Index

Force Structure: Air Force Expeditionary Concept Offers Benefits but
Effects Should Be Assessed (Letter Report, 08/15/2000, GAO/NSIAD-00-201).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Air
Force's Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept.

GAO noted that: (1) the Expeditionary Concept is likely to achieve its
objective of spreading the deployment burden over a larger part of the
Air Force's combat forces, but mobility air forces are not likely to be
affected; (2) generally, active combat units based in the United States
will experience a considerable drop in contingency deployments; (3) on
the other hand, similar active combat units overseas commands and in
reserve components could see significant increases in contingency
deployments; (4) both reserve and active mobility air forces are likely
to continue their high deployment level because, in addition to
participating in contingencies under the Concept, they are constantly
assigned to other tasks, such as transporting people and equipment for
all the services and performing humanitarian operations; (5) GAO's
assessment was based on its data analysis because the Air Force has not
systemically monitored Expeditionary Concept results; (6) furthermore,
the lack of specific measurable goals in some areas could hamper future
assessment efforts; (7) the predictability of deployments that the
Concept provides the reserves is an important benefit that should help
reserve forces better prepare for their deployments and employers better
plan for their employees' absences; (8) the Air Force would experience a
significant disruption in its ability to rotate forces to contingency
operations under the Concept if it were called on to simultaneously
support a single major war; (9) if a major war arises, forces are
expected to deploy as specified in the theater commander's plan, not
according to their alignment with the 10 Air Expeditionary Force groups;
(10) forces required for a major war would be drawn from all 10 force
groups, with some deploying as much as 50 percent of their combat forces
and often depleting high-demand capabilities; (11) after deploying
forces to a single major war, no Air Expeditionary Force pairs would
have sufficient assets to provide all the required capabilities to
maintain ongoing contingency operations; (12) even pooling assets from
different Air Expeditionary Force groups could cause some units in
certain mission areas to deploy for periods as long as 180 days; and
(13) furthermore, the time required to reconstitute the forces deployed
to the war and to ongoing contingencies in order to re-establish
contingency rotations would depend on the scenario duration and the size
of the forces deployed.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-00-201
     TITLE:  Force Structure: Air Force Expeditionary Concept Offers
	     Benefits but Effects Should Be Assessed
      DATE:  08/15/2000
   SUBJECT:  Combat readiness
	     Defense contingency planning
	     Human resources utilization
	     Air Force personnel
	     Armed forces abroad
	     Mobilization
	     Air Force reservists
IDENTIFIER:  Air Force Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept

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GAO/NSIAD-00-201

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology

32

Appendix II: Comments From the Department of Defense

35

Figure 1: Expeditionary Aerospace Force Structure 9

Figure 2: AEF Rotation Cycle 10

Figure 3: Historical and Projected Deployments for Active and Air Guard F-16
Precision-Guided Munitions Squadrons 12

Figure 4: Active F-15C/Ds Average Days Deployed Before and After
Expeditionary Concept Implementation 13

Figure 5: Notional Comparison of Two Approaches to Providing Forces: Major
War Versus Contingencies 21

AEF Aerospace Expeditionary Force

EAF Expeditionary Aerospace Force

National Security and
International Affairs Division

B-285823

August 15, 2000

Congressional Committees

In response to today's operational environment, which requires continuous
deployments to small-scale contingencies, the Air Force has reevaluated how
it deploys forces. According to Air Force officials, more frequent overseas
deployments have increased the strain on Air Force servicemembers raising
concerns about retention and readiness. Some U.S.-based units were tasked
many times to support contingencies while others were tasked infrequently.
Additionally, servicemembers have not been receiving sufficient advance
notice to plan for overseas deployments, and the Air Force has asserted that
frequent deployments have led to retention problems. To mitigate the effects
of day-to-day requirements on its personnel, the Air Force decided to revamp
the way it manages contingency deployments, instituting a more predictable
deployment rotation that includes more active and reserve forces.

In August 1998, the Air Force announced the adoption of the Expeditionary
Aerospace Force Concept as a way to help manage its commitments to theater
commanders and reduce the constant deployment burden on its people.
Implemented on October 1, 1999, the Concept designates most of the Air
Force's combat, mobility, and support forces1 to 10 similar Aerospace
Expeditionary Force groups. Each force group, consisting of active, Air
National Guard and Air Reserve forces, is scheduled to deploy once every 15
months for 90 days. Rotating 2 at a time, forces from these 10 groups are
scheduled to cover ongoing and unforeseen contingency operations worldwide.
Currently, the five contingency operations to be covered by these forces
include: (1) Northern Watch in Iraq, (2) Southern Watch in Iraq, (3)
Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia, (4) counter-drug operations in South
America and the Caribbean, and (5) North Sea operations in Iceland. Because
each pair of forces is greater than these force requirements, not all forces
scheduled for deployment will actually deploy. Further, the Air National
Guard and Air Reserve participation depends on volunteer forces.

Although the Concept is still evolving, its objectives are to: (1) maximize
the use of the Air Force's Total Force, (2) make deployments predictable,
(3) better balance deployment taskings to provide relief to heavily tasked
units, and (4) limit contingency deployments to 90 days every 15 months. In
the near term, the Concept is not designed to change the way forces deploy
to major wars. In the event of a single major war, however, the Air Force
intends, unless otherwise directed, to continue supporting the five
contingencies while fighting the war. In the two nearly simultaneous major
war scenario, the Expeditionary Concept is not relevant because all Air
Force combat squadrons would deploy to the two wars and, therefore, combat
forces would have to be withdrawn from contingencies.

This report responds to your interest in the Air Force's efforts to
implement the Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept and the benefits and
challenges the Concept provides. Specifically, we assessed: (1) the extent
to which the Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept will spread the burden of
deployments over a larger part of the Air Force's combat and mobility
forces,2 (2) what challenges the reserves face in meeting their expected
role under the Concept, and (3) whether the Air Force could continue
rotating forces to ongoing contingency operations, as planned under the
Concept, while simultaneously engaging in a single major war. We conducted
detailed analyses of force structure data and defense plans in answering the
first and third objectives. For the first objective, we compared historical
deployments to those projected under the Expeditionary Concept for specific
types of units. For the third objective, we first obtained a list of the
fighter squadrons that would be needed for a single major war. We then
examined whether the Air Force could continue rotating forces to the five
contingencies as planned with the remaining squadrons. (For details of our
scope and methodology, see app. I.) Ours were unique analyses not previously
conducted by the Air Force. The Expeditionary Concept has only been in place
for 9 months and the Air Force has not yet transitioned to evaluating the
Concept's effects.

Throughout this report we refer to the Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept
as the Expeditionary Concept (EAF) and the 10 groups of combat, mobility,
and support forces as Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEF).

