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 to AUResearch@au.af.edu.
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What are key components for agile talent management framework to support career long development across a diverse force? (HAF A2/6)
Changes in global climate is transforming the context in which the Department operates. What challenges does this present? How can the DoD adapt to the challenges it presents? (2022 National Defense Strategy)
How does the Air Force transfer people, mission sets, R&D, and equipment to the Space Force?
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?
The Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget requests funds to ensure the service is capable of conducting “logistics under attack,” something USAF considers key to success in a highly contested environment. The CSAF is looking for “initiatives focused on more agile, resilient, and survivable energy logistics—from bulk strategic supplies to deliveries at the tactical edge.” He also supports the idea of “expeditionary logistics under attack,” saying the service needs to provide “agile and survivable forward communications” to defend against an attack in cyberspace.
As advances in computing are implemented in JADO, what are the ethical implications of increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning?
What historical C2 lessons are relevant for the JADC2 construct?
What are the critical inter-dependencies that must be defended and exploited between the domains?
What are some innovative ways that the USAF can develop Airmen? Analyze the pros and cons of these methods.
What does JADC2 mean for coalition and interagency partners? How can the Joint Force address the classification challenges of operations across domains with interagency partners and coalition partners?
Should it be centralized or decentralized headquarters? Should the CAOC be forward deployed or CONUS-based? Should component headquarters be co-located? How can we disperse the functions and personnel but keep the high end C2 available to execute Airpower doctrinally (centralized controlled and decentralized execution)? (PACAF/CC)
Should JADC2 become a career field in its own right, with specialized training and qualifications?
What impact will JADO have for decentralized execution/tactical initiative? How does the USAF move from centralized command and decentralized execution? How can we go about pushing down authority and responsibility to the lowest level? (PACAF/CC)
What are the essential information requirements for JADO? How does JADC2 overcome the problem of multiple incompatible networks that are used in contemporary C2?
How do we integrate the Space Force into JADO?
What do mission type orders look like in JADO?
For successful to JADO, how and when should a joint culture be inculcated into military leaders?
How does the USAF manage, train and equip for JADO?
How does the Space Force develop a "warfighting" mindset? Does the Space Force need a "warfighting" mindset?
Are there useful methods of blind spot analysis that could be utilized to uncover obsolete, incomplete, or incorrect assumptions? What role do historical case studies play in overcoming blind spots? How can the study of lessons learned from recent operations provide valuable insights to help the DoD avoid these pitfalls? (JSOU)
How can the USAF optimize current Cyber Force Structure? (HAF A2/6)
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? (ACC/A6O)
Can AI be harnessed to analyze forensic data and patterns of life to assist the ISRD in building ISR packages? Can it analyze real-time data to assist re-tasking of existing assets in theater? (319 RW)
Develop better simulations of fuel usage that can inform mission planning tools or provide benchmarks for anomaly detection in real-time or post-mission analysis. (SAF/IEN)
What are the critical cyber vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the CCP/PLA? What are critical weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Chinese military networks? (US Cyber Command)
What are CCP/PLA tactics, techniques, procedures, and standard operating procedures for military and civilian government responses to cyber incidents? How do CCP/PLA cyber teams cooperate with each other? (US Cyber Command)
How has changes within the PLA aerospace forces' DOTMLPFP contributed to their effectiveness in this mission/activity? (CASI)
How does China leverage commercial entities to support its cyberspace operations? (US Cyber Command)
How does CCP/PLA senior leadership task the various cyber-actors: government and proxies? (US Cyber Command)
TOPIC SPONSOR: JSOU
The Civil Air Patrol is a federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary 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? (ACC/A3/2/6K)
What off-the-shelf Artificial Intelligence capability could be quickly incorporated into the AOC? (PACAF/CC)
What are foreign terrorist organization (FTO) cyber tactics, techniques, and procedures? What are the trends in FTO cyber operations? How do FTOs use commercial entities to enable cyber operations? What are the trends in FTO use of technology and social media platforms? (US Cyber Command)
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? (ACC/A5K)
