The development and application of technology has been an essential part of U.S. airpower, leading to a century of air supremacy. But that developmental path has rarely been straight, and it has never been smooth.
Only the extraordinary efforts of exceptional leadership - in the Air Forces and the wider Department of Defense, in science and in industry - have made the triumphs of military airpower possible. Development Planning provides recommendations to improve development planning for near-term acquisition projects, concepts not quite ready for acquisition, corporate strategic plans, and training of acquisition personnel. This report reviews past uses of development planning by the Air Force, and offers an organizational construct that will help the Air Force across its core functions. Developmental planning, used properly by experienced practitioners, can provide the Air Force leadership with a tool to answer the critical question, Over the next 20 years in 5-year increments, what capability gaps will the Air Force have that must be filled? Development planning will also provide for development of the workforce skills needed to think strategically and to defectively define and close the capability gap. This report describes what development planning could be and should be for the Air Force.