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US Air Force, Space Force Announce Sweeping Overhaul to Maintain ‘Superiority’

The US Air Force and Space Force will initiate a sweeping overhaul of their structures as they seek to maintain superiority amid great power competition with China.

The move, made public on Monday, will see a total of 24 organizational changes grouped in four main categories, expected to be fulfilled by the two US military branches in the years to come.

The changes feature a mix of near-term and long-term initiatives to help airmen and Guardians stay competitive on the modern battlefield.

Develop People

One of the first changes the Department of the Air Force (DAF) wants to see is the reintroduction of warrant officers – a corps of highly technical service members who are above the enlisted ranks but below commissioned officers.

They help solve the service’s technical problems and provide a conduit between senior leadership and airmen.

The air force also wants to develop “mission-ready airmen” by providing trainings that focus on a mix of skills needed for wartime operational mission readiness.

For the US Space Force, senior leaders said they will redesign career paths to produce Guardians that “meet our high-tech operational demands.”

The four main areas of focus for the US Air Force and US Space Force overhaul. Infographic: Department of the Air Force

Generate Readiness

Under this category, both the US Air Force and Space Force will implement more exercises and mission-focused training with increasing scope and complexity.

They aim to enforce readiness standards that “reflect operations under contested conditions, rather than those of a benign environment.”

The two services also want to incorporate unannounced operational readiness assessments and inspections across units to ensure that everyone is ready for battle.

Develop Capabilities

As part of the sweeping overhaul, the two US military branches will create new offices to oversee their modernization programs and investments.

Among the offices to be created are the Integrated Capabilities Office within the DAF, the Office of Competitive Activities, the Program Assessment and Evaluation Office, and the Integration Development Office.

They will also establish a new Information Dominance Systems Center to strengthen command and control, communications, and electronic warfare capabilities.

Additionally, the overhaul calls for the expansion of the Nuclear Weapons Center to become the “Air Force Nuclear Systems Center.” This will reportedly provide comprehensive materiel support to the nuclear enterprise.

Project Power

To ensure that the Air Force Operational Wings are prepared to execute their missions, the service will create three mission-ready units within the wings, each having a different concept of support for agile employment.

These three units will be known as the Deployable Combat Wings, the In-Place Combat Wings, and the Combat Generation Wings.

Meanwhile, the US Space Force will work to formalize its combat squadrons as its own units of action, which should always be ready to address threats in space.

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