Compare and contrast how sister services, key coalition partners (United Kingdom, Australia, Canada), and Fortune 500 companies attract, manage and maintain Cyber talent. Identify successes and pitfalls encountered when attempting to retain a healthy cyber mission force poised to operate effectively in the Offensive, Defensive, Expeditionary and DoD Infrastructure domains. Provide recommendations on what the USAF could do better to entice, develop, and maintain long term careers in cyber to better ensure hard earned experience and talent is passed onto future generations of cyberwarfare Airmen. Should the CMF have its own separate standards for career progression, to include rewards and promotion consideration? If so, what would that structure look like? Reference Government Accountability Office (GAO) report 19-362 that validates the need to maintain a trained CMF. (ACC/A3/2/6KO)
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. (423 MTS)
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.) (ACC/A6O)
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. (ACC/A22C)
What is the relationship between cybercriminal groups and state actors? Is there a command and control or tasking relationship? When do cybercrime and/or ransomware operations reach a threshold that constitutes a national security risk, not just a law enforcement matter? (US Cyber Command)
How can the AF gain strategic, operational, and tactical advantage over peer and near-peer competitors in future conflicts leveraging Cyber-Physical System (CPS) concepts to effectively identify, characterize, defend against, and respond to cyber-threats and attacks across all AFIN enclaves, coupled with advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing? (ACC/A6O)
Can we improve cyberspace awareness by improving management of “operations” sensors and their ability to enhance the staff analytics supporting decision making and execution? (CO-IPE (STRAT))
Can Army notions of data convergence in the tactical realm be extrapolated and applied in the information warfare environment to achieve automation of data sharing across functions and domains? (16 AF)
What is DPRK's process for developing cyber tools? Do various DPRK cyber entities cooperate and coordinate operations? If so, how? Do DPRK cyber entities cooperate with other state cyber actors? What are the locations, numbers, and structure of DPRK cyber actors and organizations? (US Cyber Command)
What is the DPRK policy and doctrine for cyberspace operations? What are DPRK's cyber red lines? What cyber actions by other nation states might cause the DPRK to escalate to the use of military force? (US Cyber Command)
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? (ACC/A2)
How do we leverage resources to educate Cyber Enterprise (e.g. the College of Information of Cyberspace)? (HAF/A2/6)
What states are investing in military cyber capabilities and may emerge in the next 5-10 years as new advanced threats to the U.S. and our allies? (US Cyber Command)
In response to the 27 June 2019 SecAF/CSAF memorandum on EMS Superiority, how does the Air Force re-instill a culture of EMS/EW awareness throughout the force? Draw on lessons learned from efforts of other services and, if time and space allow, include recommendations for the Joint Force as well. In what ways should the AF consider electronic spectrum operations a part of the emerging concept of Information Warfare and what is the cyber ops role within the broader set of activities? (ACC/A3/2/6K)
What are the strategic and operational goals and desired end states key foreign adversaries seek to realize through election influence and/or interference? What do key foreign adversaries perceive to be U.S. red lines pertaining to election interference, influence, and disinformation operations? How might foreign influence operations targeting elections graduate to interference and what are the most likely and most dangerous outcome scenarios? Do these scenarios differ by adversaries? How might key foreign adversaries using or intend to use synthetic media, artificial intelligence, deep fakes, cheap fakes, shallow fakes, and other new emergent technologies to interfere or improperly influence U.S. elections? How are key foreign adversaries engaging in languages other than English to influence U.S. policy, popular attitudes, or election discourse in ways favorable to the adversary? (US Cyber Command)
What are some potential defensive measures for mitigating the threat of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)? (AF-A8)
How might the emergence of hacktivists impact state dynamics in cyberspace during a conflict? For example, what effect did hacktivists have on Russia during the early months of the Ukrainian invasion? (US Cyber Command)
How should the AF and DoD organize itself to optimize development of Information Warfare capabilities? (HAF/A2/6)
What are Iranian cyber tactics, techniques, and procedures? What are the trends in Iranian cyber operations? How does Iran use commercial entities to enable cyber operations? How reliant is Iran on foreign technologies for development and procurement of cyberspace capabilities? (US Cyber Command)
What are Iran's policy, strategy and mission objectives for conducting cyberspace operations? What does Iran perceive as U.S. or partner red lines regarding cyberspace operations? What geopolitical events and/or actions would drive an Iranian retaliatory cyberspace attack against the U.S. or our allies and partners? (US Cyber Command)
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. (ACC/A5K)
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? (480 ISRW)
What is a model that clearly depicts mission risk reduction in relation to resources expended (cost, time, man-hours) 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? (ACC/A6O)
What defines the nationality of an autonomous system? How does this affect their operational employment? (AF Futures)
