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Air Force Research Institute Papers

Air Force Research Institute (AFRI) Papers are written by Air Force researchers at large and military defense analysts assigned to the Air Force Research Institute, Air University, and beyond. The purpose of the AFRI Papers is to provide useful ideas and independent analysis of issues of current or potential importance to Air Force commanders and their staffs.

ImageTitleDescription
 A Giant in the Shadows: Major General Benjamin Foulois and the Rise of the Army Air Service in World War IThis paper examines the military career of Maj Gen Benjamin Foulois. It emphasizes the personal qualities and professional skill that enabled him to rapidly build up and lead the air arm of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) to victory in World War I. While previous academic works have focused on Foulois’s early aviation career from 1909 to 1916 and his tenure as chief of the Air Corps from 1931 to 1935, nothing details the vital role he played in the development of the American Air Service leading up to and during World War I. [Lt Col Karl R. Schrader, USAF/2013/125 pages/AP-1204]
 AF Symposium Series 2010-2, Future Operator Symposium ProceedingsIn July 2009 the Air Force Research Institute invited more than 270 active duty personnel, 14 general officers, and Department of Defense civilians to a “Future Operator Symposium” at Maxwell Air Force Base. The objective was to discuss what operators should look like in the future by exploring developmental, training, and educational issues the Air Force may face in the next 7–10 years. To address these issues, the symposium offered 14 working groups/seminars to define the term operator, determine future operator competencies, and specify operator developmental, educational, and training recommendations to the commander, Air Education and Training Command. [Col David “Scott” Johnson, USAF, and Brian Landry, PhD/2010/30 pages/AP-2010-2]
 AFDDEC Research Paper 2007-2, The Airpower Advantage in Future Warfare: The Need for StrategyThe purpose of the study is to contribute to some reduction in America’s strategy deficit; a common and serious error is the belief that airpower theory is uniquely immature and contested. Dr. Gray argues that the United States needs a theory of war and warfare. His book also advises a frank recognition of airpower’s situational limitations as well as some important factors that detract from airpower’s effectiveness. He asserts that future warfare will be diverse and that the tactical, operational, and strategic value of airpower must always be situational. [Colin S Gray/2007/55 pages/AP-2
 AFRI Paper 2015-1, Basing Strategies for Air Refueling Forces in Antiaccess/Area-Denial EnvironmentsModern antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD) systems threaten forward-based air refueling units. To mitigate those threats, various basing options are explored: hardening of aircraft shelters and support facilities, disaggregation of refueling units among prepared bases, and agile disaggregation among more austere base infrastructures. Also discussed is the potential value of introducing a midsized “tactical” tanker to the fleet able to operate from airfields substantially shorter and more weakly surfaced than those from which the current fleet of modified airliners must operate. The study concludes by recommending greater focus on agile disaggregation, acquisition of a fleet segment of tactical tankers, and directions for further analysis. [Robert C. Owen/2015/32 pages/ISBN 978-1-58566-258-6/$6/AP-2015-1]
 AFRI Research Paper 2008-1, Expansion or Marginalization: How Effects-Based Organization Could Determine the Future of Air Force Space CommandThe Air Force Space Command is currently a domain-based organization: the command “does things in and through space.” Tomme argues instead for an effects-based organization, whereby missions are grouped according to similar effects rather than platforms and locations. Separating combat effects producers from combat support effects producers would create synergies of training and organization to produce a more effective and potent force. Under Tomme’s recommendations, the Air Force Space Command would become the linchpin for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance effects delivery for the nation. Tomme’s analysis of Space Command also has implications for the organization of the recently announced Air Force Cyberspace Command. [Edward B. “Mel” Tomme, DPhil/57 Pages/AP-3]
 AFRI Research Paper 2008-2, Taking the Lead: Russia, the United States, and Nuclear NonproliferationDr. Stephen Cimbala, distinguished professor and author of numerous books and articles on national security issues, seeks to reestablish relations on nuclear arms control between the United States and Russia. He reviews arms control history to illustrate the complexities of building agreements that will satisfy both sides and makes the point that more than just good relations between the former Cold War rivals is at stake. Cimbala suggests that only when Russia and the United States reach agreement on nuclear weapons can the case for controlled nonproliferation among the other nuclear powers proceed. [Stephen Cimbala, PhD/2008/35 pages/AP-7]
 AFRI Research Paper 2009-1, USAF Centralized Control and Decentralized Execution: A Catchphrase in CrisisLieutenant Colonel Hinote applies the Air Force tenet of centralization versus decentralization to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and suggests that the urgent need for improved communication between air and ground forces. Relying on the teaching of the theoretician B. H. Liddell Hart, who emphasized the role of compromise in combat, Hinote sees communication between air and ground forces as a necessity. [Lt Col Clint Hinote/2009/95 pages/AP-6]
 AFRI Research Paper 2009-2, Learning to Fight Together: The British Experience with Joint Air-Land Warfare Applying a methodology that is best described as “inductive synthesis,” this research paper examines the elusive quest for effective integration between air and land forces in the context of joint operations. It draws on the British experience from the first attempts to provide air support for land operations in the First World War to contemporary operations in Afghanistan. The study is reflective in nature. It is not meant to be a detailed chronological account of every twist and turn in the history of army-air co-operation between the British Army and the Royal Air Force. [David Ian Hall/2009/60 pages/AP-4]
 AFRI Research Paper 2009-3, Understanding Airpower: Bonfire of the FallaciesThe general purpose of this monograph is to help prevent or reduce error in debates over all aspects of airpower. Since we humans, our institutions and procedures, and our behavior are friction prone and apt to err, it is sensible to try to diminish the pile of assumptions, beliefs, attitudes, and opinions that are plainly wrong. Much of the eternal debate on defense issues cannot usefully be approached with a view to locating error. But, large swathes of frequently contested debating terrain can be cleared definitively. As a scholar it is my duty to “recognize and eliminate the weeds” of falsehood to which Clausewitz referred in one of the epigraphs to this text. This study examines and exposes nine fallacies. [Colin S. Gray/2009/39 pages/AP-5]
 AFRI Research Paper 2009-4, Challenging Nuclear AbolitionTough choices regarding defense spending and national security strategy are likely to come in 2009 and 2010, and may significantly affect nuclear weapons policy. Although the president’s efforts to develop a “new New Deal” may overshadow shifts in nuclear weapons policy, the president may oversee an unprecedented change in the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons and the policy governing their use. “Modernizers” and “abolitionists” will attempt to influence President Obama’s nuclear weapons policy. Modernizers believe that the United States must develop a new warhead and advanced delivery platforms if the nation wishes to maintain the most advanced and secure nuclear arsenal in the world. Abolitionists see an opportunity to oversee substantial reductions in the number of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems. This paper takes a critical look at the fundamental arguments offered by abolitionists and conclude that the rationale offered, while admirable, is utopian and makes predictions about human behavior that are not supported by historical example or logic, which must be relied on when examining nuclear deterrence. [Adam Lowther, PhD/2009/54/AP-8]
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