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Analyzing 501St Strategic AnalysisEssay

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Strategic Analysis

501st Strategic Analysis

On May 20, 2016, Joe Smith interviewed the 501st CSW's (Combat Support Wing's) Commander, Colonel Kevin P. Cullen. The 501st is located at the Alconbury station of UK's Royal Air Force. The interview recording is 37 minutes, 47 seconds in length. The interview has been used as the primary data source for conducting strategic analysis, in this paper, on the 501st CSW's activities. The analysis addresses unit operational risks, encountered during mission execution, including munitions safety, flight safety, etc. Military units are targeted for attacks by various hostile parties, including terror groups. With the latest arrival of individuals in significant numbers into Europe, owing to liberal immigration policies of European states, 501st CSW is vulnerable. Similar to older issues, other external aspects exist beyond the unit's control, which, nonetheless, impact it. One such element is the defense department's decision of consolidating numerous 501st operational bases into one base, giving rise to new opportunities and threats.

The 501st is an RAF unit; thus, a majority of challenges impacting other air force units across the globe will impact it too (e.g., aging equipment, nuclear activity, cyber security, etc.). This paper primarily deals with aspects like risks to the unit's 14,000-strong workforce, influenced by the current, escalating Russian aggression and related challenges to the 501st and the American Air Force, when supporting Central and Western European NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies, in light of the Congress-approved operating budget). Finally, the Commander was posed questions with regard to the unit's future. The commander offered an ambiguous but interesting response, with regard to the current year of elections.

The 501st Combat Support Wings Strategy

Internal and External Environment

Operational Risks to 501st CSW

This air force division faces many different kinds of risk, one of which is the previously-mentioned operational risk associated with mission execution. Another risk is safety risk, linked to work conditions -- air force units have to work twelve hours a day, battling fatigue and covering long distances in vehicles. They also encounter munitions safety risks at the Welford station and flight safety risks at Fairford station. While the above risks are more common, Colonel Cullen, in his interview, identified the ATFP (Anti-Terrorism Force Protection) risk. The 501st holds a special responsibility for all UK sites, except for the embassy, RAF Lakenheath, and RAF Mildenhaul. This constitutes about 48 sites, including one out-of-country site (in Norway); it is in the latter air base that the ATFP initiative operates, in collaboration with wing-level ATFP officer who is joined by commanders of the Defense Force. At the level of Squadrons, this is clearly a large task requiring more than a couple of personnel. Therefore, ATFP identifies and assesses risks.

Liberal Immigration Policy Risks to 501st

Europe's liberal migration policies in the face of Syria's crisis also pose a type of risk to security forces. More stringent policing of Europe's external borders has been regarded as crucial to the preservation of the freedom to move in Schengen, where as many as twenty-six nations got rid of border controls. However, firmer surveillance also forms part of EU's uncompromising battle against terror activities (Peter, 2015). A Syrian refugee camp lies just about two miles away from Stavanger - the unit's Norwegian base. While Syria's refugee crisis is not so well-known in Britain, it has garnered considerable publicity across other world regions and, particularly, Europe. This risk that cannot be controlled by the unit should be tackled as well. Risk management entails constant surveillance for identifying different threat scenarios. One such event occurred when a food truck of the Defense Commissary Agency was found packed with migrants. In response to such external threats, the 501st needs to continuously formulate strategies for addressing new issues as they crop up. One strategy would be to deploy a Tiger unit to increase MDPs (Defense Ministry Police) at the Fairford base. This very team will also deal with and resolve the armed guard problem at Welford's Ministry Guard Service. Lastly, at its Blenheim Crescent station, where significant ATFP-related work is being carried out, as are numerous facility upgrades in the M-25 (strip around the capital city or within London's confines), risks are clear as well. Unfortified off-base housing areas are vulnerable as well, and hence, actions need to be taken to mitigate these risks.

