Wild Blue Yonder (ISSN 2689-6478) is a peer-reviewed online journal and forum focused on military-related thought and dialogue. The journal seeks to foster discussion and debate among practitioners and academicians. We want to hear your ideas on how to reshape the way we think about air, space, cyberspace, and the multi-domain. Our articles bridge the gap between academic thought and practical operational experience.

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Published by the Air University Press, Wild Blue Yonder (WBY) is a digital-only, professional journal of the US Air Force and a forum for dialogue regarding airpower, space, multidomain operations, regional affairs, military history, and a host of other topics. The journal fosters intellectual and professional development for service members and the creation of meaningful interaction among academicians, operators, students, and policy makers.

Articles submitted to the journal must be unclassified, nonsensitive, and releasable to the public. The length and depth of articles can vary significantly, and we strive for a good balance between pieces of scholarly rigor and operational perspective. Submit all manuscripts to WildBlueYonder@hqau.af.edu.

The views and opinions expressed or implied in WBY are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or international equivalents.

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  • Turning Expert Assessments into High Quality Empirical Data

    Given the challenges and limitations of the current risk-assessment process, there is a more effective, rigorous, useful alternative. This article offers organizations that rely on small numbers of subject-matter experts a set of tools and methodologies that can increase the rigor of assessments and provide more reliable, empirical data. It also seeks to provide those at the service level responsible for programmatic decisions a wider array of measurable options. In so doing, service leaders can make better decisions about risk and priorities.
  • Cyber Underground: Overcoming Obstacles to Cyber in Subterranean Warfare

    To gain insight into how to ameliorate the issues posed in the cyber domain for subterranean warfare, it is important to understand how this environment is defined and what types of advantages, limitations, and challenges characterize this environment.
  • Scenario Planning for the Twenty-first-Century Military Strategist

    In what ways does scenario planning add value for the military? Completing the scenario planning process in its entirety requires dedicating anywhere from two weeks to upward of several months toward exhaustive attention in creating and analyzing plausible future narratives. This is an unrealistic expectation for twenty-first-century leaders; however, this does not diminish the value of the process or provide an excuse to avoid deep strategic thought. This article outlines a methodology to adapt scenario planning into a streamlined process as a means to foster collaboration and crosstalk among various stakeholders. It provides context to explain scenario planning as part of the science of strategic thought and presents a “how-to” practitioner’s guide to return scenario planning to its military roots.
  • Airmen and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: The Danger of Generalization

    The present inquiry is motivated foremost by continuous developments in technology. As military systems incorporate ever more elements of autonomy, it is essential to assess their potential to become successfully integrated in existing force structures. Given that a human operator is projected to remain a central element of such systems, the success of the integration process is squarely dependent on how humans will adapt to increasing automation. While current UAVs have only limited autonomous functionality, they nonetheless offer the only example of some of the most technologically advanced systems that have tested human capacity to adapt and where the experience of adaptation has been described by the users of such systems.
  • Examining and Enhancing Deterrence Education for Future Leaders

    This article examines educational gaps instructing the Joint Force on deterrence, proposes combatant commander recommendations, and suggests changes for services, increasing student learning. Without integrated and updated education, future leaders may miscalculate situations, leaving the US inconsequential in world events. Our nation’s future leaders must be prepared for increasingly complex threats and worldwide challenges. Education provides the key strengthening preparedness. The article first observes the lack of a comprehensive definition for strategic deterrence and the need to reconceptualize deterrence in the classroom. The next segment reviews military leadership, strategic deterrence experts, and Joint education and doctrine staff perspectives. The third focus investigates public law and government studies highlighting the need to modernize and integrate education and experiences. The fourth topic reveals current deterrence topics at Joint and Service Professional Military Education schools, service academies, and US Strategic Command Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance institutes. Finally, the article proposes approaches to bolster deterrence awareness for military and civilian future leaders.

