Air Force strategy for future dominance pivots on space, multi-domain command and control

Even when they’re not directly fighting, potential adversaries are always watching and studying. That’s something the Air Force is keenly aware of.

Lt. Gen. Tim Fay, deputy chief of staff for strategy integration and requirements, said on a Sept. 5 Mitchell Institute panel that the Air Force is looking ahead to build a force that will be able to maintain dominance into the next two decades.

Here’s what those priorities look like:

“Our chief, No. 1 modernization priority for us is fielding the ability to conduct multi domain operations by performing multi domain command and control,” Fay said. “Multi domain operations executed via multi domain command and control is about creating scale and tempo agnostic of platform or trucks. By sensing, connecting, fusing data and getting it to decision makers at speeds in ways that create multiple multi domain dilemmas for our adversaries.”

In other words, he said, the Air Force is pivoting to focus on “building highways instead of building trucks.”

But a focus on multi-domain operations wouldn’t be complete without a nod to a new domain recently rising in prominence: Space.

“Space is a contested domain. As such, US Air and Space Forces must compete, deter and win in space,” Fay said. “This will require advanced offensive and defensive capabilities, innovative theories of operational concepts in great joint doctrine. This will ensure space professionals will maintain our dominance.”

Those two priorities together, he said, would “bring this one-two punch of U.S. air and space power together with multi domain command control at times, places and volumes of our choosing.”

Paired with the ability to perform logistics in contested environments, even while under attack, Fay said this strategy will help the Air Force maintain competitive advantages far into the future.

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