Airmen + Core Missions = Global Vigilance, Global Reach, Global Power

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No single core mission offers only one of the three effects of airpower—Global Vigilance, Global Reach, or Global Power— because all five core missions are necessary to provide the integrated global airpower effects that only the Air Force can supply. And each Airman, regardless of their mission-specific specialty, plays a critical role in delivering these effects. For example, a remotely piloted aircraft pilot does not just supply Global Vigilance, a boom operator on a tanker does not just bring Global Reach, and a navigator on a bomber does not just dispense Global Power. Using their innovative natures, these Airmen play a part in providing all three, just as all Airmen do.


Air Force history is full of examples of the ways that innovative Airmen have brought our core missions together to deliver Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power. The ingenuity of Airmen was on full display during the first 24 hours of Operation DESERT STORM in 1991. The attack plan called for more than 150 attacks against separate targets—more targets in a single day than were attacked by the entire 8th Air Force in the first two years of the combined bomber offensive over Europe during World War II. This degree of complexity and precision, unequaled in the annals of military history, was made possible when an Airman’s new theory of targeting was combined with advanced airpower technologies. The introduction of stealth technology and the expansion of types and numbers of precision weapons, combined with a targeting approach based on achieving specific effects rather than widespread destruction, created a new concept of operations known as parallel warfare—the simultaneous application of force across the breadth and depth of the theater. When combined, these elements heralded a turning point in the character of warfare that continues to have a defining influence on how to win future conflicts.

Another powerful real-world example of Air Force Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power occurred at the start of Operation ALLIED FORCE when two B-2 stealth bombers departed Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, for their assigned targets in Serbia. As the first coalition aircraft to enter heavily defended enemy airspace, each B-2 dropped 16 satellite-aided precision bombs to attack their targets, paving the way for the rest of the initial aerial attack force to follow shortly thereafter. Over the course of the first eight weeks of the conflict, the B-2s, all flying nonstop round-trip combat sorties from Missouri, destroyed 33 percent of the total targets in the campaign. More recently, in 2013, B-2 bombers flew non-stop training sorties from Whiteman to South Korea to signal America’s resolve and ability to quickly deliver airpower effects anywhere on the globe.

Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power were also demonstrated in full force during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Bringing all of our core missions to the joint fight, the Air Force provided armed overwatch, close air support, mobility operations, and ISR. Air Force ISR, coupled with the relentless precision bombing of Iraqi forces, assured coalition commanders that their unprotected flanks were secure, allowing a lightly contested advance to Baghdad that hastened the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime after just three weeks of fighting.

In 2011, the Air Force brought our core missions together to simultaneously conduct many additional andhighly diverse missions around the globe, including in Libya, Japan, and South America. In particular, after observing revolutionary events unfold across Northern Africa, the Air Force was called into action on March 19, 2011, to help enforce a United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya. In Operations ODYSSEY DAWN and UNIFIEDPROTECTOR, airpower was a decisive factor during the Libyan conflict, even with a comparatively small indigenous ground force. Through airpower, our Nation was able to limit U.S. military involvement and minimize the associated cost and risks of a protracted commitment of American forces. At the same time, Airmen provided tsunami disaster relief to the Japanese people more than 5,000 miles away. Performing with characteristic professionalism, Airmen evacuated 7,500 American citizens from hazardous zones in northeast Japan; delivered 60 percent of U.S. relief supplies; provided vital information about the devastated region to Japanese leaders; re-opened additional airfield capacity; and ultimately provided a much-needed measure of comfort in the wake of multiple disasters that occurred at the same time.


Concurrently, the Air Force was providing close air support, airlift, and ISR in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as well as supplying logistical support to promote Presidential diplomatic efforts in South America.

Every Airman—in every flight, in every squadron, in every wing, in every major command in the Air Force—plays a critical role in providing airpower. The operator cannot do her job without the maintainer doing his job; the maintainer can only do his job when the civil engineer does her job; and the civil engineer is able to do her job because support personnel ensure that she and her family are taken care of. We are all connected across all specialties and mission areas in providing Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power for America. Every Airman is critically important!



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