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Cadet Perspectives

  • Economic Prospects for the Arctic: What Does It Mean for the United States?

    The United States needs the Arctic to be free of conflicts and defense overspending, enabling the country to scale back its global strategy and focus on the Indo-Pacific region. This is unlikely, given Chinese and Russia interests and tendencies. Consequently, the United States is preparing for a more adversarial environment in the Arctic.
  • Pilot Shortage

    One of the major problems that the aviation community is facing right now is a pilot shortage. In recent years, the number of pilots has slowly been declining, and now we have a major, global pilot shortage. Many people know about the shortage and are not doing anything about it. Many think it is not a big deal. However, it is actually a devastating problem.
  • Flexibility: The Key to Airpower

    In our country’s current state, due to COVID-19, the Air Force tenet of flexibility is one of the most important assets we possess as Airmen and future Airmen.
  • The Importance of Mental Health in Uniform

    As humans, our mental health is important. As a military member it is even more so. “Life in the military can be stressful for anyone from an Airman to a general officer.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines mental health as “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” It plays a major role in many aspects of a person’s life, including “how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.” Many times, mental health and mental illness are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same thing.
  • Why the A-10 Should Not Retire Anytime Soon

    There are alternatives to using the A-10, but the Warthog still prevails through its many planned retirements because of its training requirements, design, weaponry, and ability to fly low and slow. The opinion by and large is that the A-10 is outdated, but this plane constantly proves why it has been around this long.

More Cadet Perspectives


President Donald J. Trump, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley participate in a Memorial Day event to honor those who have sacrificed their lives serving in the U.S. armed forces at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, May 25, 2020.
Memorial Day is a day for us to remember and honor the real-life superheroes who gave their lives in the fight for our freedom. Video: Airman 1st Class Kevin Long
President Donald J. Trump participates in the presentation of the U.S. Space Force flag, Washington, D.C, May 15, 2020.
AWC Graduation
United States Space Force Recruitment Video
Questions to consider with information on the internet and ways to spot disinformation in social media feeds.
Our medical professionals exhibit a very special kind of courage. They race into the breach every day to take care of others. Every one of them has a family. They have spouses, kids, parents, siblings who worry about them, and yet, they don’t hesitate. I couldn’t be prouder of the service and commitment of our Air Force doctors, medics and nurses. Together with our service, government, and civilian counterparts, they are the real MVPs of the Nation’s COVID-19 response. For that, we thank you. We’re the best Air Force on the planet because of you!
Nine members of the 167th Airlift Wing have been tasked with production of a newly designed N95 mask alternative, April 24, 2020, Martinsburg, West Virginia. The Shepherd Mask gets its name from Shepherd University where it was designed. West Virginia University also tested two prototypes with a passing grade before production began. N95 alternatives like The Shepherd Mask are being used to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air National Guard Video by Staff Sergeant Timothy Sencindiver)


  • What Exactly is Venture Capital, and What Does It Have to Do with the Air Force?

    The initial cohort of AFVentures fellows recently finished their six-week immersion in Silicon Valley. This article outlines that experience and the lessons applicable to the Air Force writ large.
  • Reorganizing Missile Security at Malmstrom AFB: 341st Security Forces Group and the Missile Security Operating Concept

    From August 2017 through January 2019, the 341st Security Forces Group (341st SFG) planned and executed an internal reorganization of its missile security forces called the Missile Security Operating Concept (MSOC). By standing up the 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron (841st MSFS) and creating three identical squadrons out of the 341st Missile Security Forces Squadron and the 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron, each unit would deploy to the missile field under one commander’s control. This reorganization sought to make its defenders more effective and improve group morale. The 341 st SFG’s successful transition to MSOC required it to plan a 21-day schedule to provide its defenders a work/life balance, incorporate the Integrated Planning Cell into missile security operations to maximize missile field operational efficiency through long-range planning, and create a Troop Leading Procedures course to train its noncommissioned officers to lead their Airmen. At the squadron level, the 841 st MSFS faced some unique challenges. Given MSOC’s bottom-up planning, its commander had to operate without a clear legal authority to do so and build its Unit unit Manpower manpower Document document from scratch. While MSOC had a rocky start, both leaders and Airmen on-the-ground resolved those initial problems and believed it improved morale and made its defenders more lethal. In short, it worked. The lessons learned from this study provides a template for any group-level unit to plan and execute its own internal reorganization.
  • Wrong Time to Hack: How Deterrence Theory Informs Policy Options in a Time of COVID-19

