One of the recent strategic choices made by the top folks at the US Air Force is the “2010 strategic plan for the Combat Air Force (CAF)” (The Combat Command, 2010). This strategic choice entails focusing the US’s Air Force efforts on fighting the US’s enemies, while keeping a stable commitment towards maintaining the homeland security, strengthening the US’s nuclear avoidance and meeting security challenges. The rationale behind this strategic choice is recognