AU Research Topics

The AU Research Topics List is comprised of questions given to Air University by organizations with the USAF and other DoD organizations. Any organization is welcome to submit topics at any time. Please direct any questions about Air University Research, which can be reached at AUResearch@au.af.edu or Commercial: (334) 953-4235 DSN: 493-4235

AU RESEARCH TOPICS LIST (RTL)

  • "Cyber threat-based mission assurance” as a service

    End to end cyber surety from penetration testing, fixing discovered vulnerabilities, optimizing defensive cyber operations as one integrated entity and unit of action. What authorities, responsibilities and resources would need to be realigned and where would that realignment best be suited?

  • Agile Talent management

    What are key components for agile talent management framework to support career long development across a diverse force?

  • Civilian Cyber Auxiliary - Civil Cyber Patrol?

    The Civil Air Patrol is a federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxillary of the USAF, with ACC as the parent command; their missions include (among others) homeland security and disaster relief operations). They enter auxiliary status when assigned a USAF mission, and are reimbursed on an “as-needed” basis. In light of the national shortage of cyber talent, how might the Air Force develop and utilize a Civil Cyber Patrol and/or a Civil Information Warfare Patrol to best protect U.S. national interests? What legal, operational, and technical challenges must ACC address to make a civilian cyber auxiliary a reality?

  • Cyber Innovation Centers & Acquisitions

    There are numerous cyber innovation eco centers that are not necessarily connected with research labs, MAJCOM A5’s, JCIDS, capability development processes, or traditional and agile acquisition processes. How can these cyber innovation centers blend into traditional requirement development and agile/traditional acquisition processes to produce in the short term sustainable capability? What should be the roles and interactions in this process for Chief Software Office (CSO), Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC), AFWERX, and Air Combat Command (ACC) as designated lead command for Air Force Cyber?

  • Cyber Threats Against Air Mobility Operations and Forces

    The non-attribution environment, immediate impacts, and lack of strong legal framework surrounding the cyber domain makes it very complicated to navigate. We aim to equip intelligence professionals with the knowledge they need to prepare mobility operators for their missions. We are currently lacking information on cyber threats (and countermeasures) that are specific to AMC operations.

  • Cyber-awareness Training Model

    Develop a cyber-awareness training model for AFNET users that provides foundational training but builds upon existing knowledge in a meaningful way and can demonstrate greater cyber awareness and positively impacts the overall effectiveness of the current annual cyber awareness training model. Consider different models, delivery methods, frequency, outcomes, concept traceability and include a curriculum arc that depicts the building of foundational knowledge to more complex concepts possibly incorporating consequences to warfighters when security lapses occur. (Cyber training for a security expert may need to be significantly different than training for the staff member working the computer at the bowling alley to ensure maximum effectiveness.)

  • Cyber-Awareness Training model for ISR Collection Managers (CMs)

    Develop a cyber-awareness training model for ISR Collection Managers (CMs) that provides foundational training but builds upon existing knowledge in a meaningful way and can demonstrate greater cyber awareness. There needs to be something to fill the current lack of familiarity among the CMs on general cyber concepts, processes, and methods to retrieve mission data, and henceforth the CMs are unable to support requirements management necessary for a Multi-Domain environment, outside of the realm of theater ISR.

  • Cyberspace Awareness/Operations Sensors

    Can we improve cyberspace awareness by improving management of “operations” sensors and their ability to enhance the staff analytics supporting decision making and execution?

  • Developing Cyberspace Infrastructure Terrain Subject Matter Expertise

    As the AF looks to defend static, adaptive and expeditionary bases, research and scope the extent to which the AF needs to develop cyberspace infrastructure terrain (POL, power, etc) subject matter expertise. What model for delivering the expertise makes sense within current tasking authorities and constructs? Use the CROWS as an example of Weapons System defense expertise, but focus on thinking thru the role of the JFHQ-Cyber and AFCYBER/16 AF Commander’s OC for linking service retained expertise (for infrastructure) with local Mission Defense Teams and Cyberspace Protection Teams (service retained) for actions. Detail AF IMSC’s current and planned investment similar to the AFMC CROWs initiative. Work into the study current HAF A4 plans to build base resiliency. Furthermore, how does adaptive bases impact future Cyberspace Squadron Initiatives?

  • Educating the Cyber Enterprise

    How do we leverage resources to educate Cyber Enterprise (e.g. the College of Information of Cyberspace)?

  • Human Resources Data standards

    Can full-time Distance Learning (DL) be an effective foreign language acquisition training medium for Cryptologic Language Analysts (CLA) who have already demonstrated a strong record of proficiency in at least one DoD-trained foreign language?

