Aerospace Power: An Imperative for National Security

An Imperative for the Nation

The Mitchell Institute is the only aerospace power-focused think tank in the nation’s capital. The Institute informs the national security debate, educates about the essential role of aerospace power, and cultivates aerospace-minded talent.
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In the News & Commentary

The Mitchell Institute’s editorials, media articles featuring Mitchell expertise, and other content.
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Aerospace Nation Interview Series

The Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Nation Interview Series.
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Publications

Read Mitchell Institute Research Studies, Policy Papers, and the latest entries in the Mitchell Forum Paper series.
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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events feature thoughtful commentary from decisionmakers, thought leaders, and other authoritative voices from the aerospace power community.
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Aerospace Advantage Podcast

The Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage Podcast.
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References

An Aerospace Power Reading List For National Security Professionals.
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In the News and Commentary

All News

Mitchell Institute Unveils New Website

Arlington, VA | June 3, 2021 | AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies launched a new website today, unveiling a platform that will better showcase its reports, podcasts, and video interviews with leading Air Force, Space Force, and other defense, government, and industry experts.  Amid multiplying demands for aerospace power forces, the need for deeply researched and informative insight has never been greater on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon. Mitchell studies and programs challenge
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USAF Should Adapt Industry Systems for Cyber Defense, Science Chief Says

Air Force Magazine | May 18, 2021 | The Air Force should use industry systems for cybersecurity, even the information highway that the Advanced Battle Management System will run on, because the infrastructure necessary isn’t within the service’s expertise and would require a culture and a workforce the Air Force doesn’t have, service Chief Scientist Victoria Coleman said.
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Air Force: Don’t Buy Old Combat Aircraft

Forbes | January 28, 2021 The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is facing turbulent skies. Threats from China and Russia are on the rise. The Air Force aircraft inventory is the smallest and oldest in its history and the service’s purchasing power is set to further decline amid the economic ravages wrought by COVID-19.
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US Should Pull Drones From Missile Control Regime: Mitchell Institute

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration should unilaterally declare that it will no longer subject drone sales to export control restrictions under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), says a new Mitchell Institute study. And Congress should use the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to redefine unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as aircraft, which not only remove them from MTCR restrictions but also would ease US domestic export controls, asserts the paper, “”Modernizing UAV Export Policy for
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America’s approach to command and control goes peer to peer

An old proverb says you should not put all your eggs in one basket. That is a particularly good maxim for matters military. America’s armed forces, for example, use modified Boeing jumbo jets, called JSTARS, as airborne control centres for surveillance and operations. 
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Are UFOs a threat to national security? We may find out in 6 months

Congress wants answers about whether unidentified aircraft reported by Navy pilots pose a threat to national security.
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Iran official: President Trump ‘will not be safe on earth’

Lt. Gen. David Deptula weighs in on the latest threat from Iran on ‘Cavuto Live’
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Five Persistent Misconceptions About Modernizing The U.S. ICBM Force

Since the 1960s, the nuclear triad has served as the bedrock of American national security. The triad represents nuclear deterrence in-depth for the nation: intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-equipped bomber aircraft and sea-launched ballistic missiles.
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Publications

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Building a Force That Wins: Recommendations for the 2022 National Defense Strategy

ARLINGTON, VA (June 15, 2021) | The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the release of a new research study, Building a Force That Wins: Recommendations for the 2022 National Defense Strategy, by Mark Gunzinger, Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments at the Mitchell Institute; and Lukas Autenried, Senior Analyst at the Mitchell Institute. Every four years, each administration must evaluate the global threat picture and develop an overarching framework known
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Command and Control Imperatives for the 21st Century: The Next Areas of Growth for ABMS and JADC2

Arlington, VA  | May 26, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Command and Control Imperatives for the 21st Century: The Next Areas of Growth for ABMS and JADC2 by Doug Birkey, Executive Director of the Mitchell Institute. The Air Force is at a major juncture in the development of command and control (C2) capabilities. Under the aegis of the Advanced Battle Management System
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Press Release: Honorable Matthew P. Donovan Named New Explorer Chair for Space Warfighting Studies

Arlington, VA, May 25, 2021 | The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies announced today the establishment of the new Explorer Chair for Space Warfighting Studies. The Honorable Matthew P. Donovan, Director of the Mitchell Institute’s Spacepower Advantage Research Center, will serve as the inaugural chair. The Explorer Chair is made possible by the generous support of Mr. Neal Blue, Chairman and CEO of General Atomics (GA), in San Diego, California. GA is a privately held
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Building an Agile Force

ARLINGTON, VA (May 18, 2021) | The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new Research Study, Building and Agile Force: The Imperative for Speed and Adaptation in the U.S. Aerospace Industrial Base, by Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean; and Heather R. Penney, Senior Resident Fellow at the Mitchell Institute. The U.S. Air Force is the only service that can “meet our nation’s adversaries with mass, speed, agility, and
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Accelerating Change for Rapid Global Mobility: Delivering Joint Force Success in the High-End Fight

ARLINGTON, VA | March 27, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Mitchell Forum short paper series, “Accelerating Change for Rapid Global Mobility: Delivering Joint Force Success in the High-End Fight” by General Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, USAF, Commander, Air Mobility Command. Rapid Global Mobility underpins joint force global power projection. It is integral to joint force success across the competition continuum. Without a credible,
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Understanding the Long-Range Strike Debate

Arlington, VA (April 22, 2021) — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in partnership with the Hudson Institute is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Understanding the Long-Range Strike Debate by Mark Gunzinger, Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments at the Mitchell Institute; Lukas Autenried, Senior Analyst at the Mitchell Institute; and Bryan Clark, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Defense Concepts and Technology at the Hudson
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Airpower Against the Islamic State: A Diagnostic Assessment of Operation Inherent Resolve

ARLINGTON, VA (April 6, 2021) — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Mitchell Forum short paper series, “Airpower against the Islamic State: A Diagnostic Assessment of Operation Inherent Resolve” by Benjamin S. Lambeth. Viewed in hindsight, the more than four-year-long effort against ISIS that CENTCOM launched in August 2014 turned out to have been another success story enabled largely by U.S.-led airpower, which was the deciding
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Aerospace Vectors for the Incoming Biden Defense Team

Arlington, VA (February 28, 2020) — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Aerospace Vectors for the Incoming Biden Defense Team by Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and Douglas A. Birkey Executive Director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. The Biden administration faces an array of security challenges that are as great as
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About the
Mitchell Institute

The Mitchell Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research organization established to provide fact-based policy options, inform debate, and empower our nation’s leaders.

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1,763
Air Force F-35 Procurement Requirement to Outpace Advancing Threats

Flying & Fighting
in the Modern Age

Employing successful modern combat aerospace power today and in the future demands questioning long-standing assumptions and seeking smarter ways of achieving desired mission goals.

270
The Number of Bombers Required to Meet Real-World Demand

Future Trends

Individuals engaging in tomorrow’s aerospace domain, whether at the tactical, operational, or strategic levels, will face a future far different than what they experienced in the past. The last century saw aerospace power ascend in the industrial age, when the state of the art was governed by mechanical prowess.

29.2
Average Age of an Aircraft in the Air Force Inventory

Dollars & Sense

The US Air Force is embarking upon a crucial modernization cycle. Presently, airmen are flying combat missions in aircraft that average over a quarter of a century in age. Said another way, many pilots are younger than the aircraft in which they are taking into the sky.

386
The Number of Operational Squadrons Required by the US Air Force

Analysis

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