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Air Force Research Institute Papers

Air Force Research Institute (AFRI) Papers are written by Air Force researchers at large and military defense analysts assigned to the Air Force Research Institute, Air University, and beyond. The purpose of the AFRI Papers is to provide useful ideas and independent analysis of issues of current or potential importance to Air Force commanders and their staffs.

  •  Learning to Fight Together: The British Experience with Joint Air-Land Warfare

    Learning to Fight Together: The British Experience with Joint Air-Land Warfare

    David Ian Hall
    Applying a methodology that is best described as “inductive synthesis,” this research paper examines the elusive quest for effective integration between air and land forces in the context of joint operations. It draws on the British experience from the first attempts to provide air support for land operations in the First World War to contemporary operations in Afghanistan. The study is reflective in nature. It is not meant to be a detailed chronological account of every twist and turn in the history of army-air co-operation between the British Army and the Royal Air Force. [David Ian Hall/2009/60 pages/AP-4]
  •  Leveraging Affective Learning for Developing Future Airmen

    Leveraging Affective Learning for Developing Future Airmen

    Col Donald Tharp, USAF, Dr. Anthony Gould, and Col Robert Potter, USAF, Ret.
    This study is intended to help AF leadership and educators better understand the importance of affective learning in the development of Airmen as life-long learners. Affective learning concerns learners' attitude, motivations, beliefs, and emotions. Unfortunately, the affective domain has been a neglected area because its characteristics are not directly observable or easily measured. Consequently, most educational systems evaluate student performance against cognitive proficiency rather than against affective measures. However, it is important to realize that affect is critical to the overall learning process since cognitive learning depends on attitude, motivation, and other affective factors. It is necessary to include a learner’s emotional/cognitive state in the instructional design process to assist the learner in understanding the efficiency and satisfaction of the learning process. Instructional design that merges affective and cognitive objectives is even more critical as more instruction is conducted through distance learning without a facilitator present. An important Air Force goal should be to partner technology with the affective and cognitive domains to provide distance students with an experience similar to in-residence students. [Col Donald Tharp, USAF, Dr. Anthony Gould, and Col Robert Potter, USAF, Ret./2009/34 pages/AP-10]
  •  On the Fly: Israeli Airpower against the Al-Aqsa Intifada, 2000–2005

    On the Fly: Israeli Airpower against the Al-Aqsa Intifada, 2000–2005

    Lt Col Matthew M. Hurley, USAF
    Perhaps the greatest lesson the Israeli Air Force should have learned from the five-year campaign against Palestinian militants in the Occupied Territories was the danger inherent in planning from past success. It had long been accustomed to fight short, sharp, conventional wars. Operation Ebb and Flow demonstrates that the IAF understood urban COIN threats at least as poorly as its own role in combating them. Indeed, its overwhelming preference for the blunt application of kinetic force proved as beneficial to Palestinian terrorists as to Israel. More than any other instrument of Israeli power, the IAF united Palestinian militant groups; generated publicity and sympathy for those groups; provided incentives for terrorist recruitment; and polarized Israeli society to a degree unseen since the Lebanon War in the 1980s. [Lt Col Matthew M. Hurley, USAF/2010/66 pages/AP-2010-2]
  •  PREPARING FOR THE NEXT SPACE RACE

    PREPARING FOR THE NEXT SPACE RACE

    Paul M. Gesl, Maj, USAF
    This paper discusses the ambitions of the commercial space industry to build habitats in order to colonize space. It also discusses why space colonization is important to humanity. It then turns to the current international law framework to study if space colonization is legal. Next it looks at what legislation and policy the United States should pursue to successfully allow for colonization. It makes specific recommendations regarding both a civil and criminal law framework to ensure that there is adequate governance of initial colonies in space, without hindering future development.
  •  Reflections of a Middling Cold Warrior: Should the Army Air Corps Be Resurected?

    Reflections of a Middling Cold Warrior: Should the Army Air Corps Be Resurected?

