Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Document created: 1 September 06
Air & Space Power Journal - Fall 2006

Air & Space Power Journal


Revised USAF Doctrine Publication

Air Force Doctrine Document 2, Operations and Organization

Lt Col D. Robert Poynor, USAF, Retired

REVISED AIR FORCE Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2, Operations and Organization, 27 June 2006 (available at http://afdc.maxwell.af.mil), has undergone significant updating since its publication in 2000. Restructured for better presentation of key ideas, it introduces much new material. For example, chapter 1 lays out an important point: “Due to its speed, range, and three-dimensional perspective, air and space power operates in ways that are fundamentally different from other forms of military power; thus, air power and space power are more akin to each other than to the other forms of military power” (emphasis in original) (p. 1). This statement cements the bond between air and space, clarifying why it makes sense to have the two domains resident in a single service. Having identified the inextricable bond that exists between them, AFDD 2 then acknowledges that air and space power is

not monolithic in organization and presentation. Because it encompasses a wide range of capabilities and operating environments, it defies a single, general model for organization, planning, and employment. . . . At the focus of operations within any region, it is possible to place the collective capabilities of air and space power in the hands of a single Airman through an adroit arrangement of command relationships, focused expeditionary organization, reachback, and forward deployment of specialized talent. (emphasis in original) (p. 1)

This recognition of different organizational models and ways to effectively tie them together lies at the heart of AFDD 2.

A new chapter on operations contains the Air Force’s thinking on effects-based operations as well as an updated discussion of the range of military operations (ROMO). The ROMO model presented here is just that—a model. Arguably, one could create other models and titles for operations within the ROMO. More importantly, one must understand that Airmen may find themselves participating in a spectrum of military tasks and that joint and service doctrine already defines those types of operations.

The document offers another new subject—homeland operations—treating it separately from the ROMO discussion for emphasis. The text explains the types of tasks Airmen might perform in this environment and examines some unique organizational considerations. A new section on the political dimension of smaller-scale contingencies captures material previously contained in AFDD 2-3, Military Operations other than War, 3 July 2000, now rescinded following the approval of AFDD 2. This section talks to such issues as restraint, legitimacy, unity of effort in multilateral operations, and perseverance. AFDD 2 also touches on conflict termination, transition to follow-on operations, and redeployment.

The document’s authors have expanded the chapter on Air Force organization afield, based on recent experience. Some discussion remains familiar, such as the basic structure of the air and space expeditionary task force (AETF) and the roles of the commander, Air Force forces (COMAFFOR) as well as the joint force air and space component commander. One also finds a broader, clarified treatment of command relationships—easily the squeakiest wheel in many joint scenarios—again based on lessons learned. A new section addresses the integration of regionally based and functionally organized forces, picking up the theme introduced at the beginning of the publication.

An added chapter on joint organization, paralleling the discussion of Air Force organization, explains how the AETF plugs into a joint force and offers other nuggets regarding air and space power within such a force. The chapter on planning considerations now includes details regarding effects-based operations in planning. In its revised treatment of air and space operations centers, AFDD 2 now touches on air-mobility and space-operations centers, organization, and processes. Furthermore, the revamped A-staff discussion incorporates current responsibilities.

The document deliberately omits any explication of the new Air Force component headquarters / war-fighting headquarters (AFCHQ/WFHQ) because the governing directives and shape of this organization remain under development. One should note that the AFCHQ/WFHQ leverages principles contained in AFDD 2: responsibilities of the COMAFFOR, structure of the AETF, and lash-up of command relationships and authorities already presented in the publication. Details of the AFCHQ/WFHQ will appear later in appropriate policy directives.

The Air Force’s meatiest doctrine publication, AFDD 2 describes much of what the service does at the operational level of war. This revision gives our Airmen the latest doctrinal principles about planning, organizing, and conceptualizing operations.


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University

[ Back Issues | Home Page | Feedback? Email the Editor ]