|U.S. Air Force Strategic Deterrence Analytic Capabilities: An Assessment of Tools, Methods, and Approaches for the 21st Century Security Environment
Since the early 1960s, the U.S. strategic nuclear posture has been composed of a triad of nuclear-certified long-range bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Since the early 1970s, U.S. nuclear forces have been subject to strategic arms control agreements. The large numbers and diversified nature of the U.S. nonstrategic (tactical) nuclear forces, which cannot be ignored as part of the overall nuclear deterrent, have decreased substantially since the Cold War. While there is domestic consensus today on the need to maintain an effective deterrent, there is no consensus on precisely what that requires, especially in a changing geopolitical environment and with continued reductions in nuclear arms. This places a premium on having the best possible analytic tools, methods, and approaches for understanding how nuclear deterrence and assurance work, how they might fail, and how failure can be averted by U.S. nuclear forces. U.S. Air Force Strategic Deterrence Analytic Capabilities identifies the broad analytic issues and factors that must be considered in seeking nuclear deterrence of adversaries and assurance of allies in the 21st century. This report describes and assesses tools, methods - including behavioral science-based methods - and approaches for improving the understanding of how nuclear deterrence and assurance work or may fail in the 21st century and the extent to which such failures might be averted or mitigated by the proper choice of nuclear systems, technological capabilities, postures, and concepts of operation of American nuclear forces. The report recommends criteria and a framework for validating the tools, methods, and approaches and for identifying those most promising for Air Force usage.
|Development Planning: A Strategic Approach to Future Air Force Capabilities
The development and application of technology has been an essential part of U.S. airpower, leading to a century of air supremacy. But that developmental path has rarely been straight, and it has never been smooth. Only the extraordinary efforts of exceptional leadership - in the Air Forces and the wider Department of Defense, in science and in industry - have made the triumphs of military airpower possible. Development Planning provides recommendations to improve development planning for near-term acquisition projects, concepts not quite ready for acquisition, corporate strategic plans, and training of acquisition personnel. This report reviews past uses of development planning by the Air Force, and offers an organizational construct that will help the Air Force across its core functions. Developmental planning, used properly by experienced practitioners, can provide the Air Force leadership with a tool to answer the critical question, Over the next 20 years in 5-year increments, what capability gaps will the Air Force have that must be filled? Development planning will also provide for development of the workforce skills needed to think strategically and to defectively define and close the capability gap. This report describes what development planning could be and should be for the Air Force.
|Review of Specialized Degree-Granting Graduate Programs of the Department of Defense in STEM and Management
The United States military is arguably the most intensely technological, complex enterprise in existence. When compared to the gross domestic products of other countries, the Department of Defense (DoD) budget ranks above all but about 20 nations. If viewed as a company, it would be the largest globally with the most employees. Major investments in weapons systems using advanced technologies provide an advantage over competing systems. Each weapon, platform, vehicle, and person in an operating force is a node in one or more advanced networks that provide the ability to rapidly form a coherent force from a large number of broadly distributed elements. DoD's ability to create and operate forces of this nature demands a competent understanding by its workforce of the composition, acquisition, and employment of its technology-enabled forces. Review of Specialized Degree-Granting Graduate Programs of the Department of Defense in STEM and Management focuses on the graduate science, technology, engineering, mathematics and management (STEM+M) education issues of the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. This report assesses the cost, benefits, and organizational placement of DoD institutions that grant degrees in STEM+M and evaluates alternative ways - for example, civilian institutions and distance learning - to ensure adequate numbers and high-quality education outcomes for DoD personnel.
|Review of Department of Defense Test Protocols for Combat Helmets
Combat helmets have evolved considerably over the years from those used in World War I to today's Advanced Combat Helmet. One of the key advances was the development of aramid fibers in the 1960s, which led to today's Kevlar-based helmets. The Department of Defense is continuing to invest in research to improve helmet performance, through better design and materials as well as better manufacturing processes. Review of the Department of Defense Test Protocols for Combat Helmets considers the technical issues relating to test protocols for military combat helmets. At the request of the DOD Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, this report evaluates the adequacy of the Advanced Combat Helmet test protocol for both first article testing and lot acceptance testing, including its use of the metrics of probability of no penetration and the upper tolerance limit (used to evaluate backface deformation). The report evaluates appropriate use of statistical techniques in gathering data; adequacy of current helmet testing procedures; procedures for the conduct of additional analysis of penetration and backface deformation data; and scope of characterization testing relative to the benefit of the information obtained.
|U.S. Naval Forces' Capabilities for Responding to Small Vessel Threats: Abbreviated Version of a Classified Report
At the request of the former Chief of Naval Operations, the National Research Council appointed an expert committee to examine U.S. Naval Forces' capabilities for responding to the potential exploitation of small vessels by adversaries. The Department of the Navy determined that the report prepared by the committee is classified in its entirety under Executive Order 13526 and therefore cannot be made available to the public. This abbreviated report provides background information on the full report and the committee that prepared it.