386 The number of the US Air Force’s future?

UNITED STATES

WHEN SECRETARY of the Air Force, Dr Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff General David Goldfein finished speaking at the annual Air Force Association conference in Washington DC on September 17 and 18, everyone received a coffee mug, inscribed with the US Air Force logo and the number 386.

What’s relevant about the number 386? It is the number of combat squadrons the Air Force estimates it needs if it is going to be capable of carrying out the missions it is responsible for under the National Defense Strategy (NDS), released earlier this year. General Goldfein said 386 was number of squadrons needed to be “simultaneously able to defend the homeland, maintain nuclear deterrence and nuclear command, control and communications, while able to defeat a peer threat, and at the same time, being able to deter a near-peer threat and maintain the campaign’s momentum against violent extremism”.

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