The Expeditionary Concept is likely to achieve its objective of spreading
the deployment burden over a larger part of the Air Force's combat forces,
but mobility air forces are not likely to be affected. Generally, active
combat units based in the United States will experience a considerable drop
in contingency deployments. On the other hand, similar active combat units
in overseas commands and in reserve components could see significant
increases in contingency deployments. Both reserve and active mobility air
forces are likely to continue their high deployment level because, in
addition to participating in contingencies under the Concept, they are
constantly assigned to other tasks, such as transporting people and
equipment for all the services and performing humanitarian operations. Our
assessment was based on our own data analysis because, to date, the Air
Force has not systemically monitored Expeditionary Concept results.
Furthermore, the lack of specific measurable goals in some areas could
hamper future assessment efforts.

The predictability of deployments that the Concept provides the reserves3 is
an important benefit that should help reserve forces better prepare for
their deployments and employers better plan for their employees' absences.
However, the reserves face two challenges that require long-term solutions.
The first is to provide sufficient personnel in certain specialty areas such
as cargo handlers, where the need for these skills is high but the
availability of qualified personnel is low. This could be accomplished by
reallocating existing personnel. The second challenge is to better match the
reserves' aircraft capabilities with their increased role in contingency
operations. Reserve officials consider upgraded capabilities essential if
they are to be used to meet high-demand contingency requirements, such as
the delivery of precision-guided munitions. The reserves are closely
monitoring some aspects of their participation in the Concept, such as the
number of positions they agree to fill in certain specialties. However, they
do not systemically collect and monitor other data that is critical to
meeting their commitments under the Concept, such as the extent to which
reservists are willing to volunteer for overseas deployments.

The Air Force would experience a significant disruption in its ability to
rotate forces to contingency operations under the Concept if it were called
on to simultaneously support a single major war. If a major war arises,
forces are expected to deploy as specified in the theater commander's plan,
not according to their alignment with the 10 Aerospace Expeditionary Force
groups. Forces required for a major war would be drawn from all 10 force
groups, with some deploying as much as 50 percent of their combat forces and
often depleting high-demand capabilities. After deploying forces to a single
major war, no Aerospace Expeditionary Force pair would have sufficient
assets to provide all the required capabilities to maintain ongoing
contingency operations. Even pooling assets from different Aerospace
Expeditionary Force groups could cause some units in certain mission areas
to deploy for periods as long as 180 days. Furthermore, the time required to
reconstitute the forces deployed to the war and to ongoing contingencies in
order to re-establish contingency rotations would depend on the scenario's
duration and the size of the forces deployed.

We are recommending that the Air Force develop specific quantifiable goals
based on the Concept's broad objectives and measure progress toward these
goals, particularly for such aspects as deployment predictability and for
factors that affect reserve participation, such as rates of volunteerism.
DOD agreed that a systematic, quantifiable approach to determining
Expeditionary Concept efficacy was critical, but said that existing Air
Force metrics, with refinements based on real experience, would achieve this
end. We retained our recommendation because specific objectives have not
been set for this initiative and existing metrics do not provide a means to
measure progress and results. We have also included a matter for
congressional consideration that would require the Secretary of Defense to
direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish specific, quantifiable
goals and performance measures based on the Concept's broad objectives, and
to use this management framework to provide the Congress with annual updates
on the Concept's status and results.

During the Cold War, the Air Force, planning to contain one enemy, operated
primarily out of fixed bases in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.
Since the end of the Cold War, this environment has changed. Although the
Air Force must still be prepared to fight and win two major wars, it has
been continuously involved in contingency operations around the world.
Today, according to the Air Force, it operates with two-thirds fewer
permanent overseas bases, one-third fewer people, and a 400-percent increase
in the number deployments than it did during the Cold War. More frequent
deployments throughout the world, primarily from the United States to often
temporary, sometimes austere bases, are taking their toll on the force,
according to Air Force officials. Signs of stress officials have cited
include:

 a decline in recruiting, retention, and morale;

 less stability and predictability of deployments for personnel and their
families;

 increased deployment burden on active-duty forces, due to short-notice
taskings;

 increased reliance on reserve forces to fill day-to-day taskings;

 increased work hours for some at home stations to compensate for those who
are deployed;

 uneven taskings across the force--some units have been tasked many times
for contingency operations, while others have been tasked infrequently; and

 a decline in force readiness indicators.

To ease these and other stresses, the Air Force's senior leadership decided
that the service had to move from a Cold War deployment structure to an
expeditionary approach. On August 4, 1998, the Secretary of the Air Force
announced the adoption of the Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept for
deploying forces to crises and ongoing contingency operations. The Air Force
based the Concept on earlier experience in deploying ad-hoc integrated
forces of fighters and bombers to meet theater commanders' contingency
requirements. Under the Concept, combat, mobility, and support forces
(active, Air National Guard and Air Reserves) are aligned into 10 AEFs and
are made available in pairs to deploy as needed to ongoing contingencies on
a fixed schedule. Based on historical contingency deployments, the forces in
an AEF pair are designed to support at least five ongoing contingencies: (1)
Northern Watch in Iraq,
(2) Southern Watch in Iraq, (3) Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia,
(4) counter-drug operations in South America and the Caribbean, and
(5) North Sea operations in Iceland.

Aerospace Expeditionary Force Structure. Most of the Air Force's Total Force
(active and reserve forces) is aligned into 10 AEFs. Each AEF is comprised
of existing units that are geographically separate but aligned
organizationally as a pool of forces from which the Air Force can draw to
meet contingency operation needs. The Air Force's traditional command and
organizational structures do not change under the Expeditionary Concept. For
example, the Air Force did not create an AEF commander, and squadrons still
continue to report to wings that report to their higher commands. Active
forces are either deployed or on-call for the entire
90 days. The reserves have agreed to provide varying levels of aircraft and
aircrews and 10 percent of the total combat support forces needed for each
15-month cycle. The reserves rely on volunteers to serve a minimum of
15 days to meet their commitments. Therefore, six reservists may be needed
to cover each 90-day AEF position if each reservist serves only the minimum
15 days.

Each AEF has roughly equivalent capabilities composed of fighter and bomb
squadrons, airlift and refueling forces, and combat support from active and
reserve forces, although specific assets are not identical.4 For example,
according to an Air Force official, precision bombing may be provided by
F-15Es in one AEF and by F-16CGs in another AEF. In addition to the two
AEFs, one of two, on-call, rapid response Air Expeditionary Wings (AEW) is
also used to cover each 90-day period. These wings provide theater
commanders with rapidly deployable crisis response that may not be available
from non-deployed AEF forces. Each AEF pair is also supported by strategic
mobility and Low Density/High Demand5 enabler forces such as strategic lift
and electronic surveillance aircraft. While these enabler forces are not
aligned with specific AEFs, they provide critical capabilities that enable
the AEF forces to deploy and operate. Figure 1 illustrates how the Air Force
aligned a broad range of capabilities in each AEF.

