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Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this unique book deals with USAF doctrine for airmen. Operational Design has emerged as a significant doctrinal change to military planning methodology, and most U.S. Air Force Airmen have not been well equipped to practice it, still less to lead it, for several reasons. First, Air Force culture focuses on platforms and technology rather than critical thinking and problem solving. Second, this focus leads to a cultural celebration of tactics and the tactical level of warfare, at the expense of operational art and the broad, comprehensive perspective required by Design. Third, officers often avoid sufficient exposure to joint planning and operations, preferring Service-centric assignments and thereby limiting their comprehension of means to solve "wicked" problems. Finally, professional military education (PME) is underutilized as a way of correcting deficiencies in Design-like thinking.

To remedy the situation, the Air Force must broaden its accessions beyond the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. It must also promote broad, joint career exposure and maintain momentum in the ongoing PME curriculum shift toward design. Airmen individually must practice leveraging the strengths of airmindedness (while avoiding its pitfalls), and professionally prepare themselves through study. These measures will do much to prepare Airmen to practice and lead Design in a joint environment.
For a number of cultural and career path reasons, most Airmen (there are notable exceptions) are underequipped to add value to, still less to lead, Operational Design efforts in a joint planning endeavor. This is deeply troubling because of a double risk it poses. If Airmen cannot "do design" as well as the other Services, then air, space, and cyberspace contributions to joint operational missions may be marginal—and consequently marginalized. Further, a weak grasp of design may yield non-optimal courses of action, introducing increased risk to forces or mission.

The reasons many Airmen are unprepared for design merit careful attention, and an analysis of several factors is offered below. This analysis proposes that for Airmen to better contribute to, or lead, Operational Design requires a threefold effort. The Air Force must equip Airmen professionally, Airmen must individually prepare themselves intellectually, and both must drive a cultural shift in Service mindset to prepare Airmen to master design. When those efforts mature, the risks above are reversed: the air component's contribution to joint operations is more effective, the joint force incurs less risk, and mission accomplishment is more likely.

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