    This article begins by highlighting the risks to the Internet, then presents a summary of deterrence theory to conceptualize a range of options available for senior leaders. A review of the research on the Internet, deterrence theory, national authorities, and limited criminal justice theory suggests that the Department of Defense, Department of State, Intelligence Community, and the interagency offices for public affairs should support the Federal Bureau of Investigation in making high-profile arrests of cyberhackers. By demonstrating a clear threat of punishment, deterrence theory suggests a significant percentage of future hackers will be deterred. By demonstrating capacity and will, the United States can use strategic and criminal justice deterrence theory to protect the American people during this period of increased vulnerability.
  • The Interminable Crusade: A New Framework for US Counterterrorism Strategy

    Terrorism is a sophisticated rhetorical act that is inherently abstract in nature; the attack itself is not the objective, and the victims are not the targets. A failure to adequately understand and address the discursive aspects of the current terrorist threat has hampered US policy. To correct these deficiencies the United States should employ a strategy focused on moving beyond the pervasive image of Western crusade against ways of life in Muslim countries informed by more fundamental interpretations of Islam. Instead, the new image should present an alternative narrative—one of apolitical, supranational humanitarian assistance—that erodes the long-term viability of these extremist organizations. This strategy will require a significant and concerted US diplomatic effort, ensuring the metarhetorical alignment—consistency between what is communicated by activities, force posture, policies, messages, images, and inactions—of the whole-of-government and international coalition response, wherein the military instrument is used sparingly, if at all.

More Viewpoints


  • Factotum: The US Military in the Twenty-First Century

    Despite changes in the strategic environment, they are “unique in detail, not in kind”; thus, the US military’s proper role remains constant as the dutiful servant of the state.
  • The United States Post–COVID-19

    The post–Covid-19 world will look dramatically different than it did before. We believe that the world and history will be split across the middle by this monumental event, much as most of the Western world conceptualizes history in the Christian BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini) paradigm, as permanent lines in the sand to think about the world. The virus will spawn a Before COVID (BC) Post-COVID (PC) paradigm.
  • The Silent Erosion of Sovereignty: A Sino–Australian Example

    This short submission highlights the potential and current dangers of the CCP information and influence operations as part of the People's Liberation Army’s wider noncontact warfare approach of China's "three warfares" in the so-called grey zone and looks at potential comprehensive countermeasures.
  • The USS Theodore Roosevelt Incident: Another Threat to The Civilian–Military Relationship

    When Thomas Modly resigned as the acting Secretary of the Navy on 7 April, the military trade newspaper Navy Times said the resignation capped “perhaps the most tumultuous 24-hour public relations fiasco the sea service has ever encountered.” This article examines the incident within the context of civilian–military relations.
  • Preserving Freedom of Action in Cislunar Space

    This article highlights an asteroid-sized hole in US space strategy; the US government has no military plans to protect and defend its commercial Moon and asteroid mining initiatives against adversary aggression and competing interests. Unless a strategy is developed by the Department of Defense to utilize military assets to preserve freedom of action within the Earth–Moon system, our adversaries can capitalize on our inaction. The US civil strategy for NASA to establish an outpost on the Moon’s south pole addresses a piece of the overall US space strategy but lacks a military component that is addressed in our adversaries’ space strategy.

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The views and opinions expressed or implied in Wild Blue Yonder are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. ISSN 2689-6478