Even if politicians don’t notice how many of the Air Force’s major commands are located in “swing” states like Colorado, Illinois and Virginia, there’s good reason to believe the service will experience a renaissance in the years ahead. First, the locus of global security concerns is shifting to the Western Pacific, where geography and distance favor air power over other types of military capability. Second, the domestic political culture has had its fill of land wars, but still wants to maintain a global military posture using less expensive means with a minimal footprint on the ground. And third, previous deficiencies in Air Force management and behavior have been corrected by current leaders. The Air Force is thus poised for a resurgence in the Pacific era if it can just manage to keep its modernization plans on track — especially with regard to new strike aircraft, a new aerial refueling tanker, and replacement of aging reconnaissance systems. I have written a commentary on this subject for Forbes, which you can read here.
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