    David R. Mets, PhD
    The need for the justification of an autonomous Air Force seems to be increasingly questioned. This article will argue the issue arises from a bad case of “presentism” that will make it inevitable that we will again be accused of having prepared for the last war in future conflicts. In this essay, the original reasons for creating the separate USAF in 1947, the ways in which the environment has changed since then, and whether or not America should revert to the old ways or bring about still further change, will be explored. There are great aviators in all the services, and those in the other services are rightly focused on the support of their own form of warfare. What the Air Force brings to the fight is not its piloting skills, but rather more of a global outlook on conflict. Those global capabilities are the principal contribution, but they also entail the capability to help the other services in a supporting role. [David R. Mets, PhD/2009/42 pages/AP-80]
  •  Resourcing General McChrystal’s Counterinsurgency Campaign

    Resourcing General McChrystal’s Counterinsurgency Campaign

    Col Matthew C. Brand, USAF
    This narrative focuses on the process that US Army general Stanley McChrystal’s operational planning team went through as it conducted its research and analysis of a variety of counterinsurgency theories applied to the difficult operating environment in Afghanistan. [Col Matthew C. Brand, USAF/2013/66 pages/AP-91]
  •  RPAs: Revolution or Retrogression?

    RPAs: Revolution or Retrogression?

    David R. Mets, PhD
    Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) are in a way merely the continuation of the old human longing for methods of striking or observing one’s enemies while remaining safe. This essay explores the advantages and disadvantages of the systems, and briefly speculates about the future of unmanned systems. Precision-guided munitions, cruise missiles, and intercontinental ballistic missiles cannot be reused, and guidance and propulsion systems are consumed with each round. RPAs have had much in common in the development of the technology with those, but are intended for reuse of the power and guidance apparatus. [David R. Mets, PhD/2010/35 pages/P-78]
  •  Shaping Air Mobility Forces for Future Relevance

    Shaping Air Mobility Forces for Future Relevance

    Robert C. Owen
    This report asks whether the national air mobility system (NAMS) of the United States will or will not be able to accomplish its full spread of mission responsibilities in an uncertain future fraught with emerging challenges and threats. More specifically, this report will examine operational, institutional, doctrinal, and technological trends shaping a useful answer to that question. That answer will recognize the unequalled readiness of the NAMS for future wars and conflicts while also identifying some of its more troubling shortfalls in specific task areas. In the end, this study will identify opportunities to mitigate those shortfalls in the near term and without breaking the defense budget, and it will propose some initial steps along a path to further reducing or even eliminating them over the longer term. [Robert C. Owen/2017/51 pages/ISBN 9781585662746/AP-2017-1}
  •  Shortchanging the Joint Fight: An Airman’s Assessment of FM 3-24 and the Case for Developing Truly Joint COIN Doctrine

    Shortchanging the Joint Fight: An Airman’s Assessment of FM 3-24 and the Case for Developing Truly Joint COIN Doctrine

    Maj Gen Charles J Dunlap Jr., USAF
    This study analyzes the pitfalls of accepting Army/Marine counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine as the joint solution. It also offers insights and ideas from an Airman’s perspective for strengthening joint doctrine development in order to deliver fresh alternatives to our national decision makers and combatant commanders. Major General Dunlap’s assessment of Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency—which regrettably reflects a one-dimensional, groundcentric perspective—is an impressive and influential document, skillfully addressing many difficult COIN issues. [Maj Gen Charles J Dunlap / 2007 / 115 pages / AP-1]
  •  Strategy for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

    Strategy for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

    Col Jason M. Brown
    Numerous reports have highlighted obstacles to the integration of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) into military campaigns and major operations. The root cause of these difficulties is adherence to a centralized Cold War collection management doctrine focused on production rather than goals and objectives. A strategy-oriented approach that balances ISR ends, ways, and means will more effectively meet commander’s needs and expectations. ISR helps decision makers anticipate change, mitigate risk, and shape outcomes. ISR strategy, therefore, is a set of ideas that integrates organizations and balances ends, ways, and means in pursuit of that purpose. [Col Jason M. Brown/2015/38 pages/ISBN 978-1-58566-246-3/AP-107]
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