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Aerospace Sanctuary in 2025 
Shrinking the Bull’s-Eye 



A Research Paper 
Presented To 

Air Force 2025 


by 

Col M. Scott Mayes 
Maj Felix A. Zambetti III 
Maj Stephen G. Harris 
Maj Linda K. Fronczak 
Maj Samuel J. McCraw 


August 1996 


Form SF298 Citation Data 


Report Date Report Type 

("DD MON YYYY") «.epoi i i y pe 

00081996 

Dates Covered (from... to) 

("DD MON YYYY") 

Title and Subtitle 

Contract or Grant Number 

Aerospace Sanctuary in 2025: Shrinking the Bulls-Eye 

Program Element Number 

Authors 

Project Number 

Mayes, M. Scott; Zambetti III, Felix A.; Harris, Stephen G.; 
Fronczak, Finda K.; McCraw, Samuel J. 

Task Number 


Work Unit Number 

Performing Organization Name(s) and Address(es) 

Air Command and Staff College Maxwell AFB, A1 36112 

Performing Organization 

Number(s) 

Sponsoring/Monitoring Agency Name(s) and Address(es) 

Monitoring Agency Acronym 

Monitoring Agency Report 

Number(s) 

Distribution/Availability Statement 

Approved for public release, distribution unlimited 

Supplementary Notes 

Abstract 

Subject Terms 

Document Classification 

unclassified 

Classification of SF298 

unclassified 

Classification of Abstract 

unclassified 

Limitation of Abstract 

unlimited 

Number of Pages 

65 










Disclaimer 


2025 is a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the 
concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space 
force in the future. Presented on 17 June 1996, this report was produced in the Department of Defense school 
environment of academic freedom and in the interest of advancing concepts related to national defense. The 
views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the 
United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the United States government. 

This report contains fictional representations of future situations/scenarios. Any similarities to real people or 
events, other than those specifically cited, are unintentional and are for purposes of illustration only. 

This publication has been reviewed by security and policy review authorities, is unclassified, and is cleared 
for public release. 



Contents 


Chapter Page 

Disclaimer.ii 

Illustrations.iv 

Tables.v 

Executive Summary.vi 

1 Introduction.1 

2 Required Capabilities.6 

Overview.6 

Today’s Air Base.6 

Assumptions About Aerospace Bases in 2025.8 

Low-Observable Base.10 

Shielded Base.11 

Self-Healing Base.13 

Mobile Base.13 

Core Entity Migration.13 

3 System Description.16 

Integrated System.16 

Advanced Sensors.17 

Robotics.18 

Nanotechnology.18 

Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS).19 

Artificial Intelligence/Neural Nets.21 

Defensive Weapons.21 

Biotechnology.22 

Super Quantum Interference Devices (SQUID).23 

Advanced Materials.24 

Holography.25 

Power.26 

4 Concept of Operations.30 

Introduction.31 

Day-to-Day Operations.31 

Low-Observable Base.34 

Shielded Base.34 

Self-Healing Base.37 

Mobile Base.39 

Phase I—Deployment.39 

Phase II—Eorce Beddown.41 

Phase III—Sustainment.42 

iii 








































Chapter 


Page 


Phase IV—Redeployment.42 

Conclusion.43 

5 Investigation Recommendations.45 

Results.48 

Summation.53 

Bibliography.55 

Illustrations 

Figure Page 

1 -1. Migration of Core Entities.3 

1- 2. Roles and Missions Revision.9 

2- 1. Defense/Core Entity Tradeoff.8 

2-2. Targeting Chain of Events.10 

4- 1. Concept of Operations Pictorial-2025.30 

5- 1. Average Technology Rating—Graphic Depiction.50 

5-2. Development Cost Sharing.52 


IV 
















Tables 


Table Page 

1 Reducing Core Functions.14 

2 Applicability of Technologies to Concepts.27 

3 Average Quality Ranking Matrix.46 

4 Average Technology Ratings Matrix.49 


V 







Executive Summary 


There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more certain in 
its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. 

— Niccolo Machiavelli 
The Prince 

Future technologies may allow a direct reduction of core entities^ or centers of gravity on an operating 
air base. Reducing the core entities has a direct impact on base defense. As fewer things become critical for 
sustained operations, defending them becomes easier. Further, there is a direct synergism in operability and 
defense. The same technologies that improve operability by making it easier to complete the mission or by 
reducing the cost of doing business also reduce the number of core entities, thereby reducing defense 
requirements. 

On the air base of 1996, there are many core entities. Degrading or destroying any of the ascribed core 
entities could degrade mission accomplishment. For the aerospace base of 2025, very few things should be 
core. This paper identifies the concepts to use emerging technologies that have the potential to create a land 
base that may be considered an integrated system which provides a sanctuary; capable of sustaining 
operations regardless of threat, location, environmental condition, or type of mission. 

First, the base can be harder to find and therefore target. This situation is accomplished by reducing the 
number of people, assets, buildings, spare parts, and so forth on the base. Reductions are possible for several 
reasons: an increase in the reliability and maintainability of everything on the base; the use of robotics for 
tasks not requiring human inputs; and a reduction of bomb dump size as munitions get smaller. Ambient 
temperature superconductivity could allow redundant, dispersed power generation, eliminating exposed 
power grids. The structures that remain could take advantage of material advances provided by 
nanotechnology and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to mask or reduce external infrared, radar, 
and visual signatures. These technologies could offer improved hardening to reduce damage should an 
adversary successfully prosecute an attack. 


VI 



Second, the future base can be guarded by a ground-based multispectral sensor system integrated with 


and augmented by air and space sensors. Information from these sensors could be fed into an integrated 
command and control system which also controls or directs the base’s response to an attack. Response could 
come from ground-based directed energy weapons, smart mines, “enhanced” human response teams with 
lethal and nonlethal capabilities, and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The base could also be 
covered by a microwave energy shield able to translate the kinetic energy possessed by inbound weapons 
and use it to repel those weapons. The end result is a self-contained, self-protecting aerospace base. 

If the base is actually damaged, the next concept envisions structures, runways, and taxiways able to 
determine the level of damage and initiate their own repairs. Chemical or biological contaminants could be 

detected and cleanup started using enzymes or catalysts resultant of advances in biotechnology. 

2 

It is assumed that the US may still need to deploy to forward bases. The final concept draws upon 
advances in nanotechnology, MEMS, biotechnology, and methods of power generation which could allow the 
deployment, buildup, sustainment, and redeployment of an aerospace base including runways, buildings, and 
defenses with an order of magnitude less lift. In this vision of the future, runways could be created anywhere 
with air-dropped materials, while precision air-dropped structures self-erect or are organically grown onto a 
previously emplaced skeletal frame. 

All of these concepts portend a revolutionary way of viewing aerospace base operability and defense. 
Today’s air base is a necessary evil. It is expensive, large, and hard to defend. The aerospace base of 2025 
will still be required; however, it should cost less, be much easier to operate, and be self-defending. The 
ability to position airpower assets anywhere in the world- based only on a set of coordinates instead of being 
tied to preexisting infrastructure- makes the aerospace base of 2025 a force enhancer rather than the mere 
force supporter of today’s Air Force. 

The conceptualization of (aerospace) basing as enhancing rather than merely supporting may foster a 
renaissance in thinking about the way the US applies military power. Today’s forward operations are 
restricted by basing requirements, that is, water and runways. With the advances identified in this paper, air 
and ground power can go anywhere—together if desired. This, in turn, may offer unparalleled opportunities 
to improve the organization of joint operations or even the services themselves. 


vii 



Notes 


Dr. Karl P. Magyar, “Conflicts in the Post-Containment Era,” in Earl Weaver et al., eds.. War and 
Conflict Textbook, vol. 1 (Maxwell AEB, Ala.: Air Command and Staff College, August 1995), 15. Dr. 
Magyar’s Security Levels of Interest Model has been adopted by the team to represent the core, intermediate, 
and peripheral components or entities of an aerospace base to correspond to the respective components or 
entities functional importance to sustainment of the aerospace base mission. This concept is explained in 
detail in chapter 1. 

Jeffery R. Barnett, Future War: An Assessment of Aerospace Campaigns in 2010 (Maxwell AEB, 
Ala.: Air University Press, 1996), xxv. The author directly infers that the United States will continue to use 
the military to respond to varying types of overseas contingencies. Peacekeeping, humanitarian, and disaster 
relief operations are examples which seem to be part of the United States’ charitable ethic and will demand 
the maintenance of a capability to deploy forward. 



Chapter 1 


Introduction 


Petty geniuses attempt to hold everything; wise men hold fast to the key points. They parry 
great blows and scorn little accidents. There is an ancient apothegm: he who would 
preserve everything preserves nothing. 

— Frederick the Great 

Instructions for His Generals 

In 2025, dominance in aerospace is possible, if and only if, the aerospace base is specifically designed 
to be a sanctuary for aerospace operations. Yet, with aerospace dominance enabled by networked, brilliant, 
multispectral sensors, no adversary can hide. Ill intent or aggressive action is met by near immediate 
response. Manned and unmanned air and space systems target and attack with unrelenting precision. 

Thus, adversaries could target the key infrastructure that enables aerospace dominance. The United 
States (US) will potentially “. . . face threats from one or more sources: a successor state to the former 
Soviet Union armed with a large, diverse, and advanced long-range nuclear arsenal; a “second-rate” nuclear 
power with strategic forces resembling those now possessed by Britain, France, and China; or a developing 
state deploying a moderate number of ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States.”^ A military 

peer or niche adversary could potentially attack the US with advanced weapon systems, including precision 

2 

guided munitions or directed energy weapons based from airborne or space-based platforms. The network 
of commercial, space-based, multispectral sensors, with the capacity to identify and pinpoint high-value 
assets and low-cost global positioning system guided missiles to attack them, could be available to anyone 

3 

willing to pay the commercial fee. Conversely, the US could remain vulnerable to low-technology attacks 
on aerospace bases in 2025 by an inferior adversary attempting to negate its overwhelming technological 


1 



4 

advantage. Even today, post-Gulf War analysis by some third world countries has led to this conclusion. 
Indian brig Vijai K. Nair hypothesized that enemy special forces raids against United States Air Force 
forward bases and logistics concentrations, though sure to be costly, could produce disproportionately 
significant results.^ 

The relevant question is whether to even have forward operating bases in 2025 given the 
disproportionate effects of an attack by a determined adversary? While air and space force projection will 
predominately be continental United States (CONUS) based, the US could still require the use of forward 
airfields for reasons related to its position as a world power, its charitable ethic, conflict containment, and 
coalition force considerations.^ These are factors which demand a physical presence, especially those 

related to peacekeeping, humanitarian, and disaster relief, and do not readily conform to operations based 
7 

exclusively from CONUS. Assuming that not all forward deployed operating areas will have suitable 

g 

facilities, the requirement to maintain a force deployment and beddown capability could be essential to air 
and space force projection. This requirement entails forward deployed aerospace bases to be fully 
automated and integrated facilities, similar to CONUS bases, with the added attribute of mobility. 

Forward operating bases will not be able to rely on distance from the forward edge of the battle area, 

9 

or its equivalent in 2025, as the principal means of protection from attack. The base (including CONUS 
bases) will have to defend itself against a broad spectrum of threats. The nature of the challenges posed by 
the 2025 threat environment require a redefinition of operability and defense. 

In 2025, operability and defense is the ability to mount and sustain aerospace operations regardless of 
the nature of threat, level of conflict, environmental conditions, and/or geographic location.A key aspect 
of operability is the defense of those components or systems deemed critical to support of the aerospace 
base’s mission. This analysis will demonstrate that by capitalizing on specific emerging technologies, the 
capability to enhance aerospace operability and defense is attainable by significantly reducing the number of 
aerospace base “core entities,” and thereby increasing the base’s survivability, if targeted and attacked. 