Source: U.S. Air Force.

Aerospace Expeditionary Force Cycle. To meet the demands of ongoing
contingency operations, pairs of AEFs cover 90-day periods during which
their aligned units either deploy or remain at home on-call. During the
90-day deployment period, forces from one AEF support Southern Watch and
counter-drug operations, while forces from the other AEF support Northern
Watch, Bosnia, and Iceland operations. Residual on-call forces are prepared
to respond in case of increased demand for forces to ongoing contingency
operations or to minor unanticipated crises. After 90 days, forces from an
AEF pair, even those that have not been deployed, are replaced by those from
the next scheduled AEF pair and are unavailable for contingency deployments
for 12 months. Limiting contingency deployments to 90 days allows
servicemembers to participate in training and exercises away from their home
base and still meet the Air Force's deployment ceiling goal of no more than
120 days away from home station each year. Prior to each 90-day deployment
period, each AEF pair trains and prepares for its specific deployment
operation for about 2 months. Once the AEFs return from an overseas
contingency operation, it is allowed roughly 2 weeks of recovery time. Then,
for the next 10 months, AEF forces conduct normal training and operations
(such as proficiency training, equipment maintenance, and unit training
exercises) with their wings. Figure 2 below illustrates the AEF rotation
cycle.

Source: U.S. Air Force.

The Air Force established the AEF Center at Langley Air Force Base in
Hampton, Virginia, to coordinate the AEFs' deployments and deployment
preparation. The Center coordinates theater commanders' contingency
requirements with AEFs rotating to operations. The Center also collects and
makes available lessons learned and readiness data. Both the Air National
Guard and the Air Reserve have established AEF centers to coordinate reserve
AEF commitments and deployments to contingencies.

All Forces

Under the Expeditionary Concept, some active combat units will deploy less,
while some reserve units and active units assigned to overseas commands will
likely deploy more. This is the "leveling effect" that the Air Force fully
intended to achieve with the Concept. However, heavily tasked mobility
forces, both active and reserve, are likely to see little deployment relief
from the Concept, partly for reasons beyond the Air Force's control. This is
our assessment after comparing deployments before and after implementation
of the Concept. In the future, we believe the Air Force should
systematically monitor the results of the Concept and determine if
adjustments are needed in the program's implementation.

To estimate the deployment relief provided by the Expeditionary Concept, we
compared: (1) the actual amount of time active and reserve combat squadrons
deployed to the five ongoing contingencies during fiscal years 1998 and 1999
(before the Expeditionary Concept implementation) with, (2) the projected
time squadrons would spend deployed to the same five contingencies over
fiscal years 2000 and 2001 under the Expeditionary Concept.6 Our objective
was to test the extent to which the Concept might provide relief from
frequent and continuous deployments. We did not analyze the deployment
frequency of enabler forces such as strategic mobility and Low Density/High
Demand forces because these forces are not aligned in the 10 AEFs.

Our analysis showed that active fighter squadrons supported 75 percent of
the total days deployed to contingencies during the 2 years preceding
implementation of the Expeditionary Concept, making them among the most
heavily tasked units. After the first 2 years of the Concept's
implementation, our analysis of fighter forces7 showed that some but not all
fighter forces will obtain deployment relief using the Expeditionary
Concept. For example, the precision-guided munitions mission area for
F-16CGs illustrates the leveling effect that reserve deployments would have
under the Expeditionary Concept. During the 2 years preceding the
Expeditionary Concept, active precision-guided munitions squadrons
(F-16CGs) were used to meet all of the contingencies' precision-guided
munitions requirements. However, after the Concept's implementation, active
squadrons are expected to meet about 70 percent of this requirement, and the
Air Guard squadrons will meet the remaining
30 percent. Figure 3 illustrates the impact of using Air Guard squadrons to
meet precision-guided munitions requirements.

Note: The Air Guard will perform the precision-guided munition mission with
F-16CG and modified
F-16C aircraft

Source: GAO analysis of Air Force data.

In contrast, there will be little change in contingency deployments among
A-10 units performing the close air support mission. Active and Reserve
A-10 units will deploy slightly more days than they did before, while Guard
units will deploy about the same number of days. One reason the A-10
deployments will not change much may be that, due to high demand for
A-10 capabilities, reserve forces have already been deploying regularly, and
active and reserve forces have been already sharing the A-10 deployment
burden.

Prior to the Expeditionary Concept, active units in overseas commands were
infrequently deployed to support ongoing contingencies. Under the Concept,
however, overseas units will ease the deployment burden on
U.S.-based units by regularly deploying to ongoing contingencies. For
example, in the past, the Air Force regularly deployed the six U.S.-based
F-15C/D squadrons to contingencies. However, under the Concept, the Air
Force aligned the five European- and Pacific-based F-15C/D squadrons in
AEFs, and these units are scheduled for regular contingency deployments.
Over the past 2 years, the six U.S.-based squadrons made 21 contingency
deployments totaling 994 days (an average of 166 deployed days per
squadron). The five overseas-based squadrons deployed to contingencies only
7 times for a total of 424 days (an average of 85 days per squadron). After
implementation of the Concept, the Air Force plans to increase the European-
and Pacific-based squadrons' deployments to contingencies. In the first 2
years after implementation of the Concept, the average deployed days for
U.S.-based squadrons will decrease to 144 days per squadron, and the average
deployed days for the European- and Pacific-based squadrons will increase to
163 per squadron (see fig. 4).

Source: GAO analysis of Air Force data.

Air Force officials do not expect the Expeditionary Concept to provide
deployment relief for mobility forces because these forces are heavily
tasked in addition to the five ongoing contingencies. Active and reserve
mobility forces also perform missions for the other services such as
transporting equipment and people, and performing humanitarian operations.
The reserves' mobility forces were already sharing the deployment burden
before the Air Force implemented the Expeditionary Concept. As a result, Air
Force officials do not expect the reserves to provide deployment relief to
active mobility forces as they are expected to do for the active combat
forces. Based on our projection of the Concept's fiscal year 2000-01
contingency deployments, 49 percent of cargo C-130 deployments will be met
by active forces and 51 percent by reserve forces. Sixty-eight percent of
the tanker KC-135 deployments will be met by active forces and 32 percent by
reserve forces. As for the Concept's effect on predictability of mobility
forces' deployments, Air Force officials said that mobility force
deployments are usually scheduled in advance and that the Expeditionary
Concept is expected to further improve deployment predictability.

