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 survivability on near-immediate timelines,” as it highlighted in its 2022 posture statement. Yet it is the oldest and smallest that it has ever been, and for decades the service has been unable to effectively transform and scale its force design into one that is positioned to meet the nation’s future security needs.

The problem isn’t simply budget. Decades of acquisition behavior have decreased competition, forcing the defense industry to consolidate, focus on system integration, and shift profit centers away from innovation and production and toward sustainment. In this report, Heather Penney explores how the Air Force can rejuvenate the aerospace industry to achieve a force that can innovatively outpace peer adversaries.

The Mitchell Institute’s Research Studies serve as an authoritative avenue for innovative, in-depth, insightful, and effective ideas and solutions for strengthening America’s aerospace power.

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