Core is defined as the central, innermost part of anything, the most important part,^^ and entity is a thing 

12 

that has definite, individual existence in reality or in the mind; anything real in itself, hence the derivation 
of “core entity(ies).” Accordingly, and within the context of this thesis, a subordinate function will be to 


2 



define those core entities which are most crucial to operability and potentially the most likely targets of an 
adversary. The analysis will also identify, but to a lesser degree, those elements of the aerospace base which 
are defined as intermediate and peripheral entities (i.e., nondecisive points or components). The end result 
of this identification process will illustrate the technological means to migrate those entities presently 
categorized as core entities outward into the intermediate and peripheral categories (see figure 1-1). 
Reducing the number and dispersing the key base functions, that if attacked, would halt operations, could 
reduce base vulnerability, and increase operational effectiveness. Said another way, by substantially 
reducing the number of core entities present on an aerospace base, the defense required to protect those 
remaining core entities is scaled proportionately. However, there is a resultant trade-off between defense 
and the number of core entities. It may be technically feasible to reduce the number of core entities but is 
economically infeasible. The converse is true, it may be expensive and difficult to reduce the number of core 
entities, but necessary because it may be even more difficult or more expensive to protect them. 




Figure 1-1. Migration of Core Entities 

Today, operability and defense is considered a force support mission, similar to logistics and combat 
13 

support. The role of force support is to “. . . support and sustain the aerospace combat roles of aerospace 

14 

control, force application, and force enhancement.” In 2025, improvements in the survivability, reliability, 
adaptability, defensibility, and mobility of an aerospace base could transform operability and defense into a 
force enhancement mission. As shown in figure 1-2,^^ this conversion elevates aerospace base operability 


3 











and defense to the level of airlift, aerospace replenishment, special operations, and information operations— 


force enhancers—with the capability to . . increase the ability of aerospace and surface forces to perform 

. • • • 
their mission. 



Figure 1-2. Roles and Missions Revision 

Although the full ramifications of this concept are not completely clear, its fulfillment signifies a 
tremendous expansion in the capability of airpower force projection. Completion of the aerospace base 
metamorphosis will involve a counterbalancing trade-off between the migration (reduction) of core entities 
and increasing defensive capabilities. Whichever objective the cost^benefit analysis supports, the ability to 
operate and the necessity of defense are inseparable and leverage many of the same technologies anticipated 
to be available in 2025. The following chapter identifies the capabilities required to operate and defend an 
aerospace base of 2025. 


4 



























































Notes 


Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), Project 2025 (Norfolk, Va.: National Defense 

University, 6 May 1992), 45. 

2 

Jeffery R. Barnett, Future Wars: An Aissessment of Aerospace Campaigns in 2010 (Maxwell AFB, 
Ala.: Air University Press, January 1996), 27-28, 76-77. 

^Ibid., 1. 

4 

David A. Shlapak and Alan Vick, Check Six Begins on the Ground, Responding to the Evolving 
Ground Threat to U.S. Air Force Bases, RAND Report NR-606-AF (Santa Monica, Calif: RAND, 1995), 

XV. 

Brig Vijai K. Nair, War in the Gulf Lessons for the Third World (New Delhi: Lancer International, 
1991), 225-28. 

^ INSS, 46-47. 

’ Ibid., 47. 

8 5 / 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 2T Century 
(unpublished draft, the mobility volume, 15 December 1995), 37. 

Barnett, xxv. 

Team-derived definition of operability and defense for purpose of thesis development. 

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 2d ed. s.v. “cores” 

Ibid., “entity”. 

13 

AFM 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, vol. 1, March 1992, 7. 

Ibid., vol. 2, 285. 

Department of the Air Force, Cornerstones of Information Warfare, n.d., 11. This publication, 
signed by Gen Ronald R. Fogleman, Air Force chief of staff, and Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. 
Widnall, updates the previously established AFM 1-1 Roles and Missions breakout to take into account 
changes brought on by the rising preeminence of information warfare. The “Cornerstone” model, shown in 
modified version, is being used as the baseline Roles and Missions model for the 2025 Project. 

'^AFM 1-1, vof 1,7. 


5 



Chapter 2 


Required Capabilities 


The secret of success is to have a solid body so firm and impenetrable that wherever it is 
or wherever it may go, it shall bring the enemy to a stand like a mobile bastion, and shall 
be self-defensive. 

— Comte de Montecucculi 
Principes de VArt Militaire 

Overview 

This chapter initially reviews operability and defense at today’s air base, then enumerates the 
assumptions which bound the scope of this paper, and defines the worst-case operating considerations in 
2025. Lastly, the requirements for a 2025 base will be defined and distributed under the categories of low- 
observable base, shielded base, self-healing base, and mobile base. 

Today’s Air Base 

Currently, aerospace operations are conducted from three types of aerodromes. The first type is a main 

operations base (MOB).^ MOBs are characterized by highly developed infrastructures and support 

architectures, mostly stateside. The MOB represents an extreme of operating environments and by far the 

most capable operating infrastructure. The second type of base is called a collocated operations base 
2 

(COB). A COB is typically owned and operated by an ally and characteristically varies in its state of 

3 

accessibility and readiness. The final type of base is referred to as a forward operations base (FOB). Most 
FOBs are extremely austere with little to no infrastructure. When an infrastructure does exist, it is usually 


6 



poorly maintained or inadequate in some other regard. For the purposes of this paper, the discussion will be 
confined to the antipodes of operating bases: MOBs and FOBs. Both types of operating bases contain a large 
number of core entities, including aircraft, runways, aircrews, support personnel, and command post. Current 

air base defense operations are nested in the overall rear area defense and are the responsibility of the land 

4 

component commander (LCC) in a theater of operations. Lx)cating air bases in the rear area enhances 
security as it uses geographical separation from the enemy to one’s advantage. Traditionally, rear area 
defense is a low priority concern, as the LCC’s attention is typically focused at the front and the enemy main. 
Rear units are then expected to provide their own security, and as a result, air base defense commanders are 
essentially on their own.^ Consequently, this leads to an imbalance in the relationship between the number of 
entities needed to be protected and the level of protection available as represented by figure 2-1. The 
objective is to seek a more measured balance between the core entities of an aerospace base and its 
defensive capabilities. In order to achieve this objective, the aerospace base of 2025 must be defined with 
respect to the platforms it must support and sustain. But first, formulation of logical and reasonable 
assumptions regarding the dimensions of the requirement with respect to the most-demanding-to-support or 
worst-case scenario must accomplished. 


7 



4 



Figure 2-1. Defense/Core Entity Trade-off 


Assumptions About Aerospace Bases in 2025 

Aerospace bases in 2025 could assume many varying forms and sizes and support numerous 
differentiated types of forces. It is then with a focus on the worst-case scenario that the assumptions, in terms 
of operability and defense, are derived. Three considerations germane to operating and defending a base are 
size, location, and priorities of the resources on the base. The worst-case scenario is one which requires a 
runway of fixed-dimensions for horizontal takeoffs and landings and security of high-priority resources in a 
high-threat environment. This seems reasonable and plausible, since many of the airframes which may be on 
the ramp in 2025 are either on the ramp today or are in near-term production.^ It is most likely that a greater 
number of manned and unmanned aerospace platforms in 2025 will have vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) 

7 

and short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities. Presuming that the basing (launch and 
recovery) requirements for VTOL/STOVL platforms are substantially less than horizontal takeoff and landing 


8 








platforms, hence easier to sustain and defend, they will not be addressed specifically because they do not 
meet the worst-case scenario criteria. 

As introduced in the preceding chapter, a derived requirement of the 2025 aerospace base is to reduce 
the core entities required to support the mission. Given this requirement, several assumptions are critical to 
the analysis. Although not all bases will be the same, the worst-case and possibly the most likely case is that 
base infrastructure will still include the equivalent of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) standard 
runway (7,500 feet x 125 feet), fuel, ordnance, operators, and maintainers. Supporting this primary force 
element will be personnel and equipment providing command and control, power generation, water and 
sewage handling, administration, billeting, medical/dental services, security, and other necessary 
infrastructure maintainers and systems. Although the number of people, types of systems, and the methods 
used may change, the necessity to perform these functions should still exist. On CONUS bases of 2025, it 
may be necessary to protect high-value assets at a near-zero attrition rate, while operating under the 
constraint of reduced operating budgets. Correspondingly, there may still exist the need to project airpower 
from FOBs with like capabilities of a CONUS base, using minimal assets for setup and sustainment. All 
aerospace bases present significant defense challenges in terms of retention of operability owing to the 

g 

lethality and nonlinear attributes of the battlespace in 2025. 

Predictions concerning the future battlefield suggest that a theater of operations could well constitute 
and encompass the globe owing to space-based and intercontinental, surface-based strategic platforms 

(weapons and sensors). Thus, the “idea of a close engagement. . . will fade” and “disengaged conflict, a war 

9 

fought from a distance that proceeds without massing of troops and weapons” may be possible in the future. 
There may be no front line, it may be difficult to have secrets and bases in CONUS and abroad may be 
equally lucrative and vulnerable targets. 

Successful targeting of an aerospace base can be pictured as a long chain of events (see figure 2-2).^*^ 
Increasing the level of uncertainty or difficulty in completing the associated tasks of a given link in the chain 
correspondingly increases the probability of error and thereby decreases the potential for effective targeting. 
The potential adversaries of the US in 2025 could presumably still use this targeting methodology or a near¬ 
facsimile thereof but operate at a much faster tempo than currently possible. Essentially, anything that sits 


9 



still longer than a few minutes in 2025 is a viable target/^ but not necessarily one that is always targetable 
and destructible. 


f 1. 


\ 

Penetrate Outer 



Defenses 


-5! 

^ — 


2. 


/ 


y \ 

\ 

Tf ^ 

It \ 


ID Base 




Target 
Repaired 
Return 
to 

Step 1. 


3. 




Penetrate Base 





7. 

J- 


Cause 


— 

Damage 

—X 


Hit Target 


/ 

Defenses 




5. 1 

Penetrate Targe 

rj 

t 

^ 


- 1 



ID Target 






Figure 2-2. Targeting Chain of Events 

Given the worst-case assumptions of a FOB in a high-threat environment with high- value resources, a 
runway of fixed-dimensions, and a high operational tempo, aerospace base requirements are distributed 
under the following four major categories: low observable base, shielded base, self-healing base, and 
mobile base. Irrespective of the category, the overarching concern is focused on reducing the number of core 
entities and protecting those that remain. 


Low-Observable Base 

Presently, bases are very large and easily identifiable. Base structures are fixed and typically laid out 
in symmetrical patterns organized around runways of at least 7,500 feet in length. Most MOB structures are 
categorized as “soft” targets with little or no attempt to conceal their physical identity. All air bases have 


10 























































































visible control towers, runway and taxi lights, large fuel storage tanks, and flight line lighting. Adversaries 
can attack indirectly, using target coordinates, or directly, by target recognition, using any one of several 
spectral means. To survive and operate in 2025, aerospace base structures will have to be harder to discern 
and locate. Accomplishing this requires a combination of things to occur: (1) reduce the number of people 
and structures on-base, (2) increase the margin for error in threat system target acquisition, and (3) eliminate 
or “blend” all conspicuous aerospace base markings into the surrounding background. The concept is to 
stretch or completely break links two and four in the targeting chain of events previously denoted in figure 2- 
2 . 

Several technological advances need to be considered when developing this concept. Aircraft in 2025 

could manifest dramatic improvements in reliability and maintainability when compared to their 1996 

12 

counterparts. It is feasible to expect a decreasing mean-time-between-failures rate. Systems could be 

13 

characterized by “graceful degradation” with most hard failures requiring only the replacement of common 

circuit boards. Aircraft could be essentially self-contained for all normal operations and most maintenance 
14 

operations. The ramp population of aircraft ground equipment could be virtually nonexistent and what 
remains may only be used for abnormal equipment maintenance (engine removals). The explosive yield in 
conventional munitions could increase at least tenfold.'^ With added improvements in fusing and bomb case 
design, one or two bomb designs could conceivably replace today’s myriad of cluster and conventional 
munitions, with a resultant smaller munitions storage area.^^ The improvements in systems reliability and 
munitions capabilities could reduce the number of people tied both directly and indirectly to the airfield. 
There may also be a resulting synergistic reduction in the number of storage buildings, houses, chow halls, 
and other facilities needed to be maintained in peacetime or protected in war, making the low- observable 
aerospace base less detectable. 


