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

America’s Drone Programs Matter Today More Than Ever

The Hill | October 11, 2021 | Lt Gen (Ret.) Dave Deptula | Simply put, airborne ISR conducted by UAVs over Afghanistan is a national imperative. With the completion of the withdrawal, we are left all but blind without an aerial capability that can monitor and, if necessary, rapidly strike in this under-governed, terrorist haven. More than ever, it is critical that Congress and the Department of Defense recognize this imperative and resource operational UAV
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Survey Finds Nuclear Triad Modernization Has Bipartisan Support, Former Defense Official Reports

Government Matters | October 10, 2021 | Col (Ret.) Mark Gunzinger | Col (Ret.) Mark Gunzinger, director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments at The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and former deputy assistant secretary of defense, shared the results of a survey on voters sampled to mimic the 2020 election. The survey found 91 percent of respondents thought modernizing the United States’ nuclear deterrent system should be a priority for the Defense Department. The
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Press Release: Lt Gen Dave Deptula (Ret.), Dean of the Mitchell Institute, Speaks at the 2021 RAF Diaspora Conference

On October 6, 2021, Dean Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.) spoke at the annual Royal Air Force (RAF) Diaspora Conference, which brings together the RAF officers stationed to positions across the United States to work alongside U.S. Airmen, Guardians, and other service members and DOD civilians. Gen Deptula briefed the group of over 50 RAF officers on the importance of airpower and spacepower, and the critical role our air forces will play in
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Press Release: The Mitchell Institute receives the AFA Chairman’s Aerospace Education Achievement Award

On September 22, 2021, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies was awarded the AFA Chairman’s Aerospace Education Achievement Award. The award is for long-term commitment to aerospace education, making a significant impact across the nation. Accepting the award on behalf of the Institute was its Dean, Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.). The Mitchell Institute provides insightful, pragmatic advice to top leadership in the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, and the international community of air and
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Press Release: Royal Australian Air Chief Visits AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

ARLINGTON, VA | September 9, 2021On September 9, the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies hosted aerospace power discussions with Air Marshall Mel Hupfeld, Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force. Also participating in the high-level exchange was Warrant Officer Fee Grasby, Warrant Officer of the Royal Australian Air Force. The partnership between the U.S. and Australian air forces spans the early days of airpower through world wars, far-ranging regional conflicts, and humanitarian and disaster relief
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Report: Pentagon Considering Space Weapon Reveal and Demonstration

CNBC | August 27, 2021 | Shepard Smith | Christopher Stone, Sr. Fellow for Space Studies at the Mitchell Institute Spacepower Advantage Research Center, joins Shepard Smith to discuss how the U.S. could use a classified space weapon to demonstrate a show of force in the domain.
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Mission Creep Cost the Afghanistan War; Early Airpower Victory Squandered

Air Force Magazine | August 17, 2021 | John Tirpak | Airpower rapidly achieved America’s goals in the Afghanistan War 20 years ago, but a change in the mission led inexorably to this week’s chaotic exit, Air Force Association leaders said Aug. 17. “Afghanistan will be long remembered as an unsuccessful ground war” that followed a “highly successful aerospace power campaign,” said retired Lt Gen David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
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Press Release: General Kevin Chilton Named New Explorer Chair for Space Warfighting Studies

Arlington, VA | August 18, 2021 | The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce that on Sept 1, 2021, General Kevin Chilton, USAF (Ret) will hold the Explorer Chair for Space Warfighting Studies at the Mitchell Institute Spacepower Advantage Research Center (MI-SPARC). General Chilton is a three-time astronaut, having commanded STS-76; is the first and only astronaut to Command Air Force Space Command; and concluded his military career as Commander of Strategic
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Publications

All Publications

The Eagle and the Dragon: An Opening Salvo in the Ideological Clash of the Ages

Arlington, VA | September 28, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies announces a new entry in its Forum Paper series, The Eagle and the Dragon: An Opening Salvo in the Ideological Clash of the Ages by Dr. David Stuckenberg. During the Alaska Summit in March 2021, the United States and China attempted to engage in formal dialog in an effort to ease rising temperatures between the powers. Instead, they spiked to historic highs.
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From EMD to Milestone C and Beyond: Common Issues that Affect Developmental Programs Transitioning into Production

Arlington, VA | September 15, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Forum Paper series, From EMD to Milestone C and Beyond: Common Issues that Affect Developmental Programs Transitioning into Production by Lt Gen Mark D. Shackelford, USAF (Ret.). DOD and Air Force leaders are unanimous that the United States must be able to deliver critical capabilities rapidly and at affordable costs to maintain deterrence
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Understanding American Voters’ Sentiment on Strategic Nuclear Deterrence

Arlington, VA | September 15, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Understanding American Voters’ Sentiment on National Security & Maintaining a Modern Strategic Nuclear Deterrence Posture. Since the late Cold War-era, the debate surrounding strategic nuclear deterrence has been incredibly predictable. The arms control community, on the one hand, and advocates for the nuclear triad, on the other, continue to wield
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Keynote Remarks at the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell’s Sinking of the Battleship Ostfriesland

ARLINGTON, VA | July 30, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Mitchell Forum short paper series, Keynote Remarks at the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell’s Sinking of the Battleship Ostfriesland by Lt Gen (Ret.) David A. Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. While the sinking of the Ostfriesland is incredibly significant unto itself, it’s also crucial
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Speed is Life: Accelerating the Air Force’s Ability to Adapt and Win

Arlington, VA | July 20, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Speed is Life: Accelerating the Air Force’s Ability to Adapt and Win by Lt Gen (Ret.) David A. Deptula, Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and Heather Penney, Senior Resident Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Success in tomorrow’s conflicts will largely depend on how warfighters
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A “Check Engine” Light to Accelerate Change: 21st Century Approaches for Assessing Cost-Effectiveness

ARLINGTON, VA | June 30, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Mitchell Forum short paper series, A “Check Engine” Light to Accelerate Change: 21st Century Approaches for Assessing Cost-Effectiveness by Major Stefan Katz, USAF. The Air Force and Space Force are aggressively striving to be more agile and affordable. This is a tough feat, since “agility” and “affordability” are not usually synonymous. The concept
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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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Mitchell Institute

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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

Learn more from our additional resources of studies, policy papers, forums, and other featured news articles.

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