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Air Force releases Global Futures Report: Joint Functions in 2040

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Air Force published its Global Futures Report April 12, assessing four potential operating environments Airmen may have to navigate in before the turn of the century.

The report incorporates findings using Foresight Methodology to identify key forces and factors that will drive or constrain how the service will fight in 2040.


“This report defines success in challenging singular visions of the future while understanding disruptions will be the norm,” said Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, Air Force Futures director. “The strategies we adopt and the forces we design must address the possibility of surprise, especially surprises that could transform how we fight.”

The Air Force Global Futures Report: Joint Functions in 2040 explores four scenarios, or future operating environments, through the lens of the seven joint functions found in U.S. doctrine – Fires, Protection, Movement and Maneuver, Information, Intelligence, Command and Control (C2) and Sustainment.

The report provides an assessment of each prediction to uncover weak signals, current trends and the forces that may impact future operations for the Air Force and Department of Defense. Potential alternative futures include:

Continued Growth – Great power competitors continue attempts to increase leverage over the United States and diminish its advantages.

Transformational – Unprecedented technological advances and their widespread dissemination reshape global power dynamics on a scale not previously considered plausible.

Constrained – Sino-Russian coordination continues to benefit both countries in everything from new technologies, strategic and critical minerals, to the mass production and distribution of resources.

Collapse – Natural and man-made crises drive isolationist and nationalist tendencies globally.

The report will be used to inform planners, strategists and wargame scenarios positioning Airmen to anticipate, prepare and operate in the future.

“In order to provide the appropriate level of national security our nation relies on, we must understand the world in such a way that we maintain a faster decision cycle than our adversaries,” Hinote said. “Our strategic superiority depends on it.”

In addition to understanding the impact of today’s choices on tomorrow, the report has the ability to shape a budget approach that identifies and focuses on investments that are relevant across a variety of use cases, such as the ones depicted in the report. The full copy is available here.