Shielded Base 

Should an attacker identify the location of an aerospace base, the next step in the successful attack chain 
is to prosecute an attack against the specific target(s). The adversary could threaten with a full range of 
attack methods—from sniping, to the use of precision guided munitions, to the use of a ballistic missile 


11 



loaded with chemical or biological agents. Even directed energy attacks from space are plausible. The base 
commander will need a base that defends across the full attack spectrum if any modicum of operability is to 
be retained. The requirement then becomes to negate or interfere with the completion of steps three and five 
of the targeting chain of events denoted in figure 22. The aerospace base responds to the specific threat with 

a combination of autonomous and human-initiated self-protection mechanisms to defend itself. 

17 

A defense mechanism is any self-protective physiological reaction of an organism. For an aerospace 
base, the self-protective reaction can be either to respond directly to defeat the threat or to mitigate the 
potential for damage. To actively respond to the threat, the base commander needs access to a nearly 
seamless defensive system with integrating intelligence and defense assets. The thrust is that no matter what 
the level of attack, the base commander will have a tiered defensive capability to prevent successful 
penetration of the aerospace base domain. Should the attacker penetrate the outer defensive tiers and 
successfully attack a structure or system, the aerospace base must be able to minimize the damage to the 
assets contained therein. 

The aerospace base will also have to employ passive defensive techniques and technologies. This 
includes reducing the number of core entities, hardening the remaining structures, proliferating redundant key 
operating systems, and using advanced camouflage, concealment, and deception techniques. Power sources 
must be efficient and robust, allowing for uninterrupted operation for extended periods. Facilities must have 
an independent power supply with a reduced spectral signature to prevent adversarial targeting. 

Operational control of defensive systems by the base commander could be accomplished through 
enhanced situational awareness. Enhanced SA, as defined for the purpose of this paper, is the enabler which 
permits the “human-in-the-loop” to correlate, decipher, and react appropriately to various simultaneous 
aural, visual, and electronic sensor inputs with greater rapidity and assuredness. This means the commander 
will need full and unfettered access to all levels of information. Lastly, and to facilitate joint and combined 
operations, sensory and communication capabilities must be survivable, redundant, and interoperable with 
allied nations and sister services. 


12 



Self-Healing Base 


The final option in breaking the targeting chain of events is to recover quickly from a successful attack. 
The desired result is to place the enemy back at step one in the attack chain, as depicted in figure 2-2. In 
2025, seconds may be a decisive factor in deterring, defeating, or withstanding an attack. The aerospace 
base will have to recover quickly from any disruptive attack with minimal, if any, external support. Quick 
recovery first requires being able to recognize the extent of damage. Recovery may then take the form of 
repairing or replacing the structure or system or just absorbing the damage and operating with a minimal loss 
of capability. Today’s air base uses huge stockpiles of material for postattack recovery—the aerospace base 
of 2025 should not. 


Mobile Base 

The need for forward presence will not be eliminated in 2025; however, the manner in which forward 
presence is executed is expected to change. Therefore, at a minimum, a very definite requirement could exist 
to provide a versatile and mobile force packaging capability in order to accommodate forward presence 
requirements. As it stands now, the ability to select FOB sites is severely constrained by several limiting 
factors—the need for a NATO standard runway, water, fuel, ammunition, people, and supplies are among the 
most prominent. The FOB represents the most difficult operating environment. To meet the challenge of the 
operating environment of 2025, FOBs have to become smaller, reaching the point where each can be 
deployed, set up, and sustained entirely by air. The goal is to be able to select an aerospace base location 
using only a cursory map survey and selecting map coordinates for precision siting. 

Core Entity Migration 

Table 1 depicts, arguably, the most important entities relevant to today’s operability requirements and 
their current status as either core, intermediate, or peripheral entities. Additionally, the table depicts those 
same requirements and their envisioned status (core, intermediate, or peripheral) in 2025 with regard to 
meeting the aforementioned operability requirements. 


13 



Table 1 


Reducing Core Functions 


Entity 

Today 


2025 



MOB 

FOB 

MOB 

FOB 

Runway 

Core 

Core 

Intermediate 

Peripheral 

Power 

Core 

Core 

Intermediate 

Peripheral 

Fuel 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Ordnance 

Core 

Core 

Intermediate 

Intermediate 

Operators (Crews) 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Maintainer/Aircraft 

Core 

Core 

Intermediate 

Intermediate 

Airframes/manned 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Core 

UAVs 

Core 

Core 

Intermediate 

Intermediate 

Water 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Core 

Civil Engineers 

Intermediate 

Core 

Peripheral 

Intermediate 

Facilities 

Intermediate 

Intermediate 

Intermediate 

Peripheral 

Security 

Core 

Core 

Intermediate 

Intermediate 

Command, Control, 
Communications, 
Computer, and 
Intelligence (C^I) 

Core 

Core 

Peripheral 

Peripheral 


The denotation of core, intermediate, and peripheral does not necessarily correlate to importance but 
more appropriately to the entity’s survivability or replaceability. For example, runways today are extremely 
difficult to construct and repair. Because severe cratering degrades sortie generation, runways are 
designated a core entity and require a high-level of protection. In 2025, the requirement for a runway will 
exist, but due to technological applications, it should be easier to construct and repair. Runways should 
require a much lower-level of protection and contribute to the reduced effectiveness of adversarial bombing 
due to their ease of repair. Conversely, aircrews of manned aircraft, a core entity today, could remain a core 
entity in 2025, largely due to the inability to quickly replace a trained aircrew. 

As derived from table 1, the number of core entities in 2025 is significantly reduced from that of 1996. 
Core entities are reduced from 11 at a MOB and 12 at a FOB in 1996, to four for both the MOB and FOB in 
2025. The accompanying net reduction in core entities provides a more equitable balance between the 
number of core entities and the defense required to protect them. Knowing the desired end-state, the task then 


14 




devolves to defining those emerging technologies which could provide the means to achieve the desired 
balance between core entities and self-defense means of the mobile aerospace bastion. 


Notes 


' Department of Defense (DOD), Joint Publication 1-02, Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, 

23 March 1994, 224. 

2 

Air Force Pamphlet (AFP) 93-12, Contingency Response Procedures, vol. 2, n.d., 1-3. 

^ DOD, Joint Publication 1-02, 154. 

4 

David A. Shlapak and Alan Vick, Check Six Begins on the Ground: Responding to the Evolving 
Ground Threat to U.S. Air Force Bases, RAND Report MR-606-AF (Santa Monica, Calif; RAND, 1995), 

XV. 

^ Ibid. 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 27” Century 

(unpublished draft, the materials volume, 15 December 1995), 29. 

7 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21 Century, 

summary volume (Washington, D.C.: USAF Scientific Advisory Board, 15 December 1995), 32. 

Evaluation Division, Warfighting Vision 2010: A Framework for Change (Fort Monroe, Va.: Joint 

Warfi^hting Center, 1 August 1995), 3, 5. 

Gary Stix, “Fighting Future Wars,” Scientific American, December 1995, 94. 

The targeting chain of events is a team-derived construct developed to visualize and discuss the 

general events associated with target acquisition and desired effects. 

Institute for National Strategic Studies, Protect 2025 (Norfolk, Va.: National Defense University, 6 

May 1992), 37. 

12 

Dr. Craig M. Brandt et al., “Logistics 2025, Changing Environments, Technologies, and Processes” 
(Wright-Patterson APB, Ohio: Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management, Air Porce Institute 

of Technology, n.d.), 27-28. 

13 

Adm William A. Owens, “A Report on the JROC and the Revolution in Military Affairs,” Marine 

Corps Gazette 19, no. 8 (August 1995): 51. 

14 

Brandt et al., 27. 

New World Vistas, summary volume, 9. 

'%id., 37. 

17 

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 2d ed., s.v. “defense mechanism.” 


15 



Chapter 3 


System Description 


The first stage is the formulation of a felt want by the fighting Service. Once this is clearly 
defined in terms of simple reality it is nearly always possible for the scientific experts to 
find a solution. 

— Winston Churchill 

Integrated System 

The aerospace base of 2025 is a dynamic and integrated system, providing warfighters with a seamless 
and robust base of operations. Gone are the stovepiped, manpower-intensive systems of 1996. They have 
been replaced with a ubiquitous architecture linking personnel, facilities, utilities, defense, and logistics into 
a seamless information net which is self-monitoring and accessible to all personnel, from headquarters to the 
lowest-ranking airman on the base.^ The movement of core entities to the intermediate and peripheral 
categories (see table 2-1) through the application of technology has made them more survivable, more rapidly 
repairable, and so pervasive they are virtually indestructible. This then provides a survivable base to the 
warfighter, irrespective of the threat environment. Prolific ground sensor fields cover and surround the base 
providing complete situational awareness to command and defense personnel. Overhead, a fleet of unmanned 
aerial vehicle (UAVs) provide additional sensor capability, exchange information with satellites, as well as 
function collaterally as standoff weapon platforms for base defense.^ 

Enumerated below are selected technologies and applications that, if developed, could facilitate the 
movement of aerospace base core entities to the intermediate and peripheral categories, reduce defensive 
requirements, increase survivability, and ultimately achieve the reality of an aerospace sanctuary. They offer 


16 



but one possible combination for the attainment of the concept of operations delineated in this paper. (A 
more complete picture of aerospace base operations in 2025 follows in chapter 4, Concept of Operations.) 

Advanced Sensors 

Aerospace base operational and defensive requirements necessitate continuous, near -real-time sensor 
coverage. Diverse sensor capabilities increase accuracy and identification probabilities and correspondingly 
lowers false alarms and error rates. Additionally, they are pervasive, aboard UAVs, on satellite 

3 

constellations, and on the ground. These staring and scanning sensors could produce multispectral and 

synthetic aperture radar images and light detection and ranging returns that could have a resolution of a few 
4 

centimeters. The UAVs “[could] deploy low-altitude or ground-based chemical sensors for accurate 
discrimination of chemical and biological agents.”^ These same sensors could be remotely interrogated, 
allowing them to have reduced size, weight, power, and vulnerability.^ Fusing the sensor-derived 
information into the overall aerospace base communications architecture could give the commander a real¬ 
time view of the security status of the aerospace base and the surrounding area of interest. Approaching 
threats could be identified quickly and accurately. Integrating sensor information into a stand-off weapon 
system could permit accurate targeting at increased distances from the aerospace base, increasing security 

7 

and in turn making adversarial targeting more difficult. 

Countermeasures. Presuming advanced sensor technology will be widespread, advances by the United 
States (US) may be negated unless the technology is more skillfully deployed and employed. Care should be 
taken to seriously consider nontraditional methods and means of deploying sensors in order to retain some 
level of superiority. Additionally and given a wide-spectrum of sensor capabilities, weather, 
electromagnetic pulse (BMP), or other interference may sufficiently degrade aspects of the capability and 
necessitate a return to visual observation means. 


17 



Robotics 


Use of robotics can synergistically increase effectiveness by reducing manpower, infrastructure, and 
other support systems typically required for 24-hour operations on the flight line, in the bomb dump, and 
around the base. Today’s robot is a mere infant compared to what may be available in 2025. The present 

g 

advantages of implemented parallel processing in robots allow rudimentary cognitive skills. When 

combined with the limited motor sensory skills available today, robotic structures are able to perform limited 
9 

inspections on aircraft. By 2025, robots could be designed as advanced “tools” with the capability to fully 
inspect, diagnose, and maintain aircraft, as well as most other base systems for day-to-day operations.'*^ 
Robots could be expected to perform refueling operations, buildup, transport and loading of weapons, 
security functions, and even explosive ordnance disposal. The large computing capacity expected to be 
available in 2025 suggests that a single robot may be capable of alternating among the aforementioned tasks 
for every aircraft on the flight line, including those of our allies. Each robot could be engineered to be 
resistant to varying types of environmental extremes to retain its functionality; that is, ultraviolet rays, 
precipitation, cold and heat, EMP, and chemical/biological attacks. 

Countermeasures. Although constructed to withstand EMP and other destructive measures, the 
possibility still exists for mechanical and/or software failure. Lack of on-scene personnel to effect repairs 
may well cause a significant drop in work productivity until restoration occurs, backup systems are activated 
or additional personnel arrive. 


