Air Force Command and Control
The Need for Increased Adaptability
The study captures the results of a CSAF directed analysis on USAF command and control (C2). The study examined Air Force C2 in seven cases covering the spectrum of conflict to determine whether doctrine and organizational structures require change to fit uncertain and dynamic future scenarios. The study’s results showed that USAF C2 design must change in order to increase its adaptability. An overall goal for adaptive C2 is offered along with six questions to aid a commander in creating adaptable C2 structures. The goal of adaptive C2 is to achieve unity of effort through integration at the appropriate organizational level, enabling agility and speed of action in delivering effects. The six questions address the following issues: the nature of an operation, available resources, capabilities of subordinate units, degree of trust and confidence, political risk, and the need to exploit interaction among the speed, range, flexibility, versatility, and battlespace perspective of Air Force capabilities. The study’s concluding analysis identifies three overarching problems the USAF must overcome to attain an adaptive C2 structure: lack of clarity among command relationships, lack of confidence and trust, and lack of capability and capacity regarding USAF integration elements. Several recommendations are presented that address these issues. The recommendations include: the need to broaden the understanding of Air Force personnel on the very concept of centralized control as well as improve their comprehension of command relationships—especially support. Also, the Air Force must organize, train, and equip for organizational structures that produce C2 elements at appropriate organizational echelons. Finally, the service should create a force-development strategy for subtheater commanders.
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