Policy Paper Release: Fighting the Air Base: Ensuring Decisive Combat Sortie Generation Under Enemy Fire

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies invites you to enjoy the rollout for our latest report: Fighting the Air Base: Ensuring Decisive Combat Sortie Generation Under Enemy Fire, authored by J. Michael Dahm, Senior Resident Fellow for Aerospace and China Studies.

Brig Gen Michael “Jekyll” Winkler, USAF (Ret.), the Deputy Director for Air and Cyberspace Operations of the Pacific Air Forces, and Mark Gunzinger, Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, joined Mr. Dahm to explore how the Department of Defense and Congress can and must prepare the Air Force to fight from their forward air bases like any other weapon system and continue to generate combat effects while under attack. This will be critical to the success of future joint force operations.

The findings of this study illustrate how and why the Air Force and supporting military services must field cost-effective air and missile defense solutions to confound adversary targeting efforts, drive up attack costs against U.S. air bases, and remain a relevant “inside force” capable of fighting alongside America’s allies and partners. To date, neither Congress nor the Department of Defense (DOD) have adequately funded air base defense requirements. Without an immediate reversal of this trend, the Air Force may be unable to generate operationally relevant combat airpower in a near peer conflict, which would likely have devastating impacts on joint and combined campaigns. Bottom line: successful combat power begins with credible, sustainable airbase defense.

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