Nanotechnology 

Nanotechnology is a process whereby matter can be constructed from the atomic level up. When fully 
deployed, nanotechnology may create a new “industrial revolution,” for lack of a better descriptor. Current 
estimates project 20-30 years for this technology to mature." Nanotechnology starts with atoms and uses 

molecular-sized machines to put them together in predetermined configurations. Maturation of this 

12 

technology could mean thorough and inexpensive control of the structure of matter. Nanotechnology infers 
materials and, thereby, structures can be manufactured to whatever specification is required—change colors. 


18 



adapt to ambient temperatures, flex with stresses and strains, counter harmful vibrations or resonance, and 
even self-erect. 

Nanotechnology also has important ramifications for aerospace defense in 2025. One of the earliest 

13 

predicted applications of nanotechnology is in the area of sensors. This technology could produce sensors 

which are extremely lightweight, energy efficient, and inexpensive to mass-produce. Efforts are under way to 

14 

produce sensor capabilities that include chemical and virus detection. Cheap, mass-produced, highly 
sensitive sensors could convey the capability to cover the base and perimeter area with very accurate sensing 
devices that require only small amounts of energy for functioning.^^ Adaptations of nanotechnology can 
reasonably be extended to provide multispectral sensing such as; heat, acoustic, optic, olfactory, and seismic 
capabilities that give a sensitized and near-real-time picture of the base and its surroundings. In the area of 
smell, sensors could be used to detect individual human pheromones for positive identification of personnel 
approaching the base. The sensor system could provide an accurate identification, friend, or foe (IFF) 
capability that could be deployed throughout the base proper, as well as outside the perimeter. The sensor 
system’s multispectral capability may provide an all-weather, day/night operational capability, as well. 
Heat, acoustic, optic, and seismic inputs—fused with the other characteristics previously defined—may 
enable precise identification of what or who has penetrated the sensor area, thereby eliminating false alarms 
but, more importantly, enable the appropriately tailored security response.'^ 


Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) 


MEMS are the products of combining miniaturized mechanical and electronic components in sizes no 
17 

larger than postage stamps. MEMS could potentially afford increased capability, hence greater operability, 

18 

while simultaneously reducing the volume required to deploy the specified capability. For example, 

Westinghouse Science and Technology Center has reduced a 50-pound bench top spectrometer to the size of a 

calculator. Application of this type of technology could result in inexpensive nuclear, biological, and 

19 

chemical contamination detection on the battlefield. Small, mass-produced sensors may make biological 


and chemical detection affordable, easy to deploy, and difficult to counter. 


19 



Nanotechnology and MEMS could be merged for use in environmental cleanup, including cleanup after 
20 

a biological or chemical attack Professors at the University of California at Berkeley are working on a 

chemical factory on a chip. When activated by an electrical charge, chemicals move down to a reaction 

21 

chamber on the chip. Added heat assists the chemical reaction, and the resulting chemical is discharged. 
The end product could very well be an antidote to a toxic substance propagated by adversaries or a lethal or 
nonlethal chemical designed to control crowds or halt intruders. 

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have invented robots, similar to ants, 

that exhibit certain limited aspects of intelligence and differentiated specialization such as avoiding shadows 

22 

and staying away from each other. They are cheap and easy to reprogram “Thirty-five years from now, 

analogous small, lethal, sensing, emitting, flying, crawling, exploding and thinking objects may make the 
23 

battlefield highly lethal.” Exploiting this capability by incorporating “intelligence” and lEE within our 
sensors could provide a “smarf ’ minefield that extends as far from the installation as deemed necessary. This 
smart minefield could be programmed to automatically react/self-detonate to certain stimuli or be 
programmed to report findings and be command-detonated remotely by security forces. 

Additionally, MEMS can make a material into a smart system Researchers are making great strides in 
the area of intelligent materials. It is possible to animate otherwise inert substances through the application 

of a variety of devices: actuators and motors that behave like muscles; sensors that serve as nerves and 

24 

memory; and communications and computational networks that represent the brain and spinal column. 

Basically, intelligent materials allow structures to adapt to their environment, understand what is happening 

25 

to them (cognizant of external forces or stimuli), and even record and report what they experience. Such 
materials are currently in use.^^ Additionally, this technology could enable self-erecting buildings which are 
environmentally adaptive and self-aware. 

Countermeasures. Overwhelming the sensor field with massive inputs, masking odors, or severe 
weather conditions may adversely affect sensor capabilities. The requirement for near-perfect accuracy may 
permit spoofing. In smart materials, complete destruction could obviously render the self-report and 
reconstruction capability nonfunctional. 


20 



Artificial Intelligence/Neural Nets 


The principal technologies required to enable smart sensor networks to provide fused, intelligent 
information to the decision makers and enhance their situational awareness are artificial intelligence and 

neural net technologies. To enhance situational awareness it is necessary to fuse . . multivariate data from 

27 

multiple sources which in turn can be retrieved and processed as a single entity.” Artificial intelligence 

and neural networks integrate sensor signals from various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum 

28 

simultaneously and recognize more sophisticated patterns. Efforts at the Machine Learning and Inference 

Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, in working with pattern recognition, using large 

29 

relational databases, are progressing remarkably well. Advances in this research area may allow the 
development of applications which identify threats by using machine-learning algorithms to find patterns and 
associate the discerned threat with the learned pattern. Additionally, while exploiting artificial intelligence, 

smart nodes may be able to collect information from sensors and perform a variety of functions, including 

30 

analysis and redistribution of the information. Organizing the processing systems for these sensors into 

distributed systems should produce a robust and more survivable system, with no obvious targetable strategic 
31 

core. Hierarchical architecture, signal processing, and action occurring several levels away from the 

central processor are areas being looked at for intelligent materials and may be the answer for the sensor 
32 

fields. 

Countermeasures. Artificial intelligence has proved more elusive than originally thought. 
Programming even commonly understood concepts is extremely difficult. Deception ploys by an adversary 
may be so unique, so completely unanticipated, and not contained within the software capability that the 
system can be spoofed. 


Defensive Weapons 

Nonlethal capabilities include but are not limited to the following: acoustical weapons, chemical 

33 

disablers, low-frequency electromagnetic wave generators, and supercaustics. The focus of these types of 
weapons is to preclude or mitigate the loss of human life. They are appropriate for peacekeeping operations 


21 



or civil unrest scenarios. Given the wide-range of possible scenarios from operations-other-than-war to 
full-scale war, flexibility in weaponry employment is deemed an enhancement to overall capability. 

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board in New World Vistas, Air and Space Power for the 21st 
Century: Summary Volume, states that “speed-of-light weapons with the full-spectrum capability to deny, 

disrupt, degrade, and/or destroy will leap past and could eventually replace many traditional explosive- 

35 

driven weapons and self-protection countermeasure systems.” They identify five innovative technologies 
for “energy-frugal, practical directed energy weapons” and recommend the Air Force pursue them. These 
technologies are large, lightweight optics; high-power microwave antennas using thin membrane fabrication; 
high-power short-wavelength solid-state lasers; high average power phase conjugation; new approaches to 
adaptive optics and phased arrays of diode lasers. Application of these technologies to base defense 
weaponry could significantly increase options and improve capabilities to repel attacks in 2025.^^ 

Additionally, use of a propagated microwave field could create a protective energy dome effect over 
the base. Functionally, this protective energy dome could detect incoming projectiles, convert their kinetic 
energy, and use the converted energy to repel the projectiles, including those as large as an aircraft or as 
small as a bullet. Counters to an adversary’s use of microwave or laser weapons include the use of a pulsed 

plasma jet to ionize the air, which could effectively blunt the effectiveness of these types of offensive 
37 

weapons. 

Countermeasures. Microwaves, lasers, and beam weapons, in general, require a robust power 
source. Unless significant advances are made in power generation and consumption, power remains a core 
entity, and if successfully damaged or destroyed, it could leave the base defenseless. Accordingly, 
defensive weapons must include a range of alternative power source derivatives to eliminate single-point 
failures. 


Biotechnology 

The threat of chemical and biological weapon usage has the decided potential to become increasingly 

38 

widespread as more countries develop and acquire this capability. Decontamination efforts will have to 
address reduced manpower, ease of handling/disposal, and cost considerations. Advances in biotechnology 


22 



may permit the development of enzymes, (MEMS), or a synthesis of the two technologies which could either 

neutralize the contaminant or absorb it. Additionally, advances in Doexyribonucleic Acid (DNA) 

39 

modification could result in the development of DNA-altering substances that neutralize contaminants. 

A new generation of materials, most probably composites, designed after principles of hierarchical 
structures in nature (biomimicking), manufactured at least in part by incorporation of biological self- 
assembly principles and processes (bioduplication), may result in materials having the behavioral properties 

of biological systems: durability, flexibility, responsive to change, reactive to internal injury (self-repairing), 
40 

and/or damage tolerant. It may be possible to genetically produce organically similar substances whose 
rate and consistency of growth could be used to grow materials and structures. The underlying concept 
adapted from these cited technologies is to be able to rapidly construct rudimentary structures, such as tents 
and paved surfaces, and expediently repair minimally damaged facilities. 

Countermeasures. DNA advances could allow the development of new, possibly more lethal, 
compounds. Developing antidotes or DNA restructuring to neutralize new agents will be critical but time 
dependent. Introduced mutations or weed killer-like substances could alter normal growth patterns. 
Hardiness and resistance to nefarious attempts to alter original designs will need to be bioengineered in the 
early developmental stages. 


Super Quantum Interference Devices (SQUID) 

If a human must remain in the loop (and the presumption is that one must), the human also must be 
enhanced to avert “mental paralysis” due to information saturation. Enhancements to increase the cognitive 
capacity of future warriors would presumably improve information assimilation, information correlation, and 
decision-making processes; that is, situational awareness. One means by which improvement in these 
processes could be achieved is via bioelectronic enabling technologies. Envisioned is the placement of an 

embedded microprocessor in the brain, which is designed to increase the efficiency in the way information is 

41 

received, stored, correlated, and retrieved. A complementary feature of bioelectronic enhancement would 

be the ability to interface/communicate directly with an external computer system, thus mitigating or 

42 

eliminating the necessity for physical or mechanical interfaces. “Neurocompatible interface” efforts to date 


23 



have affirmatively demonstrated the capability to produce an image directly in an individual’s mind via 
surgically invasive methods. Alternatively, related research at the Media Laboratory of MTI is directed 

towards the development of a surgically non-invasive, “wearable computer” which maintains a continual 

43 

communications interface with the human “host.” Irrespective of the method used to bioelectronically 

enhance a human, the resultant increase in mental agility and capacity—combined with the capability to 

interface directly with computers—could exponentially decrease the potential for confusion and 

44 

disorientation in highly taxing and stressful situations. 

Countermeasures. Countermeasures are death or surgical removal of the embedded microprocessor 
or spoofing by insertion of disinformation. Implementation of this capability would require a change in US 
social values, as this form of human “adaptation” is not presently, nor universally acceptable. 

Advanced Materials 

A promising area of technology involves the development of advanced materials. Today’s composites 
are substances made of fibers spun from carbon, glass, and other materials, which are then fused into a matrix 
of plastic, ceramic, or metal. Composites can provide the same structural strength as steel, but, at only one- 
fifth of the weight. Many believe costs may fall below that of steel as the demand increases over the next few 
years. Consequently, many future systems and structures could be constructed with composites because of the 
economical efficiencies gleaned from the weight versus performance ratios. The transportation, electronics, 
and medical industries are the major users of this technology today. The transportation industry uses 
composites in the manufacture of aircraft and automobiles. The electronics industry uses composites for the 
manufacture of components like resistors and insulators while the medical industry uses composites for 
prosthetics, including dental ware. The latter application is an area of particular interest and potential utility. 
Dentists apply an enamel-like substance that bonds with existing surfaces and becomes superhard when 
exposed to a certain wavelength of light. Expanding the application of this technology to wearing surfaces 
such as roads, building exteriors, and runways may be feasible, providing a capability to easily construct, 
resurface, or repair the particular worn surface. Should this technology become feasible, then the 


24 



overarching requirement to defend these elements of the aerospace infrastructure at all costs against damage 

45 

or destruction would be eliminated. 


