Resiliency will be the the new metric to measure Air Force Space Command’s ability to wage combat. AFSPC boss Gen. John Hyten focused on the characteristic in his 2016 Strategic Intent document. “Any capability that cannot survive when facing the threats of today and the future is worthless in conflict—no matter how impressive its peacetime capability,” he wrote. Hyten said the command must increase its “ability to operate effectively in contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments, and reconnect with [the] profession of arms,” but can only do so by increasing resiliency in the command’s capabilities and people. He said expanding experimentation and prototyping, developing new systems rapidly, and fielding forces integrated in multi-domain operations will improve survivability. “Potential adversaries are close on our heels,” he wrote. “So each of us must act quickly and decisively, understand and take calculated risks, learn from mistakes, and rapidly adapt to confront and overcome uncertainty and win the fight.” Hyten encouraged his airmen to consider themselves combatants, but “take pride in being that cyber-geek or space-geek.” (See also: A Vision for the Future of Space and Strengthening Space Systems.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.