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? (16 AF)
How does Russia use commercial entities to enable cyber operations? (US Cyber Command)
How reliant is Russia on foreign technologies for development and procurement of cyberspace capabilities? (US Cyber Command)
What are Russia's policy, strategy and mission objectives for conducting cyberspace operations? What does Russia perceive as U.S. or partner red lines regarding cyberspace operations? What geopolitical events and/or actions would drive a Russian retaliatory cyberspace attack against the U.S. or our allies and partners? (US Cyber Command)
What are Russia's security services cyber tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs)? What are the trends in Russian cyber actor TTPs? (US Cyber Command)
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? (480 ISRW)
How should we develop strategic empathy, the ability to identify with a competitor or adversary, to optimize analysis capability? (HAF/A2/6)
What does a framework for effective Talent Management look like for the Cyber Enterprise? (HAF/A2/6)
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? (ACC/A22C)
A study on the geostrategic, political, and military implications of the continued standoff between China and India, including lessons learned of the PRC’s handling of the situation through military actions, media communications, and world politics. (PACAF)
How does China's global expansion impact the aerospace domain? (CASI)
Analysis of China's use of soft power, particularly its use of economic power. (CASI)
How has changes within the PLA aerospace forces' DOTMLPFP contributed to their effectiveness in this mission/activity?
What are China's national-level policies that are directly related or partially overlap with the aerospace industry or domain? (CASI)
What is the balance of civil-military relations in Chinese strategy? (OSD)
Analysis of PRC's naval capabilities. (CASI)
What is the Communist Party / Peoples' Liberation Army (CCP/PLA's) propaganda apparatus structure, strategy, and capabilities? (US Cyber Command)
What foreign irregular armed groups have the PRC supported in the past or continue to support? What nonviolent civil resistance movements have the PRC supported in the past? What types of support was provided to such groups in the past and how effective were they? What non-state organizations does the CCP United Front have relationships with today? What are the most effective influence methods employed by the United Front? (JSOU)
What are the PRC views of specific US military systems, what threat they pose, and discussions of countering these systems? (CASI)
What are the PRC views of US military operations and what lessons can be learned from those operations? (CASI)
How does the PRC and PLA view U.S. military forces in the Indo-Pacific region? (CASI)
What role, if any, did USAF programs, postures, or concepts play in the changes to the PRC’s Strategic Guideline (zhanlue fangzhen)? To what extent did USAF investments in the Cold War impose costs on the PRC? What enduring sensitivities or proclivities shape the PRC’s military investments? As the PRC’s nuclear force structure changes, what opportunities exist to improve the security, reliability, and surety of the PRC’s nuclear command, control, and communications and what steps can the DAF take to support such improvements or reduce vulnerabilities? What other opportunities exist for imposing costs via the nuclear enterprise? (HAF/A5SM Strategic Assessments)
PACAF requires analysis to help develop methodologies to accurately, succinctly, and effectively capture the cumulative impacts of Operations, Activities, and Investments (OAI) over time on PRC perceptions and behaviors and PACAF desired objectives. (PACAF/A303)
Provide a historic analysis of PRC military provocation toward Taiwan through the lens of politics (US administration, PRC leadership, TWN leadership), PRC military capabilities, US regional posture, economic context, and information environments. (PACAF)
For example, how does General George Kenney’s approach in the South Pacific compare to what will be required in a future conflict with China? (AMC/CC)
How could the DoD utilize human rights as a weapon system against strategic competitors? (JSOU)
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? (AF/A10P & AF/A3K Checkmate)
Using unitary analysis or comparative analysis, examine either or both of the USAF/Joint Force and PLA’s capacity to absorb new capabilities and concepts into demonstrated operational utility, identifying recommendations for accelerating change and innovation at scale within the USAF and DoD. (HAF/A5SM Strategic Assessments)
How do we as a coalition of the willing in the INDOPACOM AOR gain parity and subsequently surpass regional actors in IAMD architecture to a level that will deter China from military action and if not, leave the coalition in a position to effectively execute combat operations in the region without being overwhelmed by emerging threats? (PACAF/PIC)
Analysis of the PLA's personnel. (CASI)
What are the command authorities and decision making processes within the PLA? (CASI)
What is overall state of morale within the PLA? (CASI)
How does the organization of the PLA and its command culture affect how the PLA makes decisions and fights? (CASI)
How does the PLA conduct political work? How does the PLA perceive political work contributing to force effectiveness? (CASI)
How effectively can the PLA's acquisition system translate requirements into delivered systems? (CASI)