Holography 

Advances in holographic imaging, combined with infrared signature generators and radar reflectors, 
could give the base commander the ability to project false targets designed to deceive the adversary. This 
capability could allow the projection of false targets and signature modification of actual structures or could 
enable defenders to completely hide a structure. Holography is deception 2025 style, intended to prompt a 
potential adversary to question the effectiveness of his reconnaissance systems and ultimately designed to 
impede or negate his targeting ability. 

Visualization of intelligence supporting three-dimensional analysis is a project aimed at assisting 

46 

analysts in visualizing and manipulating complex, changing three-dimensional intelligence data. 
Technicians use a cylinder approximately one meter in diameter and one-half meter high in which they 
project a three-dimensional, transparent spinning ball to recreate a three-dimensional tactical scenario. This 
image can be viewed from any side. Applied to aerospace base defense, a three-dimensional view of the 
battlespace could be generated encompassing the base proper and as far outside the perimeter as the sensor 
field extends. With near-real-time refresh capability, the commander can have an “unobstructed” view of the 
battlespace from a secure location. Projecting this picture to remote locations via the fused command, 
control, communications, computers, and intelligence (rt) base architecture could give base defenders a 
three-dimensional depiction of their assigned sector. Should technological advances allow the projection of 
images without the use of a cylinder container, false images could be projected at will to various locations to 
deceive adversaries. 

Countermeasures. Unless the hologram is used in conjunction with other spectral deception means, 
adversaries probing with broad spectrum systems could uncover the ruse, rendering this capability only 
useful against unsophisticated target acquisition systems. 


25 



Power 


The technological focus is to reduce cost to generate, transmit, distribute, operate, and maintain power 
generation systems. There is a great deal of potential for improvement over today’s power generating 
systems. Currently, the power industry offers evolutionary improvements: high reliability components; 
smaller, high efficiency motors; automatic diagnostic and control systems; and multifuel generating 
equipment, to name a few. While alternative power sources, such as biomass, solar with photovoltaic 
receptors, geothermal, and wind all show promise, all suffer from the inherent problems of relatively low 
efficiency (conversion from source to useful distributed power) and lack of storage. Many of these systems 
require highly visible production systems. However, one truly revolutionary advance could change the entire 
concept of power generation—that technology is superconductivity. 

47 

Superconductivity is the ability to conduct electricity without resistance. While application of this 

technology is not feasible outside of a carefully controlled laboratory environment, there has been recent 

48 

progress achieving superconduction at higher temperatures. Increased interest among the scientific 
community indicates that this capability has a reasonably good chance of coming to fruition. Assuming a 
breakthrough does take place, power generation equipment could be made considerably smaller; because it 
would no longer have to produce excessive amounts of energy to overcome the problem of line loss due to 
the heat associated with resistance encountered in existing conducting materials. The potential exists, with 
the advent of nanotechnology, to assist the process along by permitting a material that is superconductive to 
be built upward from the molecular level. 

Achieving superefficient power usage could permit the use of marginalized power generation sources, 
such as solar or photovoltaic. This may then eliminate the requirement for certain electrical power grids. As 

such, each building could be equipped with its own combination of standard and independent power 
49 

generation sources, making power ubiquitous, easy to maintain, and pushing it from a core entity to a 
peripheral entity. 

Table 2 summarizes the applicability of each technology to the aerospace base concepts postulated in 
this paper. There was no attempt to quantify the payoff for each technology, this is covered in chapter 5. 
This table identifies whether the technology was applicable to the concept. As shown, the two most versatile 


26 



technologies are MEMS and advanced power generation. As the final column portrays, most technologies 
applicable to meet the first three concepts are leveraged to provide mobility. The application of each 
technology is discussed in the Concept of Operations (chap. 4). 

Table 2 


Applicability of Technologies to Concepts 


Technology 


Application to Concept 



Low- 

Shielded Base 

Self-Healing Base 

Mobile Base 


Observable 





Base 




Advanced Sensors 


Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Robotics 

Yes 


Yes 

Yes 

Nanotechnology 


Yes 


Yes 

MEMS 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

AI/Neural Nets 


Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Defensive Weapons 


Yes 


Yes 

Biotechnology 


Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

SQUIDS 


Yes 



Advanced Materials 


Yes 


Yes 

Holography 

Yes 

Yes 



Power 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 


Finding and exploiting new technologies is only one-half of the equation. Employing the technologies 
in innovative combinations to create a synergistic effect is at least as important, and one way of staying ahead 
of adversaries in a world of proliferating, inexpensive technology. The following chapter paints such a 
picture—a fully integrated, technologically enhanced, aerospace base in 2025. Thus, having formulated what 
is wanted and defined those wants in terms of simple reality for the experts to solve, the remaining step is to 
articulate the concept of operations for the aerospace base integrated system. 


Notes 


Lt Col Gregory J. Miller et al., “Virtual Integrated Planning and Execution Resource System: The 

High Ground of 2025” (Unpublished white paper. Air Command and Staff College, n.d.). 

2 

Lt Col Bruce W. Carmichael et al., “StrikeStar 2025” (Unpublished white paper. Air Command and 
Staff College, n.d.). 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 27' Century, 
summary volume (Washington, D.C.: USAF Scientific Advisory Board, 15 December 1995), 22. 

Ibid. 


27 





Notes 


^ Ibid. 

^ Ibid. 

7 

Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), Project 2025, (Norfolk, Va.: National Defense 
University, 6 May 1992), 36-39. 

^ Roger Lewin, “Birth of a Human Robot,” New Scientist 142, no. 1925 (14 May 1994): 26. 

9 

Andrew Kupfer, “A Robot Inspector for Airplanes,” Fortune 127, no. 9 (3 May 1993): 93. 

Dr. Craig M. Brandt et al., “Logistics 2025, Changing Environments, Technologies, and Processes” 
(Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management, Air Force Institute 
of Technology, n.d.), 27-28. 

Robert Langreth, “Molecular Marvels,” Popular Science, May 1993, 110. However, Col (Ph.D.) 
Tamzy House, Air War College faculty member, believes this technology will not advance to this stage of 
capability until beyond the year 2025. 

John L. Petersen, The Road to 2015 (Corte Madera, Calif.: Waite Group Press, 1994), 58. 

13 

Robert Langreth, “Why Scientist Are Thinking Small,” Popular Science, April 1993, 75. 

14 

Langreth, “Molecular Marvels”, 75. 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21’“ Century 
(unpublished draft, the sensors volume, 15 December 1995), 146. 

'^Ibid., 150-151. 

17 

Kaigham J. Gabriel, “Engineering Microscopic Machines,” Scientific American 273, no. 3 

(September 1995): 118. 

18 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21” Century 

(unpublished draft, the materials volume, 15 December 1995), 125. 

19 

Ibid., 121. 

20 

Barbara Starr, “Super Sensors Will Eye the New Proliferation Frontier,” Jane’s Defense Weekly 21, 

no. 22 (4 June 1994): 92. 

21 

Gabriel, “Engineering Microscopic Machines,” 121. 

INSS, 36. 

23 

Ibid. 

24 

Craig A. Rogers, “Intelligent Materials,” Scientific American 273, no. 3 (September 1995): 122. 
Ibid., I23-I25. 

“Smart Structures Dampen Motion, Increase Stability,” Signal 8, no. 8 (April 1994): 20. 

27 

Department of the Air Force, SPACECAST 2020: Operational Analysis (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air 
University Press, June 1994), 56. 

INSS, 37. 

29 

Peter Wayner, “Machine Learning Grows Up,” Byte, August 1995, 63. 

30 

INSS, 39. 

Ibid., 39. 

Rogers, 125. 

33 

2025 Concept, No. 90026, “Commander’s Universal Battle Display,” 2025 Concepts Database 

(Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War CoIIege/2025, 1996). 

34 

Department of Defense, Joint Publication 3-07, Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other Than 
War, 16 June 1995,1-I. 


28 



Notes 


New World Vistas, summary volume, 60 

Ibid. 

37 

Mark Lehr, Phillips Lab, Kirdand APB, N. Mex., telephone interview, February 1996. AFIT 
technologists and 2025 assessors expressed skepticism regarding the invulnerability of the energy dome, as 
well as the associated energy consumption requirements. 

INSS, 45. 

39 

Daniel E. Koshland, Jr., ed., “Molecule of the Year: DNA Repair Works Its Way to the Top,” 

Science 266, no. 5193 (23 December 1994): 1926-27. 

40 9 / 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 27' Century 

(unpublished draft, the human systems and biotechnology volume, 15 December 1995), M-11-13. 

^^2025 Concept, No. 900523, “Chip in the Head,” 2025 Concepts Database, (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air 

War College/2025, 1996). 

42 

2025 Concept, No. 900246, “The Borg,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War 
College/2025, 1996). 

^ Peter Thomas, “Thought Control,” New Scientist 149, no. 2020 (9 March 1996): 41-42. 

44 

2025 Concept, No. 900702, “Implanted Tactical Information Display,” 2025 Concepts Database 

(Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

45 

“Advanced Composites,” Scientific American 213, no. 3 (September 1995): 126-127. 

46 

Robert Ropelewski, “Making Sense of Sensor Data,” Interavia Aerospace World, September 1993, 


56. 

47 

Paul C. W. Chu, “High-Temperature Superconductors,” Scientific American 273, no. 3 (September 

1995): 128. 

48 

Ibid., 130. 

49 

Independent power generating sources may include any combination of following: solar collectors, 
photovoltaic collectors, high-power lithium batteries, and standard electric power generators. The particular 
combinations will be highly dependent upon the required use, as well as, the geographic location. 


29 



Chapter 4 


Concept of Operations 


It is a doctrine of war not to assume the enemy will not come, but rather to rely on 
one’s readiness to meet him; not to presume that he will not attack, but rather to 
make one’s self invincible. 


— SunTzu 

The Art of War 



Figure 4-1. Concept of Operations Pictorial—2025 


30 






























Introduction 


The pictorial on the preceding page is a symbolic representation of the aerospace base of 2025. The 
eyes, ears, and noses represent the pervasiveness of the “all-knowing” sensing attributes of the aerospace 
base, fused with and augmented by varying types of airborne sensor platforms. The nondescript depiction of 
the aerospace base (runways, buildings, and so forth) represents its inherent capacity to blend into its 
surroundings, thus making it nearly undetectable to an adversary. Lastly, the facial silhouette overlying the 
aerospace base symbolically represents the shield which surrounds the base with its complementary active 
and passive self-defense capabilities. The ensuing chapter paints a word picture that makes the graphic more 
meaningful and illustrates the plausibility of the concept. 

This concept of operations (CONOPS) provides a multifaceted approach to operability and defense 
circa 2025. It includes five distinct capabilities which national decision makers can pursue based on 
international and domestic policies, military requirements, and economic capacity. The five capabilities are 
day-to-day operations, low-observable base, shielded base, self-healing base, and mobile base. Although 
the capabilities provide optimum operating conditions when employed together as an integrated system, any 
one or combination thereof will still improve operability and defense. Each of the following sections will 
present possible methods of applying the previously described emerging technologies to improve the ability 
to operate and defend bases in the future. 


Day-to-Day Operations 

Base operations in 2025 may occur in a manner radically changed from that of today. Overall base 
infrastructures may be smaller due to a reduction of services or functions currently provided at today’s bases. 
The Department of Defense may no longer maintain base operating support (BOS) activities such as medical, 
financial, base maintenance, housing, and morale and welfare functions on federal installations. These 
services could migrate to the civilian sector and be subsumed by commercial interests in the adjacent civilian 
communities. However, many of the same functions required today to support aerospace activities may still 
be needed in 2025, the difference being the way they are accomplished. Technological advances in 


31 



computers and information networks, robotics, highly reliable systems and components and vastly improved 
power sources may enable highly effective and efficient base operations. 

The information available to all base personnel should be incredible. At the touch of a finger, future 
commanders could have immediate access to such information as aircraft and base status, mission scheduling, 
intelligence reports, and even the number of box lunches ready at the chow hall. In fact, anyone on base with 
a need to know could have that same information just as easily. 

