Date of Award

2-2015

Document Type

Capstone-Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Intelligence Studies

Capstone Instructor

Dr. John P. Dolan

Abstract

This paper examines the transformation of the role of U.S. Air Force intelligence during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) in order to determine if its intelligence officers are more or less prepared to face future conventional, near-peer threats. This thesis utilizes a singular case study with embedded units represented by two hypothetical career arcs; one that started at least a year prior to OEF/OIF, and one that started during the height of OEF/OIF. Pattern-matching analysis and a simple matrix are used to compare the two career arcs across several factors: doctrine, tradecraft, training, career progression, and deployment experiences. The findings reveal that it is plausible that the last 13 years of combat operations have had a detrimental impact on the traditional roles and missions of air intelligence professionals in terms of being prepared to face conventional, near-peer threats. The Air Force is currently postured to continue to provide world-class intelligence support to warfighters in an irregular warfare environment, but the service may struggle to rediscover its more traditional roles and missions that would be necessary to face conventional threats.

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