$240M to Help Refine the USA’s “Expeditionary Aerospace Forces”
L-3 Communications Corp. in Arlington, TX received a $240.9 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract. This is a warfighter readiness science and technology program. This effort is to research, develop, demonstrate, evaluate, and transition leading edge technologies and methods to improve warfighter readiness and optimize human-centered logistic processes, enabling the Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEFs) to achieve their mission goals. The Air Force is issuing a task order up to the maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may necessitate less than the amount above.
To understand this contract, it’s necessary to understand the AEF concept, and also some of the recent issues with the system.
Under the AEF concept almost all of the Air Force – active, Reserve and Guard – would be divided into 10 force packages, each with a cross-section of Air Force weapon systems drawn from geographically separated units. The idea is that each AEF would have about 175 aircraft,would be more formidable than the air forces of most nations, would be able to respond within 72 hours of any unexpected contingency, and would be trained and tailored to meet commanders’ needs in a wide range of contingency operations. The concept involved having each AEF on call to handle contingency operations for about 90 days every 15 months, with two on call at all times. While on call, about half of each AEF would wait on call at home bases, and about half would deploy.
According to a Sept 16, 2004 AFPN story, however, the prior “bidding” system for slots in operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch gradually broke down because of the lack of predictability involved. This problem was compounded with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when a surge in requirements during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom resulted in the Air Force using Airmen from almost every AEF pair to fulfill requirements. Adjustments have been made to the AEF system as a result, but there is more to be done; including adjusting training, professional military education, and other programs to better support an expeditionary force.
Solicitation began March 2005, and negotiations were completed July 2005. Work will be performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Mexa, AZ, and will be complete by July 2010. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8650-05-D-6502).
- GlobalSecurity.org – Air Expeditionary Force
- AFPN Today (Sept. 16/04) – AEF still an evolving concept
- RAND (2002) – Supporting Expeditionary Aerospace Forces: An Operational Architecture for Combat Support Execution Planning and Control
- Air Force Magazine (October 2000) – Special Issue: Perspectives on Expeditionary Aerospace Force
- RAND (2000) – Supporting Expeditionary Aerospace Forces: A Concept for Evolving the Agile Combat Support/Mobility System of the Future
- AF News Service (Aug. 28/98) – Gen. Michael E. Ryan, Air Force Chief of Staff: History behind expeditionary aerospace force concept