All of the systems on base, whether they be aircraft, environmental control, or sanitation, could be 
dramatically more reliable. This should permit a tremendous reduction in the size and scope of logistics and 
maintenance required to sustain base operations. Robots could be used extensively to replace humans in 
many of the repetitive, human-intensive functions on the flight line, at the munitions storage areas, and 
throughout the rest of the base. 

In 2025, our main operations bases (MOBs) should, by necessity, function at the same operating level 
regardless of the threat condition. During normal operations, a MOB may be a veritable beehive of 
activity—but not to the naked eye with all base entities functioning as one integrated system. Operability 
would be a function of synergistically interconnected intelligent systems. The aerospace base would operate 
largely “hands off.” Base systems would monitor and report on themselves through an interconnected 
artificial intelligence or neural net architecture. The routine health and status of the base would be 
monitored, controlled, and operated by this extensive computer system. The system would have multiple 
nodes, each more than capable of assuming overall direction, coordination, or control should any of the other 
nodes be incapacitated. Personnel would only be required to respond to complete outages, major 
malfunctions, and life/safety concerns such as accidents, fires, or other disasters. Facility and infrastructure 
maintenance personnel would rarely interface with base systems at all except for annual maintenance 
requirements owing to an expected and dramatic increase in systems reliability and improved building 
materials. 

Base facilities, to include airfields, would be retrofitted with or constructed from stronger, more 
durable, and damage-resistant materials or composites. Most buildings, particularly the critical ones, would 
be capable of monitoring their own conditions. The placement of various types of sensors and intelligent 
materials would give new meaning to the term building systems. Routine facility condition inspections 


32 



would be minimized to only those circumstances when the “facility” notifies the maintenance personnel of a 
condition warranting their attention. 

Runways and other airfield pavements—all pavements for that matter—would be capped or constructed 
with extremely durable and minimal-to-no-maintenance type materials without any overt markings. The era 
of repainting, resurfacing, or replacing pavements every five to 10 years would be long gone. 

Similarly, a combination of improved space-based global positioning capabilities that work with 
enhanced aircraft guidance systems would eliminate the need for ground-based visual approach and airfield 
lighting systems. In fact, control towers would be nothing more than distant memories of earlier aviation 
days. 

The remaining airfield operations would be automated and fine tuned specifically to accommodate a 
combat turn type of ramp function. On approach, aircraft would automatically report their status to the base 
system through an unmanned control center. The control center would distribute the data throughout the base. 
The distributed information would include tasking specified support functions. For instance, fuels would 
know how much fuel is required. Munitions storage would know which armaments to select and transport to 
the aircraft for loading. Aircraft maintenance would know whether they need to respond to the aircraft to 
conduct system checkouts, repair, or replace components, and exactly what they need to bring with them. The 
base would be totally coordinated in supporting the aircraft’s next mission. The aircraft would be directed to 
a specific location on the airfield where all support functions would automatically converge. The entire 
operation would be handled predominantly by robots. Delivery and loading of munitions, refueling, and final 
system checkout would all be automated. The only humans involved in the operation would be those 
necessary to perform high dexterity operations and to visually supervise the activities. 

These “automatic” sortie generation and aircraft/base maintenance capabilities could improve 
efficiency and timeliness of support, as well as, reduce overall costs due to fewer required personnel. The 
key to the success of this type of operation is to limit the opportunities for outside interference or disruption 
from potential adversaries. One possible solution could come from technology, as it may provide the 
defensive capabilities to make the core entities less detectable. 


33 



Low-Observable Base 


The threat posed to our bases is certain to include precision munitions and the use of space-based 
reconnaissance and surveillance systems by potential enemies. This threat capability may mandate the 
employment of enhanced defensive deception capabilities. 

With the application of specific technologies, it could be considerably more difficult to identify the 
most critical base structures in 2025. All external structural surfaces (“skins”) could be covered by a 
“cloaking” film or paint which would provide an active means of camouflaging buildings, runways, 
equipment, and so forth. These “skins” would be capable of “blending” into the surroundings in chameleon¬ 
like fashion.^ This may include changing both color and temperature to negate electro-optical and infrared 
reconnaissance and targeting systems. At a minimum, any materials used to cover new facilities or recover 
existing facilities should be tinted to better match or blend in with the existing environs. 

Projection of multispectral holograms could mimic real targets, confuse targeting systems, and foil 
attacks requiring visual target acquisition. Radar reflection enhancement devices could modify the 

electromagnetic picture. Commanders may also have the option of effecting the weather to further hide the 

2 

base from several sensor detection spectrums. Essentially, buildings, runways, vehicles, or even people 

3 

would become virtually invisible. Weapons acquisition systems would then be unable to accurately discern 
desired targets or aim points with any reliable degree of certainty. Furthermore, future structures could be 
fully independent and redundant. However, hiding a base may not be sufficient to thwart attacks. 

Shielded Base 

Defense of the base, regardless of whether a MOB or forward operations base (FOB), may vary in 
degrees, but not capability. The base system could coordinate and assimilate a multitude of active and 
passive defensive systems scattered throughout and beyond the base boundaries. This defensive system may 
consist of varying types of sensors and weapons systems, all interconnected to enhance the commander’s 
situational awareness and reaction capability. 


34 



Encompassing and controlling all of the defensive sensors, countermeasures, and intelligence-gathering 
systems is a redundant, dispersed, situational awareness system. This neural net type system could 
integrate the incoming information from all data sources, positively identify the threat, and automatically 
coordinate a response. This ability to rapidly and precisely discern what the threat is, and then recommend 

an appropriate response would be a significant attribute of the system. If the object is human, the system 

4 

would be able to identify who it is by cross-checking the human pheromone database. Additionally, the 
neural net system could have the ability to produce a near-real-time, three-dimensional or holographic sand 
table image.^ Any individual with a receiver device could be able to receive the entire picture modified to 
their particular requirements. For example, if a view of avenues of approach without the trees or the 
buildings is desired, they are “deselected,” enabling an unobstructed view. 

The base and its surroundings could be seeded with multispectral sensors to detect both air and ground 
threats accurately and consistently, far enough from the base to allow engagement without degrading the 
mission. Airborne and ground-based sensors could be widely dispersed, redundant with overlapping 
coverage, and extremely difficult to counter. Because of the sensor systems redundancy, elimination of one 
or more sensors would not eliminate the entire detection capability. The system should be designed to 
degrade gracefully and have enough power to operate for sustained periods without maintenance. 
Collectively, the sensors should provide a “brillianf’ grid for threat detection and identification^ throughout 

7 

the entire spectral range. The ability to detect and combine a wide range of signals from acoustics and 

g 

pheromones, to motion and infrared, should allow highly accurate threat identification. 

Simultaneously, an overhead fleet of stealthy, extremely high-endurance, solar-powered UAVs could be 

positioned to orbit the base for months at a time. This fleet could have the ability to detect both airborne and 

9 

ground threats and relay their location to remotely controlled fire control units. Deployed in great numbers, 
the UAVs could also have the capability of providing standoff weapon support to security forces and serve 
collaterally as communication relays. The UAVs could be capable of receiving and relaying information 
from other sensor platforms, such as satellites and Airborne Warning and Control System. 

The holographic projection of security personnel to challenge unidentified intruders may permit 
resolution of a potential situation without an actual physical response. For instance, should an intruder not 
respond to the holographic warning, the standoff weapons capability of the UAVs could be brought to bear 


35 



without jeopardizing the safety of security personnel. If a physical response is required, security force 
personnel could respond in small, environmentally controlled, self-contained hovercraft equipped with a 
variety of nonlethal and lethal weapons. 

Another advantage of the sensor field would be its capacity to detect nuclear, biological and chemical 
agents and respond autonomously.^*^ Positive detection could automatically launch a decontamination missile 
programmed to detonate at a required altitude or signal selected UAVs to respond with neutralizing systems. 
Such systems could employ cleanup bugs or bioengineered enzymes. Application of the neutralizers could 
be accomplished via aerosol dispersal in quantities sufficient enough to form a suppression “cloud or fog” 
over the affected area. As the suppression cloud falls, the bugs remove and/or the enzymes react with the 
contaminants in the air and on the ground, rendering the area clean without any harmful residue.** Structures, 

aircraft, vehicles, and the like could be treated with a catalytic/enzymatic decontaminating coating to 

12 

neutralize contaminants not affected by the aerosol dispersed enzymes. 

Improved sensor capabilities could also benefit buildings, no longer remaining dormant targets for 
adversaries. The most critical buildings could be outfitted with a combination of sensor-activated, reactive 
armor systems and advanced lightweight hardening materials that would make them less vulnerable to many 
types of munitions. 

A final measure of passive protection is to be an energy field, covering the base like a dome. The 
energy field could detect airborne threats attempting to penetrate it. As the airborne object “collides” with 
the energy field, the kinetic energy produced by the collision could be transmitted down to the energy field’s 
source ground station. If the object is determined not to be friendly, the ground station could retransmit that 
energy, multiplied, back to the front of the object, effectively stopping or deflecting it, much like a force field. 

Other active capabilities to defeat or deter a threat to the base could incorporate lethal and nonlethal 
systems. Beginning with the lethal variety, directed energy weapons (DEW) are requisites for base defense. 
The ability to neutralize or destroy fast-moving or hardened threat platforms mandates the need for a highly 
accurate and reliable weapons platform(s) with superior lethality—these systems should provide that 
capability. DEWs could be mounted on ground-based platforms; long-endurance, high-orbit UAVs; space- 
based killer satellites; or a combination thereof Point target lasers with a rapid recycling rate to allow 
multiple missile engagement, coupled with directed energy weapons could comprise the principle means for 


36 



13 

close-in defense. UAVs loaded with scatterable “intelligenf ’ mines would be on-call for dispersal against 

14 

ground attacks should the need arise. Lastly, robotic “insects” could be released to swarm and defeat 
preprogrammed targets.'^ 

While this interconnected and layered passive and active defensive system may provide as close to an 
impenetrable fortress as possible, there always remain the possibility of an opponent discovering a way to 
penetrate or defeat the systems. Therefore, a capability to recover after an attack must be considered. 

Self-Healing Base 

The ability to sustain damage and recover while continuing to operate could be crucial to base 
operations, particularly during war. In 2025, postattack damage recovery could be nearly automatic with the 
level of human involvement much reduced from what it is today. Postattack actions include airfield and 
facility bomb damage assessment (BDA), explosive ordnance reconnaissance (EOR) and disposal (EOD), 
rapid runway repair, decontamination (DECON), and bomb damage repair (BDR). The difference between 
today and 2025 may be the nature of response and timeliness of recovery operations. There may no longer 
be the need to dispatch the hundreds of vulnerable civil engineering troops to recover the base. 

Recovery typically begins with EOR and BDA. These tasks could be conducted in a number of ways, 
depending on the nature and extent of damage. Robotic sniffers and MEMS, working in concert with existing 
sensor systems, could locate and identify unexploded ordnance (UXO) and damage. UAVs equipped with 
very high resolution multispectral imaging devices could assist with BDA while combat engineering 
personnel oversee the entire process. Once initial reconnaissance is accomplished, recovery teams could 
begin preparations to conduct RRR and BDR activities. However, the risk to personnel and equipment from 
any UXOs must first be minimized. This EOD phase of recovery could be accomplished using MEMS to 
seek and destroy, robots to disarm and remove, and/or portable tower-mounted directed energy weapons to 
blast away individual UXOs or more densely covered areas, like bomblet or mine fields, that pose extreme 
hazards. 

While chemical or biological agents may be neutralized as previously discussed, some personnel may 
still be required to operate temporarily in chemical/biological environments. When that is the case. 


37 



personnel could don new chemical-resistant battle dress uniforms (BDUs)^^ and vastly improved gas masks 
with improved filtration, comfort, and visibility. The commander may have the option of enhancing the local 
weather to minimize or negate the effectiveness of many chemical and biological agents. Once the level of 
risk to recovery teams is deemed acceptable, full-scale recovery and repair operations could commence. 