  • Joint Cyber Command and Control (JCC2) integration into Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2)

    What is the best strategy for Joint Cyber Command and Control (JCC2) integration into Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2)? Explore and expound upon risk to mission/ forces, redundancy vs resiliency, and tools required. Determine resourcing requirements as a function of scale.

  • Language Analysts in Cyber and Space Intelligence

    Can we develop analytic tradecraft and accesses for language analysts supporting cyber and space intelligence units, and develop specialized formal training courses for language analysis operating in the space and cyberspace domains?

  • Language proficiency for Cryptologic Language Analysts

    Can full-time Distance Learning (DL) be an effective foreign language acquisition training medium for Cryptologic Language Analysts (CLA) who have already demonstrated a strong record of proficiency in at least one DoD-trained foreign language?

  • Mission Risk Reduction for Security Mitigation Efforts

    What is a model that clearly depicts mission risk reduction in relation to resources expended (cost, time, manhours) for security mitigation efforts (STIG/patches/configurations/etc) allowing the mission owner and Authorizing Officials the ability to defend decisions to monitor but not mitigate risks that may have no demonstrated activities or clearly do not provide impact to the overall mission security if implemented?

  • Organic Software Development

    Can the USAF develop an organic capability to code within a squadron then have the Air Force enable infrastructure and processes that enable that code to be deployed in a controlled environment with minimal overhead requirements to the squadron?

  • Recruitment, training, development, and retention of AF intelligence personnel

    How should recruiting, training, development, and retention of AF intelligence personnel change, with the dramatic increase in the importance of data science and space-based capabilities to the intelligence field?

  • Signals Intelligence for Cyber and Space

    How can we better develop analytic tradecraft and accesses for signals analysts supporting cyber and space intelligence units, and develop specialized formal training courses for signals analysis operating in the space and cyberspace domains?

  • Strategic Empathy in Intel analysis

    How should we develop strategic empathy, the ability to identify with a competitor or adversary, to optimize analysis capability?

  • Talent management for Cyber

    What does a framework for effective Talent Management look like for the Cyber Enterprise?

  • Utilizing Internet-Of-Things (IOT) sensors or similar physical sensing systems

    How can the AF leverage in-situ or fortuitously placed Internet-Of-Things (IOT) sensors or similar physical sensing systems coupled with cyber-surveillance to collect data and information to overcome barriers to physical proximity and access and coupled with cyber-reconnaissance to collection data and information associated with adversary personnel and systems in order to meet collection and observation needs, to capture essential elements of information, and to determine the state of key adversary indicators required to mitigate information and intelligence gaps?

  • AFCENT MICAP Velocity

    End of supply chain locations across AFCENT regularly experience velocity issues with Mission Capable Awaiting Parts (MICAPs) supply items. Non-AMC MICAPs (i.e. a MICAP for a F-15E) can take upwards of 2-3 weeks from order placed to item received by requesting organization. Within the AMC system, non-AMC MICAPs are treated at 999 transportation priority and are still moved on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis from the AMC ports. Secondary issue is that transportation priority and supply priority are not always the same. Is there a possibility to connect the two into one overall priority?

  • Artificial Intelligence in Warplans

    What is the impact of artificial intelligence or intelligent automation in the development of real time generated warplans? (HQ USSF/S59/ACT)

  • C2 in Space

    Is the Air Operations Center the proper command and control structure for space superiority? (SPOC/2SWS/DOC) What is the proper structure and organizational architecture to command and control space forces to provide the NCA, USSPACECOM and the other COCOMs the space capabilities and effects they desire to achieve their objectives and end states? (USSPACECOM) Is it possible to unify military and civilian C2 networks to gain resiliency and efficiency and be ready to engage in a space conflict? If so, how? (22 SOPS)

  • Civil and Military collaboration in Space

    How can the US military best take advantage of the domestic space industry to enhance its capabilities (both technologically and in terms of infrastructure/economics)? How can the USAF integrate its launch infrastructure across both the Eastern and Western ranges to optimize and better partner with industry? What are the limitations and advantages of partnering with industry for launch on DoD facilities? (i.e. access, FPCON levels, prioritization, cost sharing, etc) What structure should launch and range take in the United States? (2 ROPS)

