that helps produce effective nuclear operations, this dissertation investigates how nuclear workforce policies might properly develop and sustain useful and effective human capital that consequently provides the USAF with safe, secure, and credible nuclear operations. These workforce policies will examine ways to improve the development and utilization of officer personnel within the new Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) and identify viable policy alternatives that allow Nuclear Enterprise policymakers to shape the career fields in preferred ways.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Human Capital Management: Theory and Competency-Based Analysis

  • Chapter Three

    Demand: Competencies Required for Nuclear-Related Jobs

  • Chapter Four

    Supply: Competencies Acquired in Nuclear Related Jobs

  • Chapter Five

    Gaps Between Supply and Demand

  • Chapter Six

    Modeling Nuclear Officer Development

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    US Nuclear Operations Background

  • Appendix B

    AFGSC Officer Career Field Demographics

  • Appendix C

    Officer AFSC Explained

  • Appendix D

    SEI Codes

  • Appendix E

    Nuclear Enterprise Competencies

  • Appendix F

    11B, 12B, and 13SXC Jobs by Organization

  • Appendix G

    AFGSC Organization Chart

  • Appendix H

    Job Group Cluster Analysis

  • Appendix I

    Officer Cohort Survival Analysis

  • Appendix J

    Competency Gap Statistics

  • Appendix K

    Simulation Scenarios

  • Appendix L

    Comparing System Designs to a Standard Design

  • Appendix M

    Simulation Output Data Analysis

  • Appendix N

    Common Random Numbers

  • Appendix O

    Increasing Retention Rate Distribution

This document was submitted as a dissertation in January 2011 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Bart Bennett (Chair), Ray Conley, and Jim Quinlivan.

This publication is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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