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The authors provide a new metric — the mission-day — to assess the ability of the mobility air forces (MAF) to conduct missions, train its forces, and maintain readiness. The mission-day metric measures the availability of crewmembers to fly missions while continuing training and other activities. It can detect problems arising from the operations tempo of MAF personnel as they take part in major theater operations and support U.S. forces engaged in peacetime operations around the world. Continuing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have placed heavy demands on the MAF, and the MAF has risen to the challenge. However, the Air Force must ensure that the resources allocated to mobility operations remain sufficient to meet the continuing high level of demand. In this report, the authors apply the metric to an illustrative airlift wing and discuss how the metric might be used in planning operations at other command levels and in identifying potential or actual problems.

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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