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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Content

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

Responses to Russian anti-satellite tests should be more about capability than condemnation

Defense News | December 1, 2021 | Christopher Stone | It is time for the United States to move beyond the strategic restraint posture coupled with the international shaming response to such ASAT testing events. The fact is, China and Russia are intent on creating a new norm where ASAT kinetic weapons testing is a key component of their deterrence and warfighting strategies. The U.S. must leverage its military institutions, like U.S. Space Command, to
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Reviving A “Weak” Department Of The Air Force

Forbes | October 25, 2021 | Lt Gen (Ret.) Dave Deptula | The Air Force has repeatedly tried to get Congress to allow it to retire its old aircraft and reduce its excess infrastructure to free up funds inside its own budget allocation to invest in modern capabilities, all to no avail. Now it is time for plan B. Without Congressional approval to retire its old aircraft, or to close excess infrastructure, and without any
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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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Publications

All Publications

Affordable Mass: The Need for a Cost-Effective PGM Mix for Great Power Conflict

Arlington, VA | November 29, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Affordable Mass: The Need for a Cost-Effective PGM Mix for Great Power Conflict by Col Mark A. Gunzinger, USAF (Ret.), Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments at the Mitchell Institute. A corollary to the maxim that “you go to war with the forces you have” is that you also
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Reimagining the MQ-9 Reaper

Arlington, VA | November 18, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Reimagining the MQ-9 Reaper by Maj Gen Lawrence A. Stutzriem, USAF (Ret.), Director of Research at the Mitchell Institute. The United States now faces an extremely broad set of threats, including peer competitors like China and Russia, nuclear ambitious adversaries North Korea and Iran, and non-state actors like ISIS and
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The Future Fighter Force Our Nation Requires: Building a Bridge

ARLINGTON, VA | October 26, 2021 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new Research Study, The Future Fighter Force Our Nation Requires: Building a Bridge, by Heather Penney, Senior Resident Fellow at the Mitchell Institute. The U.S. Air Force’s fighter force is in crisis. After three decades of canceled, curtailed, and delayed investment in fighter aircraft modernization, the nation now finds itself in major need of these capabilities with far
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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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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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