Office of Sponsored Programs


Due Regard and Changing Borders

  • Published
  • By AFTAC


Documented and public cases of Russian aggression against MQ-9s in the Black Sea, CCP actions with lasers against Philippine vessels, and other unprofessional and unsafe actions against U.S. reconnaissance assets create a paradigm where aggressive and damaging actions are seemingly tolerated as acceptable behaviors by adversaries in competition, crisis, and regionalized conflict short of war. 

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aggression against U.S. reconnaissance platforms in internationally recognized airspace poses not just a risk to U.S. military personnel, but potential misidentification could risk harm to civil aviation, not to mention missteps could accelerate the escalation of conflict. With regard to the CCP's pursuit of advancing its territorial waters and control of airspace, what must the Air Force prioritize to modernize airborne surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to survive and advance in capability in an era of expanding adversary battlespace awareness? Should adversaries pursue aggression in states of conflict less than war?