External Challenges Impacting the 501st CSW

Every intelligence agency at the Royal Air Force's Molesworth base, namely, European Commands JIAC (Joint Intelligence Analytical Center), NATO's IFC (Intelligence Fusion Center), and Air Force African Command (AFAFRICOM) J2 Molesworth organization, will all be relocated to its Croughton station, which is already home to a key State Department. When all these are added together, one doesn't simply "do intelligence," which takes considerable communication assets. By closing down the Molesworth station, a highly critical technical facility will no longer remain available. This is, in fact, Britain's largest and most important one, being one of the locations holding significant intelligence, special communications equipment, and special intelligence agencies, all at a single site -- that is, RAF's Croughton station. Substantial risks are linked to such a decision: operational, ATFP, counter intelligence, and communication redundancy risks.

While this view is held by the 501st division's commander, a United States-European Command spokesperson claims the proposed replacement site will combine intelligence agencies and units into a single effective, purpose-built structure that will lead to an annual governmental saving of 74 million dollars (51 million pounds) and appreciably decrease operational risks linked to available deteriorating and substandard facilities. The planned ultra-secure information center will become the nation's headquarters for African and European military communications, and will employ as many as 1,250 personnel for intelligence analysis of over 50 nations. It is expected to complete by the next year. A number of these tasks are now being performed at the RAF's Cambridgeshire base of Molesworth, under the American air force's control. This is being shut down in a bid to reduce U.S. military spending (Bawden, 2016). 317 million dollars will be spent by the American government in the upgrading of (RAF) Croughton -- the American Air Force's Northamptonshire, South England, station. This will be made the new headquarters for American counter terrorism ventures known as Africa Command or Africom (U.S. to spend $317 million on British intel hub upgrade, 2014).

Challenges the 501st Faces because of being a Division of the Air Force

The air force division faces risk with regard to its flying hour's schedule. When sequestration was witnessed in the U.S. Air Force, significant necessary money withdrawn from that was allocated to flying hours. Thus, if one does not allow aircrews to train adequately, pulling training days from Security Force Squads may be appreciated, since they recently transitioned to twelve-hour-long shifts. Fleet modernization is another Air Force risk. Defense aircrafts' average age is now the oldest ever. Several new aircrafts are now being launched, or are in their development phase, from long-range strike bombers and the F-35, to novel helicopter variants and KC-X refuelers. Risks are also posed to nuclear enterprises being increasingly employed by the defense department and Air Force. All weapon systems and weapons for nuclear enterprise delivery have to be upgraded. This task remains pending on account of associated costs and relevant treaties. Another clear risk lies in the modern-day cyber domain -- with regard to defensive, rather than offensive, operations. The military, in particular, effectively safeguards its electronic assets; however, a majority of critical cyber capabilities can actually be found in U.S. civilian infrastructure. Moreover, the unit faces Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) risk. Control and command risks and conventional military risks are also faced, but these areas form two of the greatest strengths of the U.S. air force.

Fund Savings and Fiscal Allocation in the 501st CSW

The 501st CSW has engaged in highly significant savings. In the course of the past year, the BOS footprint (base operating support footprint) at Menwith Hill witnessed a reduction. This was possible because of reduction of one of the Air Base Groups to a Squadron (i.e., Wing-Group-Squadron). Imagine cutting down Croughton's unit from around 700 to 800 military authorizations to, say, an all civilian 200-strong Squadron. This is precisely what took place at the Menwith Hill station - NSA's (National Security Agency's) adaptation of the European Infrastructure Consolidation, which it labeled "Extended Footprint Analysis" or EFA. The NSA funds the Menwith Hill facility, and was seeking to reduce costs. To elaborate, the Agency decided to relegate one group and make it a squadron, about two years ago, resulting in a forty-million-dollar per annum saving. Another area in which the unit makes real savings is the Croughton facility's consolidation of intelligence. Once this new facility is complete, the projected annual savings will be seventy-five million dollars! Thus, within a span of four years, the $240 million invested will be recovered and after this period, the Defense Department will enjoy pure savings.

Formulation of a Sound Strategy

With increased American spending in the European region, the 501st and its air force,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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