L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE: FUTURE TRENDS SHAPING INTEROPERABILITY BETWEEN CANSOFCOM AND THE RCAF
Sepp, Kalev I.
Greenshields, Brian H.
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A mature Special Operations Forces (SOF) capability requires dedicated airpower, yet the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has not responded to the deepening relevance of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). This study qualitatively analyzes eight trends that Canada should address to optimize SOF airpower. The trends are: remote piloting; artificial intelligence and machine autonomy; processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED); Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); SOF mobility; precision strike; Alternative Service Delivery; and fuel sources. From these trends, this study finds ten implications for Canada and like-minded nations: the enduring need for human involvement as only human influence achieves long-term success; human-machine teaming that fuses human discernment and machine learning; the concept of joint by design; the idea of modular by design; Alternative Service Delivery and roll-on/roll-off platforms; alternative fuel futures like high-altitude pseudo-satellites and the Airfield Surface Assessment and Reconnaissance capability; big data PED, including smart sensors and novel analytics; employment considerations for Manned ISR assets; tilt-rotor and the future of vertical lift; and the trade-offs between fifth-generation stealth fighters like the F-35 and the down-teched OA-X observation-attack aircraft. This study ultimately advocates for greater interoperability between CANSOFCOM and the RCAF. Both are stronger together.
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