Evaluation of Options for Overseas Combat Support Basin


A worldwide combat support basing architecture is one of the major pillars for achieving the U.S. Air Force's goals of global strike and persistent dominance. The authors develop an analytic framework and model for evaluating options for overseas combat support basing and present a feasible set of candidate locations for consideration by the Air Force.

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A worldwide combat support basing architecture is one of the major pillars for achieving the U.S. Air Force's goals of global strike and persistent dominance. The authors develop an analytic framework and model for evaluating options for overseas combat support basing and present a feasible set of candidate locations for consideration by the Air Force.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780833038746
  • Publisher: Rand Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Evaluation of Options for Overseas Combat Support Basing

By Mahyar A. Amouzegar Ronald G. McGravey Robert S. Tripp Louis Luangkesorn Thomas Lang Charles Robert Roll Jr.

Rand Corporation

Copyright © 2006 RAND Corporation
All right reserved.

Chapter One


Since the end of World War II, the United States has established and maintained a large number of overseas military bases, presently numbering more than 700 locations across the globe. This massive presence has enabled the U.S. military to operate in every part of the world and respond to crises quickly. Although the genesis of permanent forward presence was established in the aftermath of World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War reinforced the importance of such bases. For more than four decades, these forward bases existed to serve one main goal: to prevent Soviet-and by extension North Korean-aggression against U.S. interests. The end of the Cold War ushered in a new era in the global security environment, causing a shift in the force posture toward a focus on supporting two major regional conflicts while simultaneously reducing the overall size of the military.

The end of the Cold War, however, did not reduce the burden on U.S. forces. In fact, in the last decade of the twentieth century the United States carried a significant portion of the security and peacekeeping responsibilities around the globe. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has been called on to make numerous overseas deployments, many on short notice-using downsized Cold War legacyforce and support structures-to meet a wide range of mission requirements associated with peacekeeping and humanitarian relief, while maintaining the capability to engage in major combat operations, such as those associated with operations over Iraq, Serbia, and Afghanistan. A recurring challenge facing the post-Cold War Air Force has been its increasing frequency of deployments to increasingly austere locations.

Creation of the Air and Space Expeditionary Force

In response to the post-Cold War threat environment, the U.S. Air Force developed the Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept, which has two primary goals. The first goal is to improve the ability to deploy quickly from the Continental United States (CONUS) in response to a crisis, commence operations immediately on arrival, and sustain those operations as needed. The second is to reorganize to improve readiness, better balance deployment assignments among units, and reduce uncertainty associated with meeting deployment requirements. The underlying premise is that rapid deployment from CONUS and a seamless transition to sustainment can substitute for an ongoing U.S. presence in-theater.

To implement the AEF concept, the Air Force created ten Aerospace Expeditionary Forces, each comprising a mixture of fighters, bombers, and tankers. These ten AEFs respond to contingencies on a rotating basis: for 120 days, two of the ten AEFs are "on call" to respond to any crisis needing air power. The on-call period is followed by a 16-month period during which those two AEFs are not subject to short-notice deployments or rotations. In the AEF system, individual wings and squadrons no longer deploy and fight as full and/or single self-sustained units as they did during the Cold War. Instead, each AEF customizes a force package for each contingency consisting of varying numbers of aircraft from different units. This fixed schedule of steady-state rotational deployments promises to increase flexibility by enabling the Air Force to respond immediately to any crisis with little or no effect on other deployments.

The dramatic increase in deployments from CONUS, combined with the reduction of Air Force resource levels that spawned the AEF concept, has equally increased the need for effective combat support. Because combat support resources are heavy and constitute a large portion of the deployment tonnage (as shown in Figure 1.1), they have the potential to enable or constrain operational goals, particularly in today's environment, which depends greatly on rapid deployment.

Much of the existing support equipment is heavy and not easily transportable; deploying all of the support for almost any sized AEF from CONUS to an overseas location would be costly in terms of both time and airlift. As a result, the Air Force has focused attention on streamlining deploying unit combat support processes, reducing the size of deployment packages, and evaluating different technologies for making deploying units more agile and more quickly deployed and employed. Decisions on where to locate intermediate maintenance facilities, such as Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance (JEIM) shops, and non-unit heavy resources (i.e., those not associated with flying units, such as munitions, shelters, and vehicles) are significant drivers of employment timelines.