Results

While our analysis demonstrates that some of the anticipated benefits of the
Expeditionary Concept are being achieved, the Air Force has yet to develop
its own evaluation strategy that would provide senior leadership with the
analysis it needs to guide the further development of the Concept. To date,
the Air Force has focused its attention on implementation of the
Expeditionary Concept, which is still in its first 15-month cycle. Although
the Air Force has established specific goals relating to deployment
frequency and duration, it has not systematically assessed whether the
Concept is achieving these goals. Further, the Air Force expects to achieve
other important benefits from the Expeditionary Concept, but has yet to
establish specific quantifiable goals for those benefits. For example, the
Air Force has established two quantifiable goals regarding deployment
duration and frequency. One goal is that no one in the Air Force should have
to deploy more than 120 days per year and a second goal is that overseas
contingency deployments under the Concept should not exceed 90 days every 15
months. The Concept is also structured so that the Air Force can, based on
unit alignment, project future unit deployment periods for servicemembers.
However, the Air Force has not set specific measurable goals for the level
of predictability desired for individual servicemembers, such as 180 days
advance notice before actual deployment. Further, the Air Force has not
monitored deployment duration or frequency to determine whether the Concept
is providing deployment relief. This information is important because it
enables the Air Force to assess whether the Concept is operating as
intended, particularly for specific aircraft mission areas (such as
precision-guided munitions) and for support specialty areas (like security
forces or communications). It also provides Air Force leadership the data it
needs to assess whether the Concept is on track or whether adjustments are
needed in implementing the Concept.

Operational Challenges

Air Force leadership recognizes that the Guard and Reserves are crucial to
the success of the Expeditionary Concept. Guard and Reserve forces are
expected to pick up more of the workload in overseas contingencies, and this
will change how reservists have been traditionally used. Reservists are an
integral part of each AEF and are expected to deploy with the active forces
in support of the five ongoing contingencies. Despite these changes, Guard
and Reserve officials believe the Expeditionary Concept will prove
beneficial to reserve forces and the Air Force as a whole. But they note
that there are two operational challenges that could affect Reserve
participation in the Expeditionary Concept, one dealing with existing
personnel allocations, and another dealing with the capabilities of Reserve
aircraft. Even though the reserves are a significant factor in the future
success of the Concept, the Air Force is not systematically monitoring the
impact of reserve force participation on reserve forces.

Used

Under the Expeditionary Concept, Guard and Reserve forces are used much
differently than in the past. According to Air Force officials, some Guard
and Reserve combat forces have historically deployed in support of
contingency operations, but generally only during specific periods of the
year, not throughout the entire year. Guard and Reserve support forces, on
the other hand, have rarely been deployed to overseas operations and have
been used instead to replace deployed active forces at U.S. bases. Under the
Expeditionary Concept, both combat and support reserve forces will deploy to
overseas contingency operations on a regular basis throughout the year.
According to both Guard and Reserve officials, this is a significant change
for both reservists and theater commanders, particularly for reserve support
forces, since the Expeditionary Concept requires them to ramp up from
virtually zero deployments to meeting as much as 10 percent of theater
commander requirements.

Both the Guard and Reserve have combat, mobility, and combat support forces
aligned with every AEF and deploy regularly with active Air Force personnel.
In fact, with Guard and Reserve forces accounting for 60 percent of the
combat and mobility squadrons aligned in the AEFs, they are key to easing
the deployment burden on active forces. However, due to their part-time
status, the reserves' participation in AEFs is different than that of their
active counterparts. Based on a resourcing conference held before the
beginning of each Expeditionary Force cycle, the Guard and Reserve review
the theater commanders' requirements and determine the number of aircraft
they will commit to the rotation and the number of qualified reservists
available to fill the commanders' requirements. According to Air Guard and
Air Reserve officials, factors considered in these determinations include
training status, certification status (if required), prior deployments, and
volunteer status. The size of each commitment depends largely on the number
and size of the Guard and Reserve units aligned with the AEFs. For example,
one AEF has nine Guard fighter squadrons scheduled to provide all the air
superiority8capability required by the theater commander. In contrast,
another AEF has only three Guard fighter squadrons that meet only a portion
of air superiority requirements. Guard and Reserve forces that are not
deployed are not placed on-call like their active counterparts.

Guard and Reserve officials have set a target of providing 10 percent of the
expeditionary combat support forces required by the Air Force for overseas
contingency operations.9 This support comes primarily from support units
associated with the aligned combat squadrons. For example, if the 192nd
Fighter Wing in Richmond, Virginia, is to deploy aircraft and crews to an
operation during an AEF rotation, support from this unit, such as security
forces, firefighters, and civil engineers, would also likely deploy to the
same operation during that rotation. Deploying combat support in this
manner, according to reserve officials, provides unit efficiency because
deployment transportation is coordinated as a unit and many aspects of the
operations are conducted as a unit.

The Guard and Reserves will rely totally on volunteers to deploy to
contingencies. According to reserve officials, the reserves can activate
volunteering reservists under 10 U.S.C. 12301(d), which contains no express
limit on the resulting active duty tour. Reservists, under the Expeditionary
Concept, are limited to volunteer for no less than 15 days in theater plus
the necessary travel time to and from the overseas operation. The Guard and
Reserve officials have estimated that 70 percent and
100 percent, of their servicemembers, respectively, will volunteer for these
rotations. Although they believe reservists are free to volunteer for more
than 15 days (in 15-day increments), the Air Force is using 15 days in
theater as the common denominator to determine the number of reservists
needed to meet their commitments. This means that the Reserves must identify
as many as six volunteers for every 90-day position that they commit to
fill. In addition, to ensure that reserves' participation in contingencies
does not preclude their availability for annual training, the Guard has set
a ceiling of one deployment per reservist every 30 months (or every other
cycle) rather than once every 15 months. The Air Reserve set the ceiling a
bit higher, at one deployment every 45 months (or once every third cycle).
While this ensures that reservists are not continuously deploying overseas
to the detriment of annual training, these ceilings make it even more
challenging for the reserves to commit substantial forces to AEF rotations
because it reduces the number of personnel available in each AEF.

Concept

Guard and Reserve officials believe the Expeditionary Concept should have a
positive effect on the reserve forces. For example, they consider
predictability of deployment an important benefit since reservists will know
when and where they will be deploying overseas at least a year or more in
advance.10 In addition to improving reservists' quality of life, this
predictability should give their employers more lead-time to fill in for the
reservist or rearrange schedules. These officials also noted that because
reservists will deploy more frequently to support real world crises,
employers should derive a sense of national pride from their employees'
deployments. The Expeditionary Concept should also enhance the role of the
Guard and Reserves in the Air Force's Total Force. Prior to Concept
implementation, the reserves were often used to fill in for deployed active
forces, particularly at U.S. bases, and were not always viewed as front-line
forces, according to reserve officials. The officials believe that as
Reserve forces deploy regularly overseas to support ongoing contingency
operations, they will be able to demonstrate that they can play a vital role
in these operations.