  • Coalition Partners in Space

    What is the feasibility of incorporating further coalition space monitoring sensors into the Space Surveillance Network (SSN)? (SPOC/DOO) What is the future of intelligence integration, such as the Combined Joint Intelligence Operations Center (CJIOC) concept, to focus coalition efforts in light of an adversary’s most likely/most dangerous courses of action in all domains? What requirements, such as norms of behavior, redlines, and rules of engagement, that need to be established, asserted, and defended to create a landscape for all coalition partners to operate within? Should coalition forces defend or support civil and commercial capabilities in an effort to find common ground to protect all party’s interests? If so, how? How can a coalition be better postured to achieve global legitimacy and support while seizing the initiative through synchronized information-effects campaigns that align with kinetic and non-kinetic joint fires? What are the constraints of globally-integrated target and effects campaign which could be used to constrain the adversary’s ability to shape the operating environment? What are exploitable gaps and seams that an adversary would seek to break up a coalition of stalwart allies focused on freedom of action in space and stopping aggressive actions? What abilities can deter and/or defeat aggression in space to maintain the advantages afforded by coalition space architectures? (USSF/S36TG) How can partner nations contribute to and participate in US-led developmental and operational efforts in the space domain? (HQ USSF/SEK)

  • Deterrence in Space

    What potential uses of the latest space technologies can serve as deterrence? (50 OSS)

  • Education of Space professionals

    How useful is a STEM degree to space operations? Is it detrimental to the USSF to make STEM degrees mandatory for all space warfighters? Is it feasible to incorporate civilian space courses into military training? (319 CTS) Can the USSF partner with universities to develop training programs to feed skilled workers into the civilian or contractor work force which operates and maintains ground based systems like radars, telemetry systems, optics, etc? (HQ USSF S36RL) What are opportunities with commercial agencies, universities, and NATO countries/allies that the USSF could take advantage of and broaden the experience of its members? (50 OSS)

  • Formation of the Space Force

    How has the creation of the USSF differed from the formation of the Marine Corps and what were the relevant pro/cons? (HQ USSF/SEF) How does inter-service rivalry contribute to the establishment of the USSF (Museum Staff) What is the correct balance of officer to enlisted to determine if the USSF needs adjustment or reallocation of personnel in officer and enlisted ranks? (50 OSS)

  • Historical Studies for Space

    How did the tracking of commercial satellites by the Commerce Department and military satellites by the Defense Department develop historically? How did that collaboration in tracking materialize? How will it evolve in the future with the establishment of the USSF? What impact did the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union have on U.S. military space strategy ? (45 SW/MU) Are there any lessons learned from post-Vietnam era that can prepare the US for CDO space operations? (SPOC/2SWS/DOC)

  • International Space Law/Responsible Behavior in Space

    What are potential Space Professional/Safe or Responsible Behaviors that would be acceptable and agreed upon by FVEY+2? What process should be used to develop them and what format should be used to codify them (MOU, treaty, etc.)? (USSF/S5I) What level of regulation should be in place for on-orbit space activities such as rendezvous and proximity operations and space debris removal for both national and international space assets? What is the threshold when a space asset is considered a threat or when an action in space is considered aggressive? (HQ USSF/SEK) What roles or responsibilities should the USSF have on the Moon, in Lunar Orbit, or in Cis-Lunar Space? (consider International Treaties, i.e. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967) (SPOC, 3 SES/MAF)

  • Language Analysts in Cyber and Space Intelligence

    Can we develop analytic tradecraft and accesses for language analysts supporting cyber and space intelligence units, and develop specialized formal training courses for language analysis operating in the space and cyberspace domains?

  • Missions for the USSF

    What roles or responsibilities should the USSF have in asteroid detection and defense?

  • Operations in Space

    Is the United States equipped and prepared to use offensive assets to neutralize enemy space assets and constellations in a timely/effective manner? (SPOC/2SWS/DOC) How does the OODA loop work in a space environment? What’s the optimal timeline needed to observe and orient before deciding? (1 SOPS) How can Space Force assure critical mission in a contested environment? (USSF/45MSG) How are Centers of Gravity (CoGs) for offensive actions prioritized regarding emerging Space Domain capabilities or Space Power projection? (HQ USSF S36RL)

  • Organizational Structure of Space Force

    Given the roles, responsibilities and missions of the US Space Force as well as guidance in the 2020 NDAA, what is the optimum organizational structures for the US Space Force and US Space Command? (USSF) How can Space Organizational Constructs evolve to facilitate enterprise responsiveness and standardization? (HQ USSF S36RL)

  • Personnel in USSF

    What is the number of new accession enlisted needed to generate future USSF CMSgts? Take into account nominal promotion rates & attrition of enlisted. Does/doesn’t that exceed current new accession enlisted today? (51 OSS) What are the motivational factors of Airmen staying in space career fields? (50 OSS) What is the number of new accession officers needed to generate future USSF general officers? (50 OSS) What are the effects of additional commercial opportunities for space professionals on retention of officers and enlisted personnel in the USSF? (50 OSS)

  • Signals Intelligence for Cyber and Space

    How can we better develop analytic tradecraft and accesses for signals analysts supporting cyber and space intelligence units, and develop specialized formal training courses for signals analysis operating in the space and cyberspace domains?