Events of September 11, 2001: A New Catalyst for Change

The events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq propelled a second shift in the security environment in less than ten years. Although the Department of Defense (DoD) was reviewing its overseas basing options before that date, these events were a major catalyst for changes in military force posture. DoD force planning focused on four major categories (DoD, 2001):

defense of the U.S. homeland deterrence of aggression and coercion in critical regions of the world swift defeat of aggression in overlapping major conflicts conducting a limited number of smaller-scale contingency operations. It has been clear for some time that U.S. defense policymakers can no longer plan for a particular deployment in a specific region of the world because the geopolitical divide of the last century has been replaced with a security environment that is more volatile. One of the many lessons of the past decade has been the unpredictability of the nature and the location of the conflicts. In the conflict in Serbia, the USAF and coalition air forces played a major role in driving the Serbian forces from Kosovo. The common thought of the day was that all future conflicts would be air dominated. The events of September 11, 2001, and the consequent U.S. reprisal against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, reemphasized the importance of asymmetric warfare and the fundamental role of Special Forces. These events, however, have not lessened the need for a powerful and agile aerospace force as the USAF flew long-range bombers to provide close air support to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) working with the indigenous resistance ground force in Afghanistan, far from existing U.S. bases. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Air Force played a substantial role throughout the conflict-from its initial role of suppressing and disabling the Iraqi command and control and the air defense system to providing close air support in urban environments (Tripp et al., 2004; Lynch et al., 2005).

Although past conflicts and engagements may not be repeated in the same manner in the future, we can leverage our understanding of those events to help shape our planning for the future. Moreover, we can focus on the characteristics of past events to create a broad set of alternative realities for the future environment.

New Combat Support Planning Strategy for the 21st Century: Deterrence in an Age of Persistent Global Insurgency and Counterinsurgency

In the current national security arena, the focus has shifted away from the post-Cold War paradigm of preparing for nonrecurring major regional conflicts. Instead, the focus is on ongoing and succeeding engagements and reconstitutions to deter aggression and coercion throughout the world, both by state and nonstate actors, while preparing to engage and succeed in major theater wars (MTWs).

For more than 50 years, U.S. deterrent strategy was based on assured destruction, i.e., informing potential adversaries that the United States had overwhelming nuclear capabilities and could assure the destruction of state actors should they launch a first strike against it. The intent of this strategy was to ensure deterrence by making the thought of a first strike inconceivable. This nuclear deterrent strategy was accompanied by the creation of a large standing conventional force that could be employed to win conventional wars against the Soviet Union and North Korea (even if supported by the People's Republic of China). The strategy resulted in the development of large "standing capabilities" that could be augmented quickly by reserve components. Other contingencies were deemed to be a lower-intensity version of the MTW scenarios. The sole purpose was to develop an intimidating force with the expectation of avoiding an all-out engagement.

Today, the threat facing U.S. interests is different, and so are the necessary deterrent capabilities. As in the past, nuclear deterrence continues to be vital against possible state actors, but a different conventional deterrent strategy is essential for the foreseeable future. In today's environment, rapid global force projection capability is needed to deter aggression and, if that fails, to take quick action to defeat state and nonstate actors. This deterrence concept involves the continuous and rapid projection of forces, primarily from CONUS, to sites in unstable regions around the world. This concept has the dual objectives of promoting stability and demonstrating that the United States can project power and destroy or diminish the capability of terrorist groups or state actors should they threaten U.S. or allied interests in the region. In short, a shift is needed from the paradigm of building capabilities to avoid a nuclear war to one of continuous use of forces to deter aggression and coercion.

The Effect on Programming and Budgeting

This deterrent framework changes the economic emphasis in the Programmed Objectives Memorandum (POM) process. POM is the critical tool of the planning phase in the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) System. The PPBE process is the current system for creating the DoD's contribution (including that of all the services) to the presidential budget. The system divides the budget-building process into four phases:

Planning. Assesses capabilities, reviews threats, and develops guidance. Programming. Translates planning guidance into achievable packages in a six-year future defense program. Budgeting. Tests for feasibility of programs and creates budgets. Execution. Develops performance metrics, assesses output against planned performance, and adjusts resources to achieve the desired goals.

The Major Commands (MAJCOMs) submit these programs in the form of a POM to a body on the Air Staff called the Air Force Corporate Structure. The resources covered in the POM refer mainly to manpower, facilities, weapon systems, and operating funds.

