This report describes the findings of an independent, exploratory look at how the United States Air Force plans and executes air campaigns and operations. The work is intended to identify and illuminate issues of concern to planners, including (1) the process of defining and articulating objectives, (2) requirements for intelligence support and integration, and (3) the operational responsiveness of the planning process. Based largely on interviews of USAF planners around the world, the report identifies a number of areas for future research and analysis. These include (1) the need to develop menus of possible objectives as part of the contingency planning process, (2) a recommendation for a more functionally oriented intelligence collection and assessment process, (3) a proposal for reengineering the planning process to make it more flexible and transparent, and (4) the possible exploitation of air operations groups to facilitate smoother transitions from peace to crisis to war.
Perspectives on Theater Air Campaign Planning
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