What is its ability to emulate, innovate, develop, prototype, refine, and finalize aerospace systems? (CASI)
How are they connect to the state and military? To what extent can they support military requirements? (CASI)
Analysis of PRC's "Military Civil Fusion" strategy. How does the MCF support PLA operations in aerospace domains? (CASI)
What are the opportunities and challenges surrounding Russia-China cooperation? (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
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? (87 LRS)
Explore emerging trends on alternate fuels (non-traditional, non-petroleum, more generally than CO2), and analyze the logistical impact from other countries as they move towards increased use of sustainable aviation fuels and how this may impact the ability for the Air Force to support operations, particularly in the Pacific and European theater. (SAF/IEN)
Conduct an analysis to support the positioning aircraft to increase overall cargo capacity utilization, specifically to reduce dead legs and improve aircraft positioning for increase mission readiness. (SAF/IEN)
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)
Quantify fuel burn and flight time savings for fighters by increasing max range airspeed faster than the standard refueling speed. (SAF/IEN)
The DoD through GHE builds partnerships w/ other nations to strengthen security cooperation and partner capacity through health-related activities and exchanges. Air Force Medical Services GHE efforts strive to promote: -Force Readiness: GHE improves capacity and capability of the United States and partner nations, enabling our military to deploy fully capable w/the fewest resources necessary. -Interoperability: GHE w/Integrated Health Services improve interoperability w/partner nations, ensuring mutual benefit from partnerships during contingency operations. -Proactive Stability: Maintains preparedness, resilience and confidence in partner nations' governance. -Gateway to Cooperation: through GHEs, the DoD can build trust while gaining and maintaining access to strategic areas of interest. (AMC/87 HCOS)
Use modeling and simulation to provide heuristics or other shortcuts that can connect improvements in fuel efficiency to capabilities valued by operators. This is centered around the OPLAN or similar campaign scenarios. This would be useful as it connects engineering-level analyses of physical improvements in aircraft fuel efficiency to operational metrics. (SAF/IEN)
Antiterrorism training aims to provide insights into possible (or real) threats against military facilities and installations. The low cost of entry for UAV/UAS use means that this is a new means of surveillance and harmful activity against defense operations and service member – both overseas and at home. What are examples of emerging threats of UAVs/UASs and TTPs of those groups that employ them? (423 MTS)
The future of Air Mobility with respect to Bypass Theory and the evolution of the Critical Path for Air Mobility. (AMC/CC)
How and why does Russia execute expeditionary operations? Analyze Russian expeditionary operations. (Russia Strategic Initiative)
Analyze Russia conduct supply chain operations against the US/NATO. (Russia Strategic Initiative)
Analysis of in-space logistics. (HQ USSF S36RL)
How does the United States integrate the allied and partners industrial base to generate and sustain mass in a future conflict? (AF Futures)
Is the Air Force prepared to continue critical logistics and re-supply operations despite the presence of a chemical or radiological hazard? What logistics strategies and guidance will enable the U.S. to achieve success in even the most austere environments available? (AF/A10S)
Recent AFRL/AFSOC work, such as the CLEAVER project, demonstrates the feasibility of launching large numbers of small, potentially long-range air vehicles from cargo aircraft. The use of large numbers of such vehicles in combat would be a new CONOPs for the DAF. How can these vehicles be used across a wide range of roles in support of the NDS requirement to prevail in combat against both near-peer and regional competitors? How does the cost of solutions including CLEAVER-type systems compare to the costs of alternative approaches to the same military requirements? (AFRL)
An observed effect of the increased use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is an improvement in top-line fuel efficiency across the Air Force. A mission substitution analysis is requested to better understand the effects, namely on fuel consumption, of substituting manned aircraft with RPAs. A mission substitution analysis is also needed to better understand which missions (e.g. ISR/Strike/EW/counter-UAS) in permissive/semi-contested environments can be accomplished with more fuel efficient aircraft/RPAs. What are the additional benefits to various aircraft substitutions (e.g. increased fuel savings, enhanced mission capabilities, aircraft sustainment, etc.) (Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Operational Energy (SAF/IEN))
With limited resources, what Air Force actions should be prioritized to ensure compliance with Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) while maintaining operational proficiency? (AF/A10P)
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)
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)
Develop a relatively high-fidelity simulation of an average year of training for a unit (ideally F-16 or F-35) to develop comparative metrics that can inform the basing process. (SAF/IEN)
Sustainment solutions for fuel and munitions in the Pacific theater. (PACAF/A4DX)