The new deterrence framework supports an expansion of the POM purview to include the resources necessary to support the routine deployment of forces to exercise sites. The expanded POM should also include resources to fight and win contingencies should deterrence fail, as the current POM does. This emphasis would cause more attention to be paid to deterrence exercises, along with the timing and resources necessary to support these exercises. The actual costs of engaging in contingencies should deterrence fail is not part of deterrence, and funding to engage in contingency activities would need to be handled on a case-by-case basis, as it is today.

The new security environment also places emphasis on a global view of combat support resources and their placement. This global view is the purview of the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and Headquarters Air Force. Although the Combatant Commanders (COCOMs), given their respective regional responsibilities, will continue to be interested in receiving support in their regions, their requirements need to be considered from the larger global vantage point. Therefore, the Air Staff (and the Joint Staff) should conduct a quantitative and objective analysis of the consequences of programming decisions for placement of limited resources. Furthermore, COCOMs and others would be interested in how political constraints-which either restrict some storage locations or force the use of other locations-are likely to impact effectiveness and costs.

Development of a Multi-Period-Multi-Scenario Combat Support Planning Methodology

The Air Force's new role will inevitably include a commitment to multiple, possibly overlapping, engagements in diverse geographical areas with varying degrees of operational intensity. Some of these engagements (e.g., drug interdictions) will occur multiple times over a short time horizon. To capture the nuances of the multifaceted continuous deterrent environment, we must integrate temporal and spatial elements with other parameters, such as combat support capability and costs. These parameters are captured in a new planning methodology in which several likely deployment scenarios, from small-scale humanitarian operations to major regional conflicts, are considered.

After the list of scenarios is generated, the sequencing and recurrence of these scenarios should be outlined. For any given scenario, decisions should be made regarding its likelihood of occurrence over time (e.g., a given scenario may be highly unlikely over the next five years, but considerably more feasible 20 years out), its interrelationship with other scenarios (e.g., Scenario A may likely occur simultaneously with Scenario B), and the likelihood that it will recur (e.g., a given scenario might repeat itself ten years out). We have coined the term Multi-Period-Multi-Scenario (MPMS) to describe this planning methodology. This methodology is a major departure from the current war planning mindset. Previously, whether planning for nuclear warfare against the Soviet Union or for large-scale conventional war in the Near East, U.S. analysts were planning for one large conflict that would occur only once and that would change the defense environment so greatly that plans for out-years following this conflict would no longer be valid.

A Need for New Combat Support Basing Options

The current overseas basing postures that are concentrated in Western Europe and Northeast Asia may be inadequate for the 21st century because potential threats have transcended the geopolitical divide of the Cold War era. The events in Southwest Asia prior to OIF, the difficulties of securing basing access in Turkey during OIF, and the denial of overflight rights from countries that opposed the war in Iraq, such as Austria, have further emphasized the importance of alternative forward operating and support locations.

In the European theater, there has been an interest among recent and aspirant NATO and EU member countries in being potential hosts for U.S. military combat and support forces. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General James Jones, U.S. Marine Corps, has been interested in reevaluating bases in Europe for some time, and on February 26, 2003, the House Armed Services Committee heard testimonies on "U.S. Forward Deployed Strategy in the European Theater." At the same meeting, a representative of the American Enterprise Institute argued that some of the existing force bases in Germany should be moved to Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria (House Armed Services Committee, 2003).

As mentioned earlier, the idea of a new basing strategy has been circulated for some time both inside and outside of the Pentagon. Table 1.1 shows a summary of U.S. overseas bases for all the services. Although the United States has bases in many countries, the vast majority of the large installations are concentrated in support of the two-MTW concept (i.e., one in Western Europe and one in Northeast Asia). Current European bases-home to thousands of U.S. troops and their families-may be far from potential conflicts. Furthermore, because of economic differences across countries, costs may be higher in Western Europe than in Eastern and Central European countries. Public support for the U.S. presence may be eroding in Germany, and, to a lesser extent, in the United Kingdom.


Excerpted from Evaluation of Options for Overseas Combat Support Basing by Mahyar A. Amouzegar Ronald G. McGravey Robert S. Tripp Louis Luangkesorn Thomas Lang Charles Robert Roll Jr. Copyright © 2006 by RAND Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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