State of the Air Force

In 2018, the Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David Goldfein created the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC) to look across the Air Force's diverse warfighting portfolio and drive enterprise-wide solutions to complex issues. Nested under the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements (AF/A5) at Headquarters Air Force, AFWIC set out to help the Air Force rapidly identify key capability investments to build the foundation for the future force. Guided by the National Defense Strategy and other strategic guidance, AFWIC began to integrate across the joint force through its cross-functional teams, functional integration teams, force design experts, data analysts, and capability development teams.

Since AFWIC’s inception, it has successfully worked across the AF/A5 and Headquarters Air Force to establish an enterprise level vision for integrated force design that guides senior leader decisions for planning and programing. The success of the AFWIC experiment led to a joint decision between General Goldfein and incoming Chief of Staff of the Air Force General CQ Brown, Jr., to bring this capability to the Deputy Chief of Staff level. Under the vision of Lieutenant General S. Clinton Hinote, AFWIC along with its other three-letter counterparts in the A5 (Strategy, Capability Development, and Requirements), transformed into Air Force Futures as a reflection of the organization’s mission to be the voice of tomorrow’s Airmen. The transformation and integration of these teams enhances the depth of our deliverables to better compete, deter, and win, in line with General Brown’s imperative to “Accelerate Change or Lose” and Secretary Kendall’s Operational Imperatives.

Air Force Futures drew inspiration from General Stanley McChrystal’s “Team of Teams” concept, and developed a flat, transparent, and agile organizational structure. In Center 1, our teams focus on developing warfighting concepts, campaign strategies, strategic assessments, and threat analyses. Their efforts flow into Center 2’s portfolio of analyzing warfighter needs, refining joint requirements, and drafting capability development plans to highlight systems, platforms, and processes necessary for a strong future force. Center 3 teams construct the tenets and characteristics of future force design, conduct analysis and wargames to refine design characteristics, and collaborate with AF/A8 to inform budgetary decisions and actions. These actions culminate in the orchestration of strategy, capability development, and warfighter requirements into an integrated force design. Our “team of teams” approach aligns functions and eliminate stovepipes to make Air Force Futures teams more effective, more integrated, and more focused on achievable problem sets.

As part of its transformation, Air Force Futures has actively aligned its mission with key cross-jurisdictional stakeholders like Congress, Industry partners, Academia, and the Intelligence Community, among others, creating an increasingly whole of government approach to realizing and leveraging Air Force core missions. The A5 transition emphasizes the value of integration across the Air Force and highlights our commitment to designing a future force that is relevant, ready, lethal, and unrivaled for tomorrow’s Airmen.