How can the USAF continue classified training in the COVID environment? (423 MTS)
Describe, analyze, and provide recommendations to overcome challenges associated w/ integrating manned and un-manned aircraft in the National Airspace System. (319th Operations Group)
How can the Air Force more effectively crowdsource solutions to capability and capacity gaps across the industrial military complex while balancing security concerns? (PACAF/A8X)
How can data tools drive analytical collaboration at the tactical level, and create white space for decision makers to maintain a decision advantage across the conflict continuum? (480 ISRW)
In what ways from both a conceptual and modeling/simulation standpoint can we start to include DLOs that exercise converging capabilities to effectively compete with our adversaries in the information environment? (16 AF)
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? (HAF/A2/6)
The information function encompasses the management and application of information and its deliberate integration with other joint functions to influence relevant-actor perceptions, behavior, action or inaction, and support human and automated decision making. What are the Air Force implications for Information being designed a joint function by the Chairman? Is the emerging service concept of information warfare distinct from information operations as defined by Joint Publication 1-2? If so, how? (ACC/A2)
Can we develop a repeatable process for developing cross-functional Analysis and Exploitation Teams that are capable of producing high-quality reports that meet Theater Joint Force Air Component Commander requirements within three months of initial team establishment? (480 ISRW)
Given the complexities of human behavior and decision making, how should the joint force approach operational assessment in the information environment? How can the Air Force enable that approach through the application of new tradecraft, data science, behavioral analysis, and sensors?
How do we determine the optimal organizational construct to be most effective for a squadron leadership team? Is a squadron construct even the best organizational construct for P3 Airmen? Identify the ways in which other services and interagency OPCON/ADCON relationships are task organized for effectiveness. (480 ISRW & 693ISRG)
How might we more effectively plan for unexpected, or “black swan” events, that might negatively affect critical military operations? (480 ISRW)
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? (HAF/A2/6)
How can RPAs support JADO in the future? (319 Reconnaissance Wing)
What is the impact of artificial intelligence or intelligent automation in the development of real time generated warplans? (HQ USSF/S59/ACT)
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)
Topic Sponsor: SPOC/DOO
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)
What potential uses of the latest space technologies can serve as deterrence? (50 OSS)
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)
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)
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)
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)
What roles or responsibilities should the USSF have in asteroid detection and defense?
Develop a game to teach the foundations of space operations and space engagements in a fun and repeatable fashion. Provide a representative experience, underpinned by realistic physics, in the hands of Airmen to prepare them for increasingly complex on-orbit operations.
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)
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)
Topic Sponsors: 51 OSS & 50 OSS
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)
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)
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)
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 savings by shutting down Comm lines that are currently forwarding from Cheyenne Mtn to Vandenberg AFB for 18 SPCS?(50 OSS)
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)
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) ?
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
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)
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)
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)
Analyze the Russian concept of use for space and counter-space operations. (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
Analyze the posture of Russia's military and security forces.
Analyze Russian defense industry initiatives.
Analyze Russia's Theory of Competition.
Analyze Russia's long-term Arctic strategy. (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
Analyze Russia information warfare. (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
Analyze Russian views and theories of deterrence.
Analyze the Russian way of war. (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
Analyze Russian concept of domains. (Russia Strategic Initiative)
What are Russia's goals regarding NATO? The EU? (Russia Strategic Initiative)
What are areas of Russian cooperation with the West? (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
What are the opportunities and challenges surrounding Russia-Belarus cooperation?
What might prompt new or expanded interventions by Russia?
What is the Russian concept for use of nuclear forces? (Strategic and tactical)
What is the level of influence of prominent businessmen in Russia? How do they serve Putin's interests? Russia's interests?