Challenges

Reserve officials mentioned that there are operational challenges that are
likely to arise in their efforts to maintain the reserves' active
participation in the Expeditionary Concept. One of these is being able to
provide high-demand personnel such as cargo handlers, fuel specialists, and
security personnel. According to reserve officials, the reserves are sized
and structured to meet the demands of a major war, but not continuous
deployments to contingencies. Thus, some specialty areas are stressed by
contingency demands because of the lack of personnel depth. Additionally,
the volunteerism rate can affect the number of reservists available to meet
participation commitments in these specialties. Finally, Guard and Reserve
training is often designed to meet basic requirements. However, if theater
commander's requirements exceed this basic training level, they further
limit the availability of reservists. For example, according to Air Reserve
officials, telecommunication specialists in the Air Reserves may have the
basic skills necessary to deploy but not the unique job training that
commanders may require, such as operating a foreign telephone system.
According to reserve officials, shortages in several specific specialty
areas could occur during the first 30 months of AEF rotations. For example,
the Guard projects that it will experience as much as a 40-percent shortfall
in fuel specialists during this 30-month period. This could require the
Guard to deploy reservists more than once every 30 months. For other
specialty areas such as security forces, cargo handlers, and general
services personnel such as cooks, officials project that nearly 100 percent
of available forces may need to volunteer if the reserves are to participate
at desired levels.

Reserve officials indicated that they do not want this challenge to stand in
the way of their participation in AEF rotations. Instead, they would prefer
to increase the number of trained personnel, improve volunteerism, and/or
obtain an increase in the number of authorized positions in certain shortage
areas. The Guard initiated a study in March 1999 to identify and evaluate
specialty areas stressed by contingency operations and areas with ample
personnel to meet their commitments. This effort, which is expected to
become a recurring evaluation, will be used by the Guard to develop the
2002-07 spending plan and may result in reallocating positions. While this
may address the need to adjust authorizations in some areas, it may not
address the shortage of people to fill these authorizations or the lack of
volunteers. According to Air Reserve officials, they are evaluating each
specialty area prior to making commitments for participating in future
rotations and will identify those areas where they might have to limit their
participation, as well as those areas where increased participation is
possible. They also stated that the Air Reserve is working with theater
commands to identify and better define, wherever possible, overly stringent
requirements that might preclude reserve participation.

Another challenge, according to reserve officials, is to better match the
reserves' aircraft capabilities with their increased role in contingency
operations. For example, theater commanders often request the capability to
launch precision-guided munitions, yet only 25 percent of the Guard and
Reserve F-16 squadrons are currently capable of performing this mission.
While Guard officials expect their aircraft to be upgraded over time, they
believe the current lack of capability limits the extent that reserve
aircraft and aircrews can participate in AEF deployments. Additionally, they
believe that lack of capability to perform the high-demand suppression of
enemy air defenses mission also limits the utility of the Guard's combat
units. For example, three units of Guard F-16s were originally aligned with
AEF 4, and three with AEF 10. However, because these Guard pilots were not
trained, and their aircraft were not equipped to perform the suppression of
enemy air defenses mission, they were realigned with other AEFs and replaced
by active aircraft and aircrews that are better equipped.

Reserve officials believe that other operational challenges are more
manageable. These include ensuring adequate and reliable transportation for
rotating forces, managing annual training so that overseas deployments do
not adversely affect readiness, and monitoring the effect of more frequent
deployments on retention and recruiting.

Systematically Monitored

While the Guard and Reserves monitor some aspects of their participation in
the Expeditionary Concept, they do not have a comprehensive approach for
systematically gathering data to measure the Concept's effect on them. For
example, the reserves have initiated individual efforts to monitor specific
problems, such as shortages in specific specialty areas, and level of
individual reservist's deployments. Although these individual efforts
provide increased visibility in specific areas, reserve officials told us
that they were not aware of any systematic effort to collect and monitor
data critical to evaluating reserves' AEF participation. For example,
according to reserve officials, neither Guard nor Reserve is systematically
tracking volunteerism rates. Nevertheless, without this data, they have
estimated that 70 percent of Guard personnel and 100 percent of Air Reserve
personnel may volunteer for overseas duty. Air Guard and Air Reserve
officials believe it is important for their leadership to know the actual
level of volunteerism being achieved in order to assess whether additional
efforts are needed to encourage volunteerism or whether they need to adjust
their commitments. Likewise, data on recruitment and retention trends and
AEF deployments by aircraft type and support specialty are important for
assessing the impact of the Expeditionary Concept on reserve forces. For
example, the Air Force could monitor whether retention issues observed in
the active force, were simply being transferred to the reserves. Air Guard
and Air Reserve officials agreed that there are a number of factors critical
to determining the extent to which the reserves will be able to participate
in AEF rotations to contingencies under the Concept.

Rotations

The Air Force has stated that in the near term, the Expeditionary Concept
will not be used to deploy forces to a major war.11 Instead, the Air Force
would revert to its traditional approach to providing forces for a major
war. This traditional approach involves designating all the squadrons in a
wing to a single theater commander for use in a major war. The Expeditionary
Concept, in contrast, aligns each squadron in a wing12 to a different AEF.
Thus, the forces each theater commander relies on to conduct a major war are
spread throughout all 10 AEFs. Figure 5 illustrates how all squadrons in a
wing would deploy to the same theater in a major war but for contingencies,
each squadron is aligned to a different AEF.

Source: GAO.

Air Force and U.S. Joint Forces Command13 officials agreed that they expect
to continue contingency operations while engaging in a single major war
unless the National Command Authority decided to reduce contingency
requirements or order selective disengagement. For example, Kosovo showed
that even though Air Force participation in that contingency approached what
might be expected in a major war, ongoing contingencies substantially
continued.14 If a single major war were to occur, U.S. Joint Forces Command
officials agreed the first priority would be to deploy forces to the war.
Once the war's requirements were met, the second priority would be to
continue contingency operations. Given that a single major war would require
significant forces from each AEF, we conducted a detailed analysis to
determine whether the Air Force could continue AEF rotations to
contingencies with the remaining forces.

We analyzed two separate major war scenarios15 and found that when forces
are drawn from the AEFs to support either war, the expeditionary force
rotations to ongoing contingencies would be seriously disrupted. For
example, seven AEFs would deploy as much as 50 percent of aligned combat
forces to one single major war scenario and those remaining forces would be
predominately (60 percent) reserves. Additionally 4 of the 10 AEFs would be
left without the capability to deliver precision-guided munitions and 5
would have no capability to suppress enemy air defenses.

