A four-pack pallet drops from a C-17 airlifter in a demonstration of the Rapid Dragon project.

A four-pack pallet drops from a C-17 airlifter in a demonstration of the Rapid Dragon project. Air Force Research Laboratory

Expect Air Force’s new requirements command to launch this year, chief says

Gen. Allvin says Integrated Capabilities Command will draw 500 to 800 people, many from major commands’ requirements offices.

By year’s end, the Air Force’s new command will start lifting the burden of modernization planning from major commands, allowing them to focus on keeping their forces ready to fight. 

The three-star Integrated Capabilities Command will build its workforce by pulling in the people who currently develop modernization requirements at major commands, Air Force Chief Gen. David Allvin said Friday. 

“I would say right now, we have a target to at least have those individuals designated and working in that capacity by the end of the calendar year,” Allvin told reporters at the Pentagon.

The creation of a command to centralize the work of defining needs for new platforms is just one of the “Reoptimizing for Great Power Competition” changes announced in February.

Allvin said the command will have 500 to 800 personnel, many of whom will be physically located near major command headquarters.

“This command will have locations throughout [the service]. I do not anticipate, at this point, that it will be a single command with everybody in one building that loses some of that connectivity and the tactical connection with the major command,” Allvin said.

Choosing a permanent location for the new command’s headquarters will take a backseat to simply starting up operations, the chief said; it may also start up under a provisional leader to avoid delays due to a lengthy nomination process, he said.  

Allvin said the commander hasn’t been selected yet, and he wouldn’t say which Air Force community the new leader might come from, but said the command will be “best functioning when it’s operator-led.”

He said the service is conducting tabletop exercises to figure out which parts of the requirements-generation process need to stay at major commands, which include Air Combat Command, Global Strike, and more.

“Some of those that would traditionally stay at the MAJCOMs will now be designated to support the ICC, and that's the work that we're doing right now, how many, what kind, what flavor, and they're going to be from all across the different MAJCOMs,” he said.

Allvin said the broader reorganization aims to fix a “diffused and fragmented” Air Force that has been crowdsourcing for deployments, building new capability “in chunks at a time.” And with the pace of technology, the service doesn’t want to miss out on opportunities by not thinking outside of its “little functional areas,” he said.  

An example of this is long-range strike. Allvin pointed to the Rapid Dragon program, which launches long-range missiles from the back of a cargo aircraft. 

“We didn't really think of the fact that if you put a couple of JASSMs on a pallet in the back of a C-17, you have a rapid global mobility asset that can do long-range strike,” Allvin said.  

Another example is command and control, which typically resides in Air Combat Command’s portfolio but could be expanded if the service put a communications suite in the back of a KC-46 or KC-135 tanker, he said. 

“You don't necessarily think of that naturally, because you're developing it within another context,” Allvin said. 

“The idea of Integrated Capabilities Command is really to take that expertise, the requirements generation, those that understand the functional expertise in their operations, and they're part of the Air Force, put them together, and start understanding what we need the Air Force to do as far as mission outcomes,” he said. “What do we need to do? Well, we need to kill ships at long range. We need to get after high-value assets at long range. We need to have these things called long-range kill chains that put together our ability to find, fix, target, track, engage, and assess, and we need to leverage all of the platforms and systems that we have to do that in a way that can keep up with the pace of the threat, can do so [in] a more cost-affordable” way.