What is the Russian relationship with former Soviet states? (Russia Strategic Initiative (EUCOM))
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? (AF/A10C)
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?
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?
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? (AF/A10C)
What priority should a Hard and Deeply Buried Target (HDBT) defeat capability take within U.S. nuclear strategy? How important is it that U.S. nuclear forces continue to be able to deny adversary sanctuary and hold critical protected targets at risk for each of these countries? Is there any potential adversary that finds this capability either critically influential or irrelevant in their decision calculus? What role should an HDBT defeat capability play, if any, in U.S. employment strategy?
Looking to see if there is a proven effective way to shape the information environment during Phase 0/Phase I operations, specifically in regards to near peer competitors. Do TTPs exist that PACAF/PA should be aware of to dial up and down the amount of deterrence/pressure messaging for effective deterrence and to avoid escalation? (PACAF/PA)
Should the U.S. have a requirement for a high yield nuclear weapon (1 Megaton or 5 Megatons, or higher) beyond physical target damage requirements? Does yield have a quality in and of itself for a nuclear nation in its ability to produce a psychological effect on the adversary's decision calculus well beyond the physical damage it can create? Do potential U.S. adversaries fear high yield nuclear weapons more than any other type? Do they fear them less because of a perceived threshold for use? What priority should a high-yield psychological capability hold within the Program of Record? What role should these weapons play, if any, in U.S. employment strategy? (AF/A10C)
Topic Sponser: AF Futures
In what ways is the United States Air Force dependent on its allies and partners for operational effectiveness? (AF Futures)
How can the AF (and other services) develop resilience and support 21st Century Airmen and their dependents? (HAF/A1Z)
Analyze the relationship between interoperability, interdependence, and integration in combined operations with allies and partners. (AF Futures)
TOPIC SPONSOR: AF Futures
Topic Sponsor: PACAF/A9L
Better Trained and Equipped Battlefield Airman (TACP, CCT, etc.) for Duty in the Pacific AOR
Topic Sponsor: J2
When has the USAF successfully executed a military transformation in response to significant strategic shifts or revolutions in military affairs? What lessons do past examples provide that could assist USAF leadership today? (HAF/A5SM Strategic Assessments)
As the U.S. develops and fields hypersonic weapons, how should the U.S. message adversaries and allies about this new capability? (AF/A3K Checkmate)
Topic Sponsor: Surgeon General
Assess the criticality (or lack thereof) of maintaining a competitive edge and posture of strength in technology areas related to operational energy. For example, the US has been a leader in advanced airframe development (e.g. blended wing body aircraft) for decades, yet the Air Force has not aggressively pursued the acquisition of next-generation tanker, mobility, and/or non-stealth bomber aircraft in lieu of sustaining legacy fleets (e.g. B-52) and procuring new aircraft designed in the 20th century (KC-46). Analyze the potential impact on competition China and Russia. Other operational energy areas of consideration in this analysis include superiority in aircraft propulsion, alternative propulsion (nuclear, liquid natural gas), and munitions range/volume per aircraft. (Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Operational Energy (SAF/IEN))
Topic Sponsor: PACAF
Topic Sponsor: PACAF/A8XR
Typically, people view the Arctic as a EUCOM issue and not necessarily as a INDOPACOM issue. What is the importance of the Arctic to the Indo-Pacific theater?
The arctic is increasingly contest and congested. Although many countries are developing strategies and capabilities for use in the Arctic they often fail to assess the global impacts of militarization of the Arctic. (AFRL)
Directed energy is one of a host of technologies with proven utility for non-lethal effects. Concepts of operation that meet policy restrictions need to be understood and defined. How can directed energy be used for de-escalating conflict? What are some concepts of operations that meet demanding policy restrictions?
How will the availability of militarily relevant COTS technologies affect future warfare? How might the United States gain and maintain a relative advantage in a future warfare environment in which significant combat power can be derived from COTS-derived capabilities, such as commercial space, civilian navigation systems, commercial information infrastructure or other IT systems relevant to military command, control, and communications, etc.? What are the key trends associated with each arena of competition, the potential military benefits and limitations or current or projected commercial technologies relative to other military systems? How could the United States (or a prospective adversary) better position itself to exploit the benefits of these commercial technologies while denying similar benefits to prospective adversaries? (HAF/A5SM Strategic Assessments)
(HAF/A5SM Strategic Assessments)