This study’s purpose is to describe the attributes of mosaic warfare and propose a notional, abstract architecture for conducting mosaic warfare against a peer adversary, such as China. The attributes, architecture, and functional relationships between the components of a mosaic force are derived from decomposing kill chains and enabled by artificial intelligence across information networks. While mosaic warfare is a framework that spans all domains and joint operations, this study focuses on the air domain. This choice is deliberate, as aerospace power has historically executed operations using attributes that one could describe as mosaic.
The NC3 system allows for positive control of all the weapons of the nuclear, and the layered enterprise that makes up this system brings together all the activities, processes, and procedures carried out by commanders and support personnel that allow for senior-level decision making on the posturing and employment of nuclear weapons. Possession of an effective and robust NC3 system “is essential for deterrence, since its existence will convince potential adversaries that any attempted surprise nuclear aggression will fail will be met with a devastating response,” the authors state.
No mission area exemplifies this struggle better than airborne long-range strike. The Air Force faces a surge in demand for bombers, with a senior leader recently explaining that combatant command demand for the type has gone up 1,100% in recent years. However, the service is struggling to meet this requirement given that it is operating the smallest bomber fleet it has fielded since the Great Depression—157 aircraft.
While airpower has undergone an incredible evolution over the past century, Stutzriem and Hurley write, the US airpower arsenal is long overdue for a revolution in the effects of the weapons carried by aircraft. The bomb body, a steel shell filled with explosives, is to this day relatively unchanged despite advancements such as precision guided weaponry, fifth generation aircraft, and modern sensors and fire control capabilities. The effects of modern general-purpose bombs have largely not changed since the advent of the Vietnam War, the authors write.
First published in 2010, Arsenal of Airpower is an authoritative resource on airpower and US Air Force history, collecting data on the service’s Total Active Inventory (TAI) of aircraft going back to 1950, all in one place. The database, as well as key insights and analysis from Ruehrmund and Bowie, will prove a critical resource for policy makers, researchers, academics and others “concerned with analyzing key trends in the evolving force structure of the world’s most powerful air force,” Mitchell’s Dean, Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.), writes in the report’s foreword.
The new report marks the first-ever research study collaboration between the Mitchell Institute and The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, and serves as an authoritative look at the dynamic space environment of the 21st century. Building on their work first published as a Mitchell Institute Policy Paper in December 2017, this expanded study features new information and perspectives on policy changes enacted via the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, key expert perspectives on evolving space issues, as well as new full-color artwork and illustrations.
Today, the US Air Force’s “Big Wing” C2 and ISR aircraft provide critical situational awareness of air and surface activity, as well as adversary intentions across the spectrum of conflict. The three in-demand assets that make up what is known as the “Iron Triad” are the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), and the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint electronic and signals intelligence gathering aircraft.
Ever since F-117 Stealth Fighters attacked Baghdad on the opening night of Operation Desert Storm, stealth technology has stood as a pillar in America’s arsenal. Stealth is and continues to be a central tenet of aircraft survivability. The ability to project power, without exposing undue vulnerability is a tremendous advantage for the United States at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
Fifteen years of dramatic growth in demand for the sensor and strike capabilities that remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) afford have left the Department of Defense (DOD) struggling to meet burgeoning mission demand. Despite efforts by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and military services to surge RPA capacity, their collective actions have been largely uncoordinated. This has yielded a disjointed enterprise where effectiveness and efficiency are not what they could have been, or can be.
Given the rapid burgeoning of the global threat environment, it is imperative that the US maintains a highly credible strategic deterrent force. ICBMs are a key piece of this force structure. However, recent decades have seen the United States assume significant risk by failing to modernize the nuclear enterprise, including ICBMS. Such investment can no longer be deferred. This study explains the unique functions ICBMs afford the strategic deterrent enterprise, and outlines a vision for the future of this critical capability. As a career professional in the strategic deterrence mission, Maj Gen Burg brings tremendous insight and informed perspective to this discussion.
The number of long-range strike (LRS) aircraft in the US Air Force inventory has dwindled from thousands in the 1950s and 1960s to fewer than 100 combat-coded B-52s, B-1s, and B-2s in service today. These reductions were driven by changes in the strategic environment, shifts in operations, technological developments, and resource constraints. Post-Cold War analysis consistently validates the need for USAF to maintain a bomber force of 150 to 200 combat coded aircraft. This report will explain these trends and provides rationale for why the US should acquire more than the Air Force’s stated buy of 100 LRS Platforms.
Whether holding hardened nuclear facilities at risk or targeting an enemy's mobile ballistic missiles, the US faces severe challenges when it comes to striking high value targets in heavily defended regions around the globe. Hypersonic air-delivered munitions hold much potential for addressing key capability gaps. While this technology has existed for decades in the science and technology community, recent achievements paired with burgeoning requirements suggest it is time to transition this capability to the operational realm.
The ability to strike targets anywhere in the world at any time to net strategic effects is a core US national security capability unique to the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike (LRS) force. However, with 87% of the country’s bomber inventory fielded before modern stealth technology, the country is exceedingly reliant upon just a handful of B-2s to reach the world’s hardest targets. This report explores how this new aircraft will feature capabilities far past those resident in legacy bombers—with particular emphasis upon what it means to achieve US national strategic imperatives in the information age.
In the early morning of January 17, 1991, the United States launched the opening strikes of Operation Desert Storm. These missions unveiled new technologies, strategies, and tactics that forever changed the parameters of war. This publication is a 25-year retrospective, which opens with a summary of how the crisis arose in the Gulf in 1990, and how the coalition responded. The second part of this report presents five key perspectives from speakers who presented at a Mitchell Institute program held March 9, 2016.
Mitchell Policy Papers
James A. Vedda, Ph.D, The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, and Peter L. Hays, Ph.D., George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute
Gen Philip Breedlove, USAF (Ret.), former Commander, NATO Supreme Allied Command, and U.S. European Command
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