Airpower Nearing the Edge

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“March Madness” isn’t just something experienced during the NCAA tournament. In March of last year, Air Force leaders dubbed the unprecedented global demand for air power with the same name. American air power is on the edge. As my co-author Doug Birkey of the Air Force Association describes it, America’s air-power capabilities are approaching “coffin corner.”

That’s where a surge in national-security requirements – like what the Air Force experienced last year in its own version of “March Madness” – continues to over-speed the force. That could lead to a dangerous stall, where the demands on an over-stressed force send it into a tailspin. As policymakers debate the future of the smallest and oldest Air Force in history — and military leaders further build out AirSea Battle and other operational concepts – we’re hoping this report provides some perspective on the indispensable need for quantity when it comes to thinking about requirements for the Asia-Pacific.