RRR could be accomplished by small teams of personnel and robotics equipment. Equipment could be 
compact and versatile, very much like the “bobcat” tractors used around today’s construction sites, only these 
may be remotely controlled or programmable. The teams could push eject (pavements and substrate material 
displaced due to bomb penetration and explosion) back into craters. Next, they could apply chemical 
compounds or bioengineer catalysts that would penetrate and harden the material pushed back into the crater. 
The third step would involve the placement of expanding and self-leveling foam which would harden 
sufficiently to preclude the need for crater hole compassion. Finally, the teams resurface the crater holes 
with a remotely controlled machine, not unlike the systems currently used to resurface ice skating rinks. The 
machine could place materials which can either harden rapidly on their own or use a chemical or light- 
induced hardener. Use of this type of machine could ensure rapid repairs within the required roughness 
criteria for the pavements effected. This capability may enable crater repairs to be conducted by one person 
with a couple of pieces of equipment—a significant improvement over the 25-30 men per crater and multiple 
pieces of large construction equipment required today. 

At the same time, facility BDR could be under way. Small teams of personnel and equipment would 
perform necessary repairs. Critical facilities and systems would sense and report the extent of their damage. 
Based on the reported information, certain capabilities or functions could automatically transfer to other 
facilities or systems until repairs are completed. Repair teams could be automatically tasked by the base 
system to respond to damaged facilities and systems in accordance with preestablished priorities. However, 
in some cases, depending on the type and scope of the damage, some facilities would be able to repair 
themselves. Facilities and systems could self-repair using MEMS or other specially embedded capsules. 
Repair teams would respond to effect more involved repairs. Robots could be capable of applying 
expanding and self-hardening foams to cracks, crevices, and holes in walls and roofs. Additionally, teams 
could employ organic materials that would grow rapidly once a catalyst is applied, or sheets of composite 
materials which could be cast in place on-site. Regardless of the damage (not withstanding complete and 


38 



utter destruction), each structure, runway, taxiway, or system is easily and rapidly repaired or replaced with 
minimal, if any, significant effect on base operations. 

Mobile Base 

FOBs may be required to support operations throughout the contingency continuum which may include 
everything from peace operations and humanitarian/disaster relief to major regional contingencies. 
Unfortunately, there may not always be access to suitable base facilities in the most desirable or optimal 
locations. What follows is a CONOPS, nicknamed “Harvest Geronimo,” for rapid power projection in 
2025—a capability to rapidly deploy necessary forces along with the ability to establish and easily sustain 
forward bases virtually anywhere we want them In essence, it describes a mobile base system that is “light 
on its feet.” 

The nickname is a hold over from the 1980s line of United States Air Force transportable bare base 
support systems in the vein of Harvest Bare, Eagle, and Falcon. It recalls the nomadic tendencies of early 
Indian tribes that set-up camps wherever it was most suitable to their needs. It also draws reference to the 
traditional cry of paratroopers, who yelled “Geronimo” upon aircraft exit during paradrop operations. 
Harvest Geronimo is a self-contained, completely airmobile, air-droppable, self-erecting base support 
system with relatively small mass to the resulting volume of utility and employment. 

The employment of the mobile base would always involve the following four phases: deployment, force 
beddown, sustainment (which includes preattack preparations and postattack recovery operations), and 
redeployment. 

Phase I—Deployment 

It all starts with mobility. A significantly improved fleet of long-range, heavy-lift aircraft could enable 
this CONOPS. Potential locations could be derived from varying intelligence means with the selection of the 
most suitable land area determined from a more advanced version of photogrammetry—essentially, virtual 
surveying. Should airfield facilities (runways, taxiways, and parking aprons) be required, commanders 


39 



would have the option of improving substandard airfields or creating new ones. For the purpose of 
illustrating potential capabilities, establishment of a new airfield on a barren piece of land will be described. 

First, the selected location could be secured by a rapid deploying force of one or more unmanned 
17 

combat UAVs or “StrikeStars” and an air base defense team. Cargo UAVs precision air-drop or disperse 
the weapons and sensor systems previously discussed in the section entitled “shielded base.” The air base 
defense team facilitate system setup and checkout. Once the desired location is secure, an airborne base 
establishment team proceeds to the site to create the required airfield. 

The next step of the operation is accomplished largely via airborne platforms. A specially equipped 
aircraft begin operations by making a few overhead passes to spray a polymeric soil cement-type substance 
that penetrates and hardens the soil to bearing capacity strengths commensurate with 1,000 pounds per square 
inch concrete. The application does not have to follow an exact geometric pattern, although application must 
be relatively consistent. Subsequent passes involve the aircraft spraying self-leveling foam-like compounds 
to fill in grade inconsistencies. This achieves desired flatness criteria without earth-moving, “cut and fill” 
operations. The foam would harden rapidly into an expansive crystalline type composite with adequate 
structural capacity. The final step would be to surface the airfield. Here, the aircraft sprays a self-leveling, 
polymeric composite material which reacts with certain light wavelengths to bond and harden, using an 
airborne laser system (ABL). The ABL scans the prepared surfaces at the desired wavelength and dwell 
time to complete the job. The landing surface is then ready for use, with one notable exception—it looks 
more like a “puddle” than a runway. Incidentally, parking aprons and taxiways are simply extensions to the 
puddle, constructed in the same fashion. 

An alternative approach to airfield establishment may be the use of organically similar materials which 
apply the concepts of bioduplication or biomimicking to essentially grow airfield surfaces. The airfield 
surface structural sub-bases would be established in much the same way as with the preceding method. In 
this case, materials would be placed in desired areas and treated with catalysts or reagents that would spur 
rapid growth and hardness. Once again, the airfield would not take the standard geometric shapes of today. 
An added advantage of organic airfields, from a camouflage, couccalment, and deception (CCD) standpoint, 
would be their similarity to the surrounding environment. 


40 



Phase II—Force Beddown 


This phase begins with precision guided airdrops, thereby avoiding the need for large-scale, cargo¬ 
handling operations on the ground. Facilities, equipment, and personnel would be precision air-dropped into 

18 

the cantonment area or “point-of-use.” Upon contact with the ground, troops depart their air-dropped 
personnel carriers and facilitate base setup and system checkout. The air-dropped facilities then self-erect. 
Deployed personnel create a 2025 version of tent city, albeit far smaller than what is currently required. To 
accomplish this task, personnel would use rapid biological growth kits which involve the erection of 
lightweight skeletal structures to serve as growth frameworks. Troops would then simply apply, most likely 
by spraying, organic materials, and catalysts to “grow” the facilities. The resulting facility would take the 
requisite shape by following the previously erected structure and provide a shelter no less stable (perhaps 
more so) than the tents used today. Other facilities self-erect by mechanical processes or inflation. Such 
facilities could be used to shelter the more critical functions and systems. 

The power infrastructure would consist of extremely efficient sources that will be simple to set up and 
maintain. Advances in superconduction to enable near-zero resistance at ambient temperatures may enable 
the installation of small distributed and networked power generation systems requiring less fuel as a result of 
their ability to transmit electricity without having to overcome excess requirements due to line losses. Some 
of the smaller sized units may use an alternative fuel, such as nitrogen (an extremely prevalent and 
inexpensive fuel source) for power conversion. Even batteries could have far greater life spans and 
approach the capability of miniature power plants. 

All ground-based command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C*I) will be small, 
extremely powerful systems that take advantage of the same superconductive materials and computer 
advances discussed in previous sections. Some systems may be in the form of manpacks, used by security 
and other operations personnel, differing only in the quality and quantity of information available to the users. 
The entire system would be fused to ensure complete and near-real-time situational awareness. 


41 



Phase III—Sustainment 


The sustainment phase of operations would be essentially the same as at a main operations base (MOB) 
and perhaps even less manpower intensive. It would involve standard base operations as well as preattack 
and postattack activities. 

Standard base operations would be a function of logistics. Lx)gistical systems would be minimal and 
most likely just-in-time. Resupply could be accomplished via airdrop. High reliability and low maintenance 
systems lead to very few support personnel and a reduced logistics tail. Further, the probability of extending 
the mean-time-between-maintenance for up to 60 days will make logistics simple and manageable. Munitions 
and fuel could remain as the only continuing logistical concern. However, efficiency of delivery and loading 
operations on the ground could be enhanced greatly by all-terrain versions of the robotic systems employed at 
MOBs. 

Preparation for attack would actually be coincidental to the initial turn-on of base functions. As much 
as possible, hardening, CCD techniques, and systems would be designed into the self-erecting structures and 
deployed systems. Many aspects, like false signal emitters, would simply be unleashed. Much like the 
concept of the “low observable base,” the FOB would become an extremely difficult target to acquire and 
damage. 

Since there are no guarantees against successful attacks, forces must be prepared and capable of 
recovering damaged facilities and airfields. The same systems employed at the MOB would be suitable for 
FOBs. However, repair may actually be more a function of replacement due to existing expedient 
construction techniques and airlift improvements. Operations would continue to follow these general 
processes until the mission is complete. 

Phase IV—Redeployment 

The final aspect of mobility operations is redeployment. Only the high-tech, smart facilities (self- 
erecting) would be repackaged for shipment back home. Many, if not most of these items, could be aerially 
extracted via a fleet of UAVs. Depending on the location of the FOB, the UAVs could either deliver the 
items to a staging base or directly back to the point of origin. The organic facilities, including the airfield 
surfaces, could be disposed of in-place. They could be sprayed with biodegradable enzymes or other 


42 



corrosive substances to effectively disintegrate right where they were initially emplaced. This capability 
could negate the use of such facilities and/or locations by potential adversaries. Redeployment would be as 
efficient and expedient as deployment, and all systems immediately available for reuse at another location, 
should it be required. 


Conclusion 

These capabilities could enhance the ability to project power, regardless of location, by essentially 
creating a sanctuary from which the US, and her allies, may pursue national objectives. The real challenge is 
in determining investment paths and priorities. Acquisition of these capabilities may not be cheap, but the 
derived benefits most certainly outweigh the associated costs. 


Notes 


' 2025 Concept, No. 900605, “Active Cloaking Film/Paint,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell AFB, 

Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

2 

Lt Col Brad Shields et al. “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025,” 
(Unpublished White Paper, Air Command and Staff College, n.d.) 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900573, “Dielectric Materials for Stealth,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell 
AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). (PROPRIETARY) 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900567, “If 1 Can Smell You . . .,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: 
Air War College/2025, 1996). 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900206, “Commander’s Universal [Order of] Battle Display,” 2025 Concepts 
Database (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900368, “Land Identification, Friend or Foe,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell 
AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

7 

2025 Concept, No. 900508, “Magnetic Detection of Aircraft,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell 
AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900518, “Electronic Grid Throwaway Sensors,” 2025 Concepts Database 

(Maxwell AEB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900953, “Multi-Sensor, High Altitude, Long Endurance UAV,” 2025 Concepts 

Database (Maxwell AEB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

Chemical and biological agents will be candidates for cleanup by advanced enzymes or catalysts; 

but, radiation hazards will still require time to decompose in accordance with their respective half-life. 

2025 Concept, No. 900388, “Smart Bugs,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell AEB, Ala.: Air War 

College/2025, 1996). 

12 

Larry M. Sturdivan et al., “Chemical and Biological Defense for the New Century,” Army Research 
Development and Acquisition, July-August 1995, 28. 


43 



Notes 


2025 Concept, No. 200009, “Pyrotechnic Electromagnetic Pulse,” 2025 Concepts Database 

(Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996). 

14 

2025 Concept, No. 900350, “Aerial Mines,” 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War 
Collep/2025, 1996). 

^ 2025 Concept, No. 900612, “Bumble Bee Bombs,” 2025 Concepts Database, (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: 
Air War College/2025, 1996). 

Sturdivan et al., 27-28. 

17 

Ft Col Bruce W. Carmichael et al., “StrikeStar 2025” (Unpublished White Paper, Air Command and 

Staff College, n.d.). 

18 

USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21'^ Century, 
summary volume (Washington, D.C.: USAF Scientific Advisory Board, 15 December 1995), 31-32. 


44 



Chapter 5 


Investigation Recommendations 


We should base our security upon military formations which make maximum use of science 
and technology in order to minimize numbers of men. 

