December 19, 2023

Congress Asks Department of the Air Force for 2050 Force Design Plan. What Will It Mean?

Source: Air & Space Forces Magazine

Journalists: Greg Hadley, Chris Gordon

The department’s ongoing re-optimization review, implemented by Secretary Frank Kendall this fall, will likely inform that force design, which will be due by Aug. 31, 2024.

“The background of this provision is a long struggle between the Department of the Air Force and Congress over force structure,” said Becca Wasser, a senior defense fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Year after year, Congress has pushed back against USAF attempts to retire legacy aircraft as part of its force modernization efforts. This provision may be an attempt to get the USAF to elucidate its preferred force mix so Congress can influence force design as it sees fit.”


“The forcing function of putting the answers in concrete terms will benefit the Space Force as it contends for space in inter-service competitions,” added Hannah Dennis, a defense research associate at CNAS. “It will also benefit the American public and Congress, who clearly still have questions about the service’s purpose and its often unique approach to manning, training, and equipping.”

Read the full story and more from Air & Space Forces Magazine.


  • Becca Wasser

    Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Becca Wasser is a Senior Fellow for the Defense Program and lead of The Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas include defense strategy and o...

  • Hannah Dennis

    Research Associate, Defense Program

    Hannah Dennis is a Research Associate for the Defense Program at CNAS where she also supports the CNAS Gaming Lab. Her research focuses on the future of warfare, defense acqui...