On Sept. 15 the Air Force officially released the Air Force Future Operating Concept, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades.
The Air Force Future Operating Concept serves as a companion document to America’s Air Force: A Call to the Future and the USAF Strategic Master Plan and seeks to answer the question, “Where are we going?” It describes an Air Force that is the product of two decades of implementation of the strategic guidance in A Call to the Future through the USAF Strategic Master Plan.
Primarily written for Air Force planners, the Air Force Future Operating Concept explains how agility applies to Air Force warfighters, illustrating application of operational agility through the Air Force’s five core missions in 2035.
The Air Force Chief of Staff introduced the Future Operating Concept during his remarks at the Sept. 15 Air Force Association Air Force Update.
“This is an internal challenge document,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “It’s intended to make Airmen think about where we should be 20 years from now and not get comfortable with where we stand today.”
The Air Force Future Operating Concept broadly portrays how the Air Force will perform evolved core missions 20 years into the future, as part of a joint, interagency or multinational force, or independently in support of national security objectives, to provide responsive and effective Global Vigilance-Global Reach-Global Power in light of a projected future strategic and operational environment.
The Air Force Future Operating Concept provides a picture of future operations, rather than identifying specific capabilities, programs or platforms, to provide context for future force development. The ideas in the concept are subject to testing, experimentation, evaluation and assessment to validate them and/or suggest better alternatives.
“The Air Force does not presume to forecast the future; instead, we seek to develop the agility needed to succeed amidst uncertainty,” said Maj Gen Jeff Newell, the director of Air Force Strategy, Concepts and Assessments. “In this document we’ve included illustrative vignettes that serve to stimulate the imagination and articulate the benefits of committing to a path of operational agility.”
The document closes with a series of implications and direct linkages to the goals and objectives of the USAF Strategic Master Plan.
“We invite you to read this concept and visualize how its future forces will contribute to a strong national defense, support allies and partners, and help ensure a free and stable world for all,” Newell explained. “The future will be rife with challenges and surprises, but the Air Force’s heritage has demonstrated the indomitable spirit of the American Airman.”