In addition to the limited remaining capabilities, the rotation schedule
would be disrupted. We concluded that no AEF pair could sustain 90-day
rotations for the five ongoing contingency operations during a single major
war. For example, the remaining forces would be more than ample to meet some
current contingency requirements with 90-day rotations (such as providing
air superiority). However, the AEFs would not have enough remaining forces
to maintain 90-day rotations for other capabilities such as those discussed
above. Pooling the remaining forces from all AEFs would enable the Air Force
to meet requirements for contingency operations but deployment periods could
be as high as 180 days.16 For example, in another single major war scenario,
three of the five AEF pairs only contain one or fewer precision-guided
munition squadrons. Air Force officials said that four air superiority Guard
squadrons would be upgraded by September 2000 to perform both air
superiority and precision-guided munition missions. While these upgrades
will help alleviate the shortfall, the Air Force would still not be able to
meet all the precision-guided munition contingency requirements with 90-day
rotations. Without pooling remaining squadrons, only one of the AEF pairs
would meet the requirement for four of these squadrons. Alternatively, to
maintain the Concept's goal of limiting deployments to 90 days, current
contingency requirements would likely have to be reduced. It is also
possible, according to Air Force and U.S. Joint Forces Command officials,
that other services or allies might be able to meet some continuing
contingency requirements.

After the single major war ends, forces will need to reconstitute before
resuming regular AEF contingency rotations and would involve both those
forces serving in the major war as well as those deployed for extended
periods to contingencies according to Air Force officials. Reconstitution is
the time a squadron needs to return to its pre-deployment condition and
includes conducting proficiency training, equipment maintenance, and
inventory resupply. The time required for reconstitution depends on the
deployment's duration and on how much of the squadron was deployed--the
longer the deployment and the more aircraft deployed from a squadron mean a
longer reconstitution period. Air Force officials agreed that in order to
reconstitute its forces after a major war, the Air Force may have to
temporarily reduce its contingency participation below required levels. As
mentioned earlier, 60 percent of the forces remaining to continue
contingency operations could be reserve forces. Since these reserves would
likely have been deployed for an extended period, Air Force officials said
they may not volunteer for subsequent AEF contingency rotations.17 Air Force
and U.S. Joint Forces Command officials agreed that reconstitution after a
single major war would significantly affect how quickly the Air Force could
resume its peacetime AEF contingency rotations.

To deal with the conditions described by our analysis, Air Force and U.S.
Joint Forces Command officials stated they would rely on established crisis
action planning18 to identify the forces to meet ongoing contingency
requirements and those of a major war. According to Air Force officials, if
units identified for a major war are deployed to an on-going contingency,
they could substitute another unit for the major war that would provide the
same capability. However, units with unique capabilities would likely be
redeployed from contingency operations to the major war. Once the war's
requirements were met, officials agreed they would plan to continue
contingency operations with remaining forces. Air Force officials explained
that while forces would not flow exactly as planned to a major war, the
Expeditionary Concept would likely improve crisis action planning. For
example, the Concept gives the Air Force the flexibility to determine in
advance which units would be deployed to contingencies and would not be
immediately available to a major war. As a result, according to Air Force
officials, they could plan well in advance which units might substitute for
those deployed and not available for a major war. When the war ends, Air
Force officials also stated they would use the AEF unit alignments to plan
and implement units' reconstitution, as they did after Operation Allied
Force in Kosovo.

Although the Expeditionary Concept was initially established to address
contingency operations, the Air Force's long-term vision is to further
mature the Concept to the point where AEFs would be used to provide forces
to both major wars and contingencies. Once the long-term vision is achieved,
Air Force officials believe, providing forces to and recovering from a major
war will be easier. Standard, interchangeable AEFs will allow the Air Force
to deploy intact AEFs to a war and leave whole AEFs to sustain contingency
operations. Officials also believe that if forces were deployed by AEF,
reconstitution would be simplified because entire AEFs could complete
reconstitution on similar timetables.

To achieve the Expeditionary vision, Air Force officials recognize that a
significant cultural change must occur. Transitioning to this future state,
according to these officials, means several conditions must be met. Key
among these conditions is that the Department of Defense and the theater
commanders need to accept standardized AEF forces that contain
interchangeable capabilities by completing planned upgrades and reflect this
acceptance in defense planning documents, including the Defense Planning
Guidance, allocation of forces in the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan, and
the Joint Operations Planning Execution System.19 The Secretary of Defense,
in his April 2000 guidance to the services, acknowledged AEFs and tasked the
Secretary of the Air Force to submit a report by
December 15, 2000, that includes the Concept's costs and benefits and a
description of force capabilities. Although defense guidance acknowledgment
is a first step, U.S. Joint Forces Command officials stated that to be
accepted by theater commanders, the Air Force needs to standardize AEF force
capabilities and make them truly interchangeable. While the Air Force
currently considers capabilities in the AEFs to be similar, all AEFs are not
yet truly interchangeable according to an Air Force official. For example,
all AEFs have precision-guided munitions capability, but only three
currently have stand-off precision-guided munitions capability. Air Force
and U.S Joint Forces Command officials believe that with standardized
capabilities, the AEFs could become an accepted approach for planning and
conducting all operations, including major wars.

The Air Force has planned several capability upgrades that will help make
the AEFs more comparable. These upgrades are programmed for active and
reserve fighter squadrons between fiscal years 2001 and 2005 and include
capabilities such as improved precision-guided munitions. Air Force
officials agreed that while these upgrades will enhance AEF capabilities by
enabling some aircraft to perform more than one mission, they were planned
before the Expeditionary Concept was developed and are not attributable to
the Concept's implementation. Air Force officials have stated that since the
Concept's implementation, the service has been developing an investment
strategy that could modify the timing and sequence of these upgrades,20
obtaining some of them earlier. As the Air Force further defines the
capabilities necessary for a standard AEF, officials stated it may identify
additional capabilities required to obtain interchangeable AEFs, thus
increasing the costs directly attributable to implementing the Concept's
long-term vision.

Our analysis indicates that the Expeditionary Concept is likely to provide
measurable benefits. However, the Air Force has not sufficiently established
quantifiable goals or a systematic approach for collecting data to measure
the Concept's results. Without these management tools, the Air Force will
not be able to systematically assess the extent to which the Expeditionary
Concept is achieving its objectives or obtain the information it needs to
make future adjustments to realize the Concept's full potential. For
example, the Air Force has not quantified the objective of improving
overseas deployment predictability for servicemembers. Neither has it
systematically collected data to determine whether it is accomplishing this
goal. Although Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotational cycles provide Air
Force units known predictability, there are no deployment predictability
goals for individual servicemembers. Without quantifiable goals and
systematic data collection and analysis, the Air Force cannot readily
monitor attributes critical to implementing the Expeditionary Concept.
Examples of these attributes include overseas deployment frequency and
predictability, the degree that the Total Force is being used to meet
theater commanders' needs, and the extent that reservists are volunteering
for overseas deployments. More quantifiable goals and a comprehensive
analysis of progress toward meeting these goals could provide the Air Force
with the management information needed to know whether the Expeditionary
Concept is an improvement over past deployment patterns or whether
adjustments to the Concept are needed.

