Futures & Concepts

Futures & Concepts provides the foundational concepts for force design, defining how the Air and Space Forces and the Joint Force fight more effectively in the future. Futures & Concepts develops agile, multi-domain concepts to solve emerging challenges and guide the future force, presented as an authoritative Family of Concepts:

  1. Operating Concept: how Air Force capabilities integrate with joint, interagency, and coalition to solve challenges.
  2. Functional Concepts: how concepts and capabilities merge to enable future operations. 

Futures & Concepts directs and guides the development of subordinate concepts from Lead Commands/Agents and other Air Force organizations and will support capability development across joint, interagency, and partners ensuring integration, synchronization, and alignment of concepts, roadmaps, and flight plans across the Air and Space Forces.



Design Blueprint integrates inputs from Lead Commands/Lead Agents to establish the attributes of design for the Air and Space Forces we need, in order to achieve the strategic vision laid out by the National Defense Strategy. A strong focus on design, guided by the National Defense Strategy, enables the Air Force to rapidly identify areas for new investment in capabilities that will provide the backbone and connective tissue to allow the Joint Force to conduct true multi-domain operations, even in the most difficult scenarios. The design will inform capability development, resource planning, and programming decisions that ensure better enterprise integration in the development and procurement of tools needed to win in a peer fight. The design will take an enterprise-wide approach to create an integrated future force design allows the Air Force to make decisions in a financially responsible manner and to take better advantage of acquisition reform authorities Congress allotted.


Capability Development

Capability Development identifies, prioritizes, sequences, and directs integrated capability development activities to address known capability gaps as well as emerging opportunities across the Air Force enterprise. Capability Development identifies, plans, and directs those activities that will develop capabilities from concepts into acquisition programs for the future force. Capability Development produces the Capability Development Guidance to provide strategic-level Air Force guidance and prioritization to the science and technology, experimentation, and acquisition communities. In coordination with the acquisition enterprise, Capability Development identifies tradespace opportunities and ensures consistency with the Design Blueprint, and also functions as the secretariat for the Capability Development Council, which provides more directive guidance and executive coordination of future force design decisions across the blueprint and ensures alignment of capability development efforts with the future force design.




Innovative Solutions explores high-payoff technological opportunities and drives their integration into future force design to counter the National Defense Strategy warning about "risks eroding the conventional overmatch to which our Nation has grown accustomed." The division's role is to bridge the gap between laboratory and operations, presenting prioritized operational needs to science and technology researchers and developers, and overseeing prototyping and experimentation campaigns to facilitate rapid fielding of emerging technologies. By monitoring new developments and technology trends in the defense and global innovation ecosystem, the Innovative Solutions Division identifies where emerging technologies might be leveraged to fill operational gaps, and facilitates the process of integrating emerging technologies into existing concepts and designs (technology "pull"). The division also works with technology developers to understand when emerging technologies could alter existing operational concepts or drive entirely new operational designs (technology "push").



Functional Integration (FID) is responsible for fusing multi-domain and cross-functional concepts into everything that AFWIC does. The FID consists of operational specialists from across the Air Force’s core missions and key functions, and provides diverse functional expertise across AFWIC's process divisions. Integrating at the earliest and lowest possible levels, the FID drives integration at the very beginning of concept development and future force design. As the standing operator/warfighter expertise within AFWIC, FID members participate in agile concept development, wargaming, experimentation, red teams, capability assessments, and more. Organized along core functions similar to the Planning and Programming Panels, the FID serves as the key interface throughout the process of shepherding Design into Planning and Programming. Serving as the key linchpin between AFWIC and the MAJCOMs, the FID closely coordinates and collaborates across AFWIC's mission portfolio and MAJCOM capability development efforts.


Decision Analytics

Decision Analytics collaborates with various stakeholders and contributors to provide the analytical rigor and decision-quality assessments underpinning all AFWIC products. As a division, Decision Analytics serves as a forum where analysts, assessors, and wargamers confer over AFWIC-wide tasks and bring their collective experience and expertise to bear on challenges AFWIC faces. Because AFWIC is the bridge between strategy and planning, it drives new analytic needs, as well as new requirements for existing types of analysis beyond those currently conducted in the Air Force. Decision Analytics leverages existing capabilities across the enterprise to include AF/A9, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, among others, while applying new analytic approaches to address concepts and capabilities organically within AFWIC. Decision Analytics develops new tools and approaches to include adaptive wargaming, systems analysis, strategic vector assessments, campaign and mission analyses, and data analytics in support of AFWIC-wide activities.