BLUF

Years spent focussing on terrorism has diverted the US Air Force from its primary mission—deterring or defeating peer adversaries.

Summary

A former USAF Air Combat Command commander argues that the USAF's budget and structure must change. Unless it changes the USAF will not achieve its primary mission: 'to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace'. The USAF is too small for Combatant Commands but too large to be modernised while maintaining combat readiness. Sustaining ageing systems and standing up Space Command are eating up the USAF budget. The USAF needs to work out how to deter cyber, biological, and asymmetrical threats. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance are crucial for effective new-generation long-range weapon systems. All of the services need to work together in 'Joint All Domain Command and Control' (JADC2), to stop duplication. Currently, the USAF budget is based on historical allocations. As a result, the USAF is not maximising deterrent value through capability. Can the RAAF learn anything from some of the issues facing the USAF?