  • Space Acquisitions

    How can we expand current efforts to small businesses (perhaps through AFWERX, SBIR, DIU, etc) to create greater competition through small businesses supporting DoD efforts? Additionally, how can we better connect Venture Capital sources to these small businesses and/or programs to appropriately compete against larger defense companies? (5 SLS-MSA) Should the new Senate-confirmed assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration be wholly independent from the current Air Force acquisition chain? (USSF/S8ZX) What are the benefits/risks of consolidating budget line items along mission portfolios, such as missile warning or communications, instead of by platform (i.e. SBIRS, Next Gen OPIR, FORGE, etc…)? (USSF/S8ZX) What checks and balances could the SAE put in place to ensure Congress is comfortable allowing the Space Force to have this level of autonomy? (USSF/S8ZX) How can the USSF execute operations in order to maintain flexibility through the agile acquisitions process? (7SWS/DO) How can the current Air Force acquisitions process be altered to best suit a rapidly evolving and highly expensive CDO space environment? (SPOC/2SWS/DOC)

  • Space Debris

    How we and other nations should track space debris and avoid collisions with it? Which technologies being designed to reduce/remove it should be used? Who (nations or private entities) can/should legally remove it from orbit? (50 SCS/CDCC) Can a monetary incentive solution that forces the owner to put more thought into overall utility, lifespan, and disposal mitigate space junk? (USSF/S8ZX)

  • Space Domain Awareness

    Will space situational awareness continue to evolve in light of an increasingly congested cis-lunar space environment over the next several years? (SPOC/DOO) What are the impacts of the increased use of nanosatellites/microsatellites on space situational awareness and collision avoidance? (SPCO/2SWS/DOC)

  • Space Force Basing

    Is there a fiscal benefit to moving the 533rd Training Squadron from Vandenberg AFB to Peterson AFB when comparing the cost of such action and the potential savings in PCS/TDY costs of personnel going to Vandenberg vs Schriever for training? Is it feasible to relocating the 18 SPCS from Vandenberg AFB to Cheyenne Mtn? Would there be any What savings by shutting down Comm lines that are currently forwarding from Cheyenne Mtn to Vandenberg AFB for 18 SPCS?(50 OSS)

  • Space Force Career Fields

    Does the Space Force need to develop a “Space Maintenance” career field to maintain its weapon systems instead of relying so much on Contract Logistics Support and a handful of 3Ds? (DS4) Should Space Program Managers, Contracting Officers, and Financial Analysts career fields transition to Space Force? (30 SW/PMD)

  • Space Force culture

    With the separation from the Air Force, the Space Force needs to establish a potent identity as a separate service branch. What factors and actions do we need to consider in order to allow the cultivation of a strong Space Force culture? (2 ROPS) Given the fact that the USSF will eventually be comprised of USAF, USA, and USN Space Professionals, what are some ways that the USSF should begin to socialize, normalize, and establish a unified USSF culture/vernacular/common ground etc? (Museum Staff) How does a new organization creates its identity and culture over time? How can the USSF create its own unique identity and culture now and when the other branches are incorporated? (50 OSS) What is the impacts of Legacy Thinking by USAF organizations to the successful standup of the HQ USSF? (HQ USSF/SED)

  • Space Professional/Safe or Responsible Behaviors ?

    What Space Professional/Safe or Responsible Behaviors are acceptable to FVEY+2? In what/which existing or “new” forum(s) these “norms” should be drafted and agreed upon? What form the behaviors will codified by the participating nations (MOU, Treaty) ?

