Air, Space and Cyberspace Superiority: "Freedom from Attack and Freedom to Attack"
Air Force forces continue to operate, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace. The necessary degree of control in air and space, and the ability to operate effectively in cyberspace, are essential to provide the joint force with freedom to conduct operations and prevent an adversary’s effective use of these domains. This mission includes the ability to operate in and across air, space, and cyberspace to achieve varying levels of domain superiority over adversaries seeking to exploit all means to disrupt friendly operations. This theme seeks science and technology ideas that support establishing and maintaining air, space, and cyberspace superiority to permit the conduct of friendly operations at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by an adversary.
Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: "Eyes and Ears on Adversaries"
ISR plays a fundamental and constantly-increasing role in how the joint force maintains situational awareness, conducts and assesses operations, and employs force against adversaries. GIISR continues to enable current and future operations through the cross-domain synchronization and integration of: planning and operation of ISR assets; collection using near-ubiquitous sensors; and processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) of finished intelligence. GIISR also includes the integration of collection and analysis, and evolved production capabilities across the globe. ISR is conducted in, from, and through all domains, in all phases of operations, and in complex operating environments ranging from permissive to highly-contested. Simply put, ISR is the foundation upon which every joint, interagency, and coalition operation achieves success. This theme seeks science and technology ideas that support gathering information, monitoring current or potential adversaries, and providing real-time data to forces in combat.
Rapid Global Mobility: "Delivery on Demand"
Effective, responsive, and precise Rapid Global Mobility (RGM) underpins Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power through innovative capabilities and approaches. Demanding global commitments require this essential combat delivery and sustainment mechanism for the joint force to act within the rapid tempo of emerging operations. At its core, RGM has always focused on the relocation of manpower and physical materials, but this process now occurs through a much wider portfolio of physical—and virtual—methods across multiple domains. This theme seeks science and technology ideas that support the timely delivery of cargo and personnel around the world, enabling operations by all U.S. and many allied military services.
Global Precision Strike: "Any Target, Any Time"
Today the Air Force strikes targets worldwide using bombers, special operations platforms, fighters, other aircraft, and missiles. However strike capabilities employed from and through the air, space, and cyberspace domains can have precision effects in and across all physical and virtual domains. This theme seeks science and technology ideas that provide kinetic/non-kinetic, lethal/non-lethal, direct/indirect, and permanent/reversible effects, striking targets across the globe in hours, minutes, or seconds.
Command and Control: "Right Info, Right Person, Right Time"
Today Airmen employ the Air Force’s other four interdependent and enduring core missions through robust, adaptable, and survivable command and control systems. The Air Force provides access to reliable communications and information networks so that the joint team can operate globally at a high tempo and level of intensity. Air Force command and control systems give commanders the ability to conduct highly coordinated joint operations on an unequaled scale using centralized command, distributed control, and decentralized execution. This theme seeks science and technology ideas that provide future command and control systems that are reliable, resilient, and interoperable, ensuring that the Air Force delivers the right information to the right person at the right time.
Enhancing the Performance of Airmen: "The World's Greatest Air Force—Powered by Airmen, Fueled by Innovation"
New concepts may be technologically driven, but they are executed by Airmen. As the Air Force explores new ways to conduct its core missions in the future, it must do so with a clear-eyed understanding of what that future will require of its Airmen. These future concepts, at their core, rely upon Airmen who display critical thinking in complex situations, are educated and trained appropriately, and ultimately are empowered and trusted to execute. This theme seeks science and technology ideas that enhance the physical and mental performance and capabilities of Airmen.