— Dwight D. Eisenhower 

No single technology or system will bring the operability and defense concepts to fruition. In and of 
itself, the 2025 aerospace base is an integrated system dependent upon advances in a number of fields and 
disciplines. A subjective rating system was developed in an attempt to rank the technologies introduced in 
chapter 3. This limited evaluation provided a single-weighted score for use in comparing all of the 
technologies against each other based on a set of qualities defined by the research team^ Each team member 
ranked the qualities from one to eight (eight most important) to derive an average quality weighting factor. 
Table 3 shows final average ranking for the qualities used to rate the technologies. The top three are 
enhance operability, enhance survivability, and cost-effectiveness. 


45 



Table 3 


Average Quality Ranking Matrix 



Enhance 

Operability 

Enhance 

Mobihty 

Enhance 

Survival 

Enhance 

Recovery 

Cost- 

Effective 

Feasible 

Commercial 

Application 

Other Military 
Applications 

Total Ranking 
Scores 

36 

19 

31 

14 

26 

18 

18 

17 

Average Quality 
Ranking 

7 

4 

6 

3 

5 

4 

4 

3 

1 Maximum Possible Ranking = 8 | 


Each member then rated individual technologies against the quality criteria as defined below. The 
scores were summed up and multiplied by the weighting factor to arrive at a final weighted score. The 
qualities used to score the technologies follows. 


Enhance Operability 

Will the technology enhance aerospace base operability as defined in chapter 1? Sample attributes to 
consider include technology effects on sortie generation rate, base systems reliability, manning levels, and 
sustainment needs. Scale is from one to five (5 = revolutionary enhancement; 3 = significant enhancement; 1 
= modest enhancement). 


Enhance Mobility 

Will the technology enhance aerospace base mobility? Factors include enhancements to airlift 
deployment requirements, ease of setup for forward deployed bases, and redeployability. Scale is from one 
to five (5 = revolutionary enhancement; 3 = significant enhancement; 1 = modest enhancement). 

Enhance Survivability 

Will the technology enhance aerospace base survivability from all levels of attack? Attributes to 
consider include ability to prevent or minimize damage from the full spectrum of attacks, ability to degrade 


46 





gracefully, and ability to improve base self-defense effectiveness. Scale is from one to five (5 = 
revolutionary enhancement; 3 = significant enhancement; 1 = modest enhancement). 

Enhance Recoverability 

Will the technology enhance aerospace base recoverability after an attack? Attributes include 
minimizing downtime after attack, ability to reopen runways, and ability to clean up unexploded ordnance and 
residual contaminants. Scale is from one to five (5 = revolutionary enhancement; 3 = significant 
enhancement; 1 = modest enhancement). 


Cost-Effectiveness 

To what extent does the technology improve aerospace base operability and defense compared to the 
cost of implementation by the military? This is the most subjective of the quality measurements. A high 
score implies a high benefit to cost ratio. This can be the case either because the military absorbs the full 
cost and gets a tremendous return, or the commercial sector pays for the development and the military only 
pays for conversion. Scale is from one to seven (7 = significantly cost-effective; 5 = moderately cost- 
effective; 3 = neutrally cost-effective; 1 = not cost-effective). 

Eeasibility 

What is the probability that technology will advance enough in key areas to provide the capability 
described in the concept by 2025? Scale is from one to five (5 = very high feasibility, 3 = moderate 
feasibility; 1 = low feasibility). 


47 



Commercial Applications 


To what extent does the concept have technology spin-offs which have application within the 
commercial sector? A high score implies that there could be significant cost savings in the development or 
production costs due to commercial interest. Scale is from one to five (5 = extensive commercial 
applications; 3 = moderate commercial applications; 1 = minimal applications). 

Military Applications 

To what extent does the technology have other military applications? A high score implies that 
development costs will be leveraged across numerous military development programs. Scale is one to five 
(5 = significant number of other military applications; 3 = moderate amount of other military applications; 1 = 
minimal amount of other military applications). 

Results 

Table 4 shows the average ratings for each of the technologies. The maximum possible total score for 
any technology is 25. The last column shows the total score for each technology as a percentage of the 
maximum possible score. These percentages are also shown graphically on figure 5-1. 


48 



Table 4 


Average Technology Ratings Matrix 



Enhance 

Operability 

Enhance 

Mobility 

Enhance 

Survival 

Enhance 

Recovery 

Cost- 

Effective 

Feasible 

Commercial 

Application 

Other Military 
Applications 

Total 

Weighted 

Score 

%of 

Maximum 

Score 

Super 

conductivity 

4.8 

4.4 


2.6 

3.9 

3.0 

5.0 

4.8 

19.1 

76% 

MEMS 

4.2 


■ 

4.0 

3.1 

4.0 

4.6 

4.0 

18.8 

75% 

Alternate 

Power Sources 

4.2 

■ 

■ 

3.0 

2.6 

3.6 

4.8 

4.2 

18.0 

72% 

At/Neural Nets 

4.2 


4.0 

3.0 

3.3 

4.0 

4.6 

4.2 

17.7 

71% 

Advanced 

Materials 

3.8 

4.4 


3.0 

2.6 

_ 



17.5 

70% 

Nano 

technology 

3.8 

4.0 

4.0 

3.6 

2.7 

3.0 

4.4 

4.0 

17.2 

69% 

Robotics 

3.8 

2.8 

2.8 

3.6 

2.9 



4.2 

16.5 

66% 

Biotechnology 

3.4 

3.2 

3.8 

_ 



3.6 

3.6 

16.3 

65% 

Advanced 

Sensor Fields 

3.2 



2.6 

3.3 


3.2 

4.0 

16.1 

64% 

Defensive 

Weapons 

2.6 

2.0 

4.4 

2.4 

3.1 

4.2 

1.4 

4.6 

14.9 

60% 

Holography 

2.6 

2.0 

4.0 

1.8 

1.9 

3.8 

3.2 

3.4 

13.3 

53% 

SQUIDs 

3.2 

1.6 

2.8 

2.0 

2.0 

2.0 

1.4 

4.0 

11.6 

46% 

Maximum Possible Score = 25 


As the data shows, most of the technologies are grouped within a 12 percent band. Only three 
technologies, SQUID, holography, and directed energy weapons seem to drop out of contention. The top two 
technologies, superconductivity, and MEMS, standout from the rest of the group while alternate power 
sources and artificial intelligence/neural nets round out the top four. 


49 











































Figure 5-1. Average Technology Rating—Graphic Depiction 

Although the results are limited by their subjective derivation, they indicate a distinct predilection for 
technologies that directly improve operability and indirectly improve base defense and correspondingly 
reduce the core entity ring. Two of the top four technologies are related to revolutionizing the way base 
systems generate power, taking power generation from a key core entity to the intermediate or peripheral 
entity category—these are synergistic technologies. As ambient temperature superconductivity becomes 
possible, the use of alternate power generation methods becomes more cost- and performance effective. The 
broad applications of MEMS for use in low-observable facilities, battle damage repair, and self-erecting 
structures have the potential to also move several additional entities out of the core entity category. Finally, 
artificial intelligence offers the potential to provide the synergism needed at the base level to integrate and 
operate all of these capabilities. The low scores for directed energy weapons, holography, and SQUIDs are 
a reflection of their applicability to only the defense side of operability and defense. 


50 




The capabilities envisioned for the aerospace base of 2025 could become available incrementally with 
a combination of commercial and government investment in diverse technologies. For many of these 

technologies the driving factor will be the development costs. Figure 5-2 shows an estimate of the relative 

2 

development cost sharing for each technology area discussed above. 

On a positive note, the top technologies recommended by the research team have significant commercial 
applications and investment potential which may be readily leveraged by the military. Some of the cited 
technologies are further from reality than others; however, the facilities they would effect are being built 
today. Consideration on how to effect the transition which will enable the application and use of these new 
capabilities is strongly recommended. As an example, we spend a great deal of money and effort improving 
the human factors of base systems and aircraft maintenance. Consideration should begin with regard to 

3 

making systems suitable for robots—robonomic. New construction and facilities modifications should, at a 
minimum, consider the need for future low-observable retrofits and modifications for hardening or use of 
reactive armor. Ongoing environmental cleanup and the increasing threat of biological and chemical 
contamination strongly suggests a continuing need to consider the means to take advantage of biotechnology 
for contaminant cleanup. 


51 



Superconductivity 

MEMS 

Alternate Power Sources 

_ Al/Neural Nets _ 

Advanced Materials 

_ Nanotechnology _ 

_ Robotics _ 

_ Biotechnology _ 

Advanced Sensor Fields 
Defensive Weapons 

Holography 
SQUIDS I 

Level of Government Level of Commercial 

Investment Investment 

Figure 5-2. Development Cost Sharing 

None of the technologies and concepts discussed above is singularly important to operability and 
defense. Together though, they provide a quantum synergism that can greatly increase the effectiveness and 
survivability of the 2025 aerospace base. In the year 2025, operability and defense will not and cannot be 
mutually exclusive. Day-to-day operations will have to consider the potential for instantaneous transitions to 
combat footing. This applies to CONUS-based MOBs and FOBs. Reducing the number of core entities 
provides an obvious improvement in base defense since the number of entities that have to be protected “at 
all costs” goes down. There is a corresponding, though less obvious, improvement in day-to-day base 
operability. The steps taken to reduce core entities include improvements in base systems reliability, 
decreases in base manning levels, and use of reliable, low-cost power generation, among other things. All 
are steps which combine to simplify day-to-day operations and even reduce the operating costs. The upshot 
is that most of the technologies identified in this research paper have civilian applications or military 


52 


















applications in other areas. The downside is that today’s base infrastructure is typically tomorrow’s 
infrastructure, so implementation of these concepts will need to start today. 

Summation 

The issue of operability and defense in the year 2025, and as presented in this paper, is not one based 
exclusively on arguments for the development or advancement of a specific technology or technologies. Nor 
is the issue of operability and defense focused narrowly on developing a singular system which will permit 
the aerospace base of 2025 to function and sustain aerospace power projection, despite actual or attempted 
disruptions. The integrated system inherent to the aerospace base of 2025 denotes a major revolution in 
operability and defense because of its force enhancement qualities of adaptability, defensibility, mobility, 
reliability, and survivability. Within this construct, vulnerabilities of the integrated system resident at an 
aerospace base have not been discounted but considered in terms of their elimination. Successful attacks on 

the whole or parts of the system, by a determined adversary, have not been discounted either but addressed in 

4 

terms of building in robustness and redundancy, allowing for graceful degradation. Reduction of the number 
of core entities, so vital to the functioning of the aerospace base, has been presented as a viable means to 
preserve the functionality of the base to support its designated mission. 

So it is, that the five force enhancement qualities of adaptability, flexibility, mobility, reliability, and 
survivability are integrated throughout the aerospace base infrastructure. In the end, the overarching vision 
for the integrated aerospace base of 2025 is not derived from the objective of developing an impregnable 
fortress. The vision articulated in this paper is focused on providing a sanctuary for aerospace dominance 
through the creation of a low-observable, shielded, self-healing, and mobile aerospace base. This vision 
includes reducing and dispersing core functions, thereby reducing the consequences of attack. Finally, by 
using new technologies to accomplish this, and by creating a sanctuary, the aerospace base becomes a source 
of energy and replenishment that enhances aerospace power. 


53 



Notes 


The evaluation qualities can be viewed as two categories; functional qualities related to how well the 
technology enhances aerospace base operability and defense, and implementation qualities which provide 
insight into the likelihood of the technology being affordable or doable. However, all eight qualities were 
ranked as one group since any future development program will have to trade off cost, performance, and 

schedule qualities as necessary to decide which technologies to pursue. 

2 

This is a subjective assessment derived from each team member’s impressions of each of the 
technologies researched. As such, the assessment only provides a very rough idea of the split between 
government and commercial funding for development. Thus, subsequent investigation should refine and 

validate these findings. 

3 

Term contrived by the team to denote ergonomic considerations for robots. 

4 

Adm William A. Owens, “A Report on the JROC and the Revolution in Military Affairs,” Marine 
Corps Gazette 79, no. 8 (August 1995); 51. 


54 



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56 



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