  • Tactics, techniques, and procedures for Space

    What existing/potential tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) validation methodologies are there in the intelligence community/commercial industry for Space? Need a cost/benefit analysis to determine utility/feasibility for streamlining or innovating current USAF/USSF TTP validation processes according to AFSPCI 10-260 and AFI 11-260

  • Training of Space professionals

    Development of space professionals from the Space Race to current times. What were training methods and proficiency of space-based career fields before and after the creation of Air Force Space Command? (50 OSS) Sould the USSF establish its own Space Intel tech school? (50 OSS)

  • US Space Policy

    What are the pros and cons of government or further DoD regulation of space systems? (For example, requiring registration of satellites, requiring on-orbit equipment for trackability or propulsion, fees for launching and/or occupying an orbit, disposal/clean-up fees, additional regulation of broadcast signals, etc.) (HQ USSF/SEK) If space has the potential to become the next “arms race”, what are some historical lessons-learned or not learned that could be applicable to today? (HQ USSF/SEF) What is the impact of increased accessibility to space (i.e. schools/NGOs/many foreign countries) on U.S. National Space Policy? (SPOC/2SWS/DOC)

  • US statutory constructs in Space/Space Guard

    How should USSF leverage the total force construct in manning and executing its Title 10 mission? Specifically address the roles and responsibilities a Space National Guard and Reserve force would execute and how it would augment the active duty force? In addition to Incident Awareness Assessment (IAA), what other Title 32 roles and responsibilities would the Space National Guard execute for their States? Finally, how should a Space National Guard use the State Partnership Program (SPP) to increase USSF and Space National Guard’s readiness and access while improving US partner’s and allies’ capabilities and interoperability with US forces? (USSF/NGB) Are there useful models in the statutory constructs for the National Guard or the US Coast Guard, to fashion statutory provisions that would enable the US Space Force to support/encourage/enable commercially viable space activities in the next 5/10/25 years, consistent with the CSO’s vision for military space force activities? Would any changes to the Posse Commitatus Act be necessary or helpful? (JAO)

  • Conventional Conflict's Impact On The Air Leg Of The Triad

    What are the effects of prolonged conventional conflict on the nuclear air leg capabilities? How credible will that deterrent be after engaging in a prolonged conventional conflict? Is it possible to bring mass fires effects without committing the entire strength of our bomber force, thus subjecting them to attrition? Will the U.S. still have a credible air leg after tanker losses through attrition and maintenance backlogs? How will current recapitalization programs (medium bomber and fewer nuclear certified tankers) affect the future air leg's capabilities and contribution to deterrence?

  • Trilateral Nuclear Arms

    What are the key elements of a possible trilateral nuclear arms control treaty that will maximize the value of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and enhance U.S. national security?

  • U.S. Nuclear Deterrent Posture and Effectiveness Without Nuclear Arms Control

    How might a U.S. withdrawal and renegotiation of nuclear-based treaties impact U.S. deterrence strategy and force posture against nuclear adversaries? How might this impact U.S. extended deterrence strategy and force posture in support of allies?

  • Conventional Conflict's Impact On The Air Leg Of The Triad

    What are the effects of prolonged conventional conflict on the nuclear air leg capabilities? How credible will that deterrent be after engaging in a prolonged conventional conflict? Is it possible to bring mass fires effects without committing the entire strength of our bomber force, thus subjecting them to attrition? Will the U.S. still have a credible air leg after tanker losses through attrition and maintenance backlogs? How will current recapitalization programs (medium bomber and fewer nuclear certified tankers) affect the future air leg's capabilities and contribution to deterrence?

  • Disruptive Technology's Effect On Deterrence

    What effect does disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing have on deterrence? Would quantum computing and secure communication also add to the effectiveness of our deterrent? If planning and execution were aided by artificial intelligence, would it further deter an adversary from attempting a nuclear first strike?

  • Impact of Dynamic Force Employment on Indo-Pacific Bomber Deterrence

    How can the U.S. optimize deterrence and assurance within the Bomber Task Force (BTF)/Dynamic Force Employment (DFE) construct? Shifting from Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP), how can the U.S. increase its deterrence advantage vis-a-vis China and Russia?

  • Trilateral Nuclear Arms

    What are the key elements of a possible trilateral nuclear arms control treaty that will maximize the value of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and enhance U.S. national security?

  • U.S. Nuclear Deterrent Posture and Effectiveness Without Nuclear Arms Control

    How might a U.S. withdrawal and renegotiation of nuclear-based treaties impact U.S. deterrence strategy and force posture against nuclear adversaries? How might this impact U.S. extended deterrence strategy and force posture in support of allies?

    If you are interested in submitting an article for this category, please contact Air University Research, which can be reached at AUResearch@au.af.edu or Commercial: (334) 953-4235 DSN: 493-4235
  • Agile Talent management

    What are key components for agile talent management framework to support career long development across a diverse force?

    • Diversity and Inclusion

      Diversity and inclusion should be prevalent throughout the DoD. What tangible changes can the DoD make to support the retention of women? How can we retain a diverse 21st century DAF?