Our analysis shows that while the Expeditionary Concept does not reduce the
Air Force's ability to deploy forces to a single major war, the Air Force's
ability to continue rotations to contingency operations during a major war
would be seriously disrupted. The Air Force would have to rely on crisis
action planning to pool sufficient assets from across the 10 Aerospace
Expeditionary Force groups to meet some ongoing contingency requirements and
determine which other contingency requirements could not be fully met. Our
analysis also indicates that the Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation
structure would have to be rebuilt through a significant reconstitution of
forces used not only in the major war but also ongoing contingencies. This
would mean that forces needed to rebuild rotations under the Concept would
not be immediately available after the end of a major war and that the Air
Force's crisis action planning would continue to provide forces to ongoing
contingencies.

To enable the Air Force to better understand the effects of its
Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept and make any needed adjustments, we
recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the Air
Force to develop specific quantifiable goals based on the Concept's broad
objectives, and establish needed metrics to measure progress toward these
goals. These measurable goals should directly relate to the Expeditionary
Concept's overall objectives. Examples of specific aspects concerning the
Expeditionary Concept that the Air Force should consider measuring include
the amount of advance notice servicemembers receive before deploying to
ongoing contingencies and the length and frequency of deployments for
specific units and servicemembers. In particular, the Air Force should
monitor factors critical to reserve participation in the Expeditionary
Aerospace Force Concept, including the level of volunteerism achieved and
the extent to which the reserves can meet theater commanders' requirements
for certain high-demand capabilities, such as aircraft that can deliver
precision-guided munitions.

In light of the high level of congressional interest in the application of
the Expeditionary Concept to Air Force operations, the Congress may wish to
require the Secretary of Defense to direct the Secretary of the Air Force to
establish specific, quantifiable goals and performance measures based on the
Concept's broad objectives, and to use this management framework to provide
the Congress with annual updates on the Concept's status and results.

In written comments, the Department of Defense partially agreed with our
report recommendation to develop specific, quantifiable goals based on the
Concept's broad objectives, and establish needed metrics to measure progress
toward those goals. The Department of Defense noted that the Expeditionary
Concept was a "work in progress" and that our review occurred early in its
implementation, thus limiting our ability to fully assess its impact. The
Department of Defense also emphasized the significance of the Expeditionary
Concept in its comments, noting that it represented the largest
transformation in fundamental Air Force processes since before the Cold War.
Measuring the Concept's true effectiveness will be difficult, according to
the Department, because there are many influential factors that can affect
its success. Nonetheless, the Department of Defense agreed with us that a
systematic, quantifiable approach to determining Expeditionary Concept
efficacy was critical. However, the Department of Defense disagreed with our
assessment that the Air Force does not have adequate metrics to ensure
progress toward the Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept's goals. The
Department of Defense believes that existing Air Force systems and metrics
are sufficient for determining implementation effectiveness, albeit with
refinements based upon real experience with the Expeditionary Concept.

We agree with the Department of Defense's assessment that the Expeditionary
Concept represents a significant departure from the past. This is why we
believed it was important for us to report to congressional oversight
committees how the Air Force plans to implement this Concept, and to develop
methodologies for testing the Concept's potential benefits. For example, our
deployment analysis was based on existing AEF force alignments, not on
actual deployments. We did not attempt to assess the Concept's results this
early in its implementation, but believe the Air Force will need to do so
soon. This is why our recommendation focuses on what the Air Force will need
to do to get ready for such assessments.

We also agree that the Air Force currently maintains a number of systems
that could provide useful information related to the Expeditionary Concept.
For example, the Air Force currently measures retention and frequency of
unit deployments. We are also encouraged by the Air Force's willingness to
refine these systems as needed to assist in its analysis of the
Expeditionary Concept. However, these measurement tools will only be useful
in assessing the Expeditionary Concept's management and results if they are
applied to specific, measurable results-oriented goals that are linked to
the Concept' s current broad objectives. As our report notes, such goals
have not been established. For example, our report notes that deployment
predictability is a principle objective of the Expeditionary Concept, yet no
specific, quantifiable goals have been set to measure the degree of change
in this area. In addition, information collected needs to be measured
against baseline data established prior to the Expeditionary Concept and
according to specific goals established to implement the Concept's broad
objectives. Such an approach would allow Air Force leadership to better
assess, for example, whether retention problems experienced in the active
force are improving or are being shifted to reservists that are subject to
increased overseas deployments under the Expeditionary Concept. The
Department of Defense pointed out that there are many varying conditions
that might impact the success of the Expeditionary Concept, such as
contingency number and size, and the Air Force's force size. However, these
variables have long existed and do not constitute a reason not to pursue a
focused performance measurement approach.

Because we do not believe the steps currently taken by the Air Force will be
sufficient for measuring Expeditionary Concept results, we included a matter
for congressional consideration that would require the Air Force to
establish specific, quantifiable goals and performance measures based on the
Concept's broad objectives, and to use this management framework to provide
the Congress with annual updates on the Concept's status and results.

Comments from the Department of Defense are reprinted in appendix II. The
Department also provided technical comments that we incorporated as
appropriate.

We are sending copies of this report to the Honorable William S. Cohen,
Secretary of Defense, and the Honorable F. Whitten Peters, Secretary of the
Air Force. We will also make copies available to others upon request.

Please contact me at (202) 512-5140 if you or your staff have any questions
concerning this report. Major contributors to this report were
Gwendolyn R. Jaffe, Fred Harrison, Brenda Waterfield, and Dawn Godfrey.

Carol R. Schuster
Associate Director
National Security Preparedness Issues

List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable Tim Hutchinson
Chairman
The Honorable Max Cleland
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Personnel
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable James M. Inhofe
Chairman
Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Steve Buyer
Chairman
Subcommittee on Military Personnel
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives

Scope and Methodology

To assess the extent to which the Expeditionary Aerospace Force Concept will
spread the burden of deployments over a larger part of the Air Force's
combat forces, we compared historical deployments to five contingencies for
fiscal years 1998 and 1999 to projected deployments to the same
contingencies for fiscal years 2000 and 2001. We used the Air Force's
definition of the five contingencies--Northern Watch, Southern Watch,
Keflavik, Bosnia, and counter-drug operations. We performed this comparison
for combat aircraft in all three Air Force components--active, Air Guard,
and Air Reserve. We did not examine the relief the concept might provide to
combat support forces. For the active forces, we calculated the days for the
projected contingency deployments based on each squadron's Aerospace
Expeditionary Force (AEF) alignment and deployment on-call period (90 days).
For the Air Guard and Air Reserve, we calculated the days for the projected
contingency deployments based on each squadron's AEF alignment and the
number of days the reserve components committed to deploy (usually 30 days
per squadron). For mobility aircraft, we calculated the projected number of
days deployed based on each units' AEF alignment for fiscal years 2000 and
2001. For the active component, we calculated 90 days deployed per squadron
for the
C-130 units and 45 days deployed per squadron for the KC-135 units. For the
Air Guard and Air Reserve, we calculated 14 days deployed per squadron for
both aircraft types. Using this data, we determined the proportion each
component is projected to deploy to the five contingencies under the
Expeditionary Concept. We discussed our methodology and results with
officials at: Air Combat Command and the AEF Center at Langley Air Force
Base in Hampton, Virginia; Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in
Illinois; and Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon. All the officials
agreed our methodology was appropriate.

