Alex Ward, program assistant for the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, writes for RealClearDefense on the Air Force’s groundbreaking strategy report, “A Call to the Future”:
The U.S. Air Force recently released its newest strategy, “A Call to the Future,” and it is the best of its kind put out by a U.S. defense and security entity in a long time. The new concept—“strategic agility”—will allow the Air Force to employ new technologies, better deal with increasingly powerful state and non-state actors, and adapt operations to new environments over the next thirty years. The strategy is so comprehensive that other military branches—and even the State Department and White House—should incorporate these themes into their future strategies.
“Strategic agility” is based on the “four strategic trends of the emerging global environment.” First on the list is “rapidly emerging technological breakthroughs.” The Air Force rightly addresses this trend first, promoting it as the most important. There are myriad technologies – some already here and some on the horizon – that threaten to disrupt the status quo. Technologies like big data, automation and robotics, urban and green technologies, advanced manufacturing (3D and 4D printing), and quantum computing will lead to new methods of warfighting that could potentially be more effective and lethal.