We obtained the historical deployment data from an Air Force contractor, DFI
International. DFI developed and has maintained its deployment database
since 1995 and has used the database in many analyses including DOD's
Quadrennial Defense Review. We discussed our use of the historical
deployment data with officials at Air Combat Command, the AEF Center, Air
Force Headquarters, and DFI International and all agreed we used the data
appropriately and it was accurately summarized in our analysis. We did not
test DFI's or the Air Force's management controls over its automated system.

To assess what challenges the reserves face in meeting their expected role
under the Concept, we discussed the reserves' role with officials in the
Operations Directorate at the Air Force Reserve Command at Warner Robins Air
Force Base in Macon, Georgia, and the Air National Guard Plans and
Operations Directorates in the Washington, D.C., area. Our discussions
included obtaining an understanding of how the reserves' support to
contingency operations will change as a result of EAF implementation,
identifying benefits that reserve officials expect will result from EAF
implementation, and identifying challenges officials said they expect to
overcome.

Additionally, we obtained data from the Reserve components on their units'
AEF alignment and commitments to ongoing contingency operations and
discussed the factors they took into account in deciding which reservists
could fill theater commander requirements.

To assess whether the Air Force could continue rotating forces to ongoing
contingency operations, as planned under the Concept, while simultaneously
engaging in a single major war, we examined Air Force documents stating the
Concept's purpose and discussed how the Concept was being implemented with
officials in the Air Force Headquarters EAF Implementation Office. Given
that the Air Force would not use the EAF Concept, in the near term, to
manage force deployments to the two major war scenario, we assessed the
effect one major war would have on the EAF Concept.21 From the most recently
approved plans, U.S. Joint Forces Command provided a list of Air Force
combat forces that are planned to deploy to each of two single, independent
major wars. We identified the residual forces (i.e., the forces that would
not deploy in a one-war scenario) by comparing the forces planned to deploy
to the forces aligned in the 10 AEFs and 2 on-call wings. Next, we compared
the residual forces with the requirements for the five ongoing contingency
operations to determine whether residual forces were: (1) adequate in
numbers and mix to meet contingency requirements and (2) sufficient to
sustain rotations as planned under the Concept.

We compared the U.S. Joint Forces Command combat squadron AEF alignments
with the alignments according to the Air Combat Command. Since we found a
high degree of correlation, we were satisfied that the U.S. Joint Forces
Command data was sound. We did not test the Command's management controls
over its automated system. Also, U.S. Joint Forces Command and Air Combat
Command officials agreed that our summary of the requirements for the five
contingency operations was accurate. Finally, we briefed officials at U.S.
Joint Forces Command, Air Combat Command, the AEF Center, and Air Force
Headquarters on our analysis methodology and results. At each office, the
officials agreed our methodology was logical and our data sources were
reliable.

We conducted our review from June 1999 through June 2000 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.

Comments From the Department of Defense

(702002)

Figure 1: Expeditionary Aerospace Force Structure 9

Figure 2: AEF Rotation Cycle 10

Figure 3: Historical and Projected Deployments for Active and Air Guard F-16
Precision-Guided Munitions Squadrons 12

Figure 4: Active F-15C/Ds Average Days Deployed Before and After
Expeditionary Concept Implementation 13

Figure 5: Notional Comparison of Two Approaches to Providing Forces: Major
War Versus Contingencies 21
  

1. Combat forces include fighters and bombers; mobility forces include
refueling and intratheater airlift aircraft; support forces include
personnel providing base security, fire fighting, medical, administrative,
and other services.

2. We did not examine the relief that the concept might provide to combat
support forces.

3. We use the term reserves to refer collectively to the Air National Guard
and the Air Reserve.

4. The Air Force has identified nearly $300 million in Expeditionary Concept
implementation costs that are included in the fiscal year 2001-05 Defense
budget. These funds will generally pay for enhancing AEF capabilities.

5. Low Density/High Demand forces are relatively few in number and heavily
used.

6. Our deployment projections are based on units' AEF alignment and vary by
active, Guard and Reserve units and by aircraft type. See appendix I for our
complete methodology.

7. Our analysis included F-15s, F-16s, and A-10s.

8. Air superiority is the degree of dominance in the air battle of one force
over another.

9. Reserve participation was about 6 percent of the total combat support
requirement for AEFs 3 and 4, which were deployed between December 1999 and
February 2000. This was only the second deployment under the Expeditionary
Aerospace Force Concept.

10. To date, however, deployment predictability has been weakened, according
to Air Reserve officials, because some reservists scheduled to deploy have
been disqualified by special training requirements.

11. Air Force officials stated that this situation would exist until about
2007, when the fighter upgrades are scheduled to be completed.

12. Active Air Force fighter wings generally contain two or three squadrons.

13. U.S. Joint Forces Command provides U.S.-based forces to all theater
commanders.

14. According to Air Force officials, the service did not disengage from any
contingency operations, but did scale back operations in Northern Watch for
a short time due to a lack of critical command and control aircraft.

15. To analyze two separate major war scenarios, the U.S. Joint Forces
Command provided the specific Air Force combat squadrons designated in
planning documents to support each scenario.

16. According to U.S. Joint Forces Command and Air Force officials, the
actual number of days the remaining AEF forces would be deployed would
depend on how long the major war lasts and the time required for force
reconstitution.

17. Additionally, once reservists deploy for more than 180 days the Air
Force must count them against the service's active end strength. Therefore,
even if reservists volunteer, the Air Force may preclude those that have
been on extended deployments from deploying again to an ongoing contingency
to stay within end strength limits.

18. Crisis action planning is a short-term process that would identify units
immediately available for the major war as prescribed in deliberate plans
and continuing contingencies.

19. The Defense Planning Guidance is the Secretary of Defense's guidance to
the military services for developing budgets, which support the National
Military Strategy. The Joint Operation Planning Execution System provides
military guidance to the armed services for developing and implementing
operational plans.

20. According to an Air Force official, this investment strategy will not be
finalized until the Fiscal Year 2002-07 defense plan is released in early
2001.

21. This question is not relevant for the two nearly simultaneous major wars
because all Air Force combat squadrons would deploy to the two wars and,
therefore, combat forces would have to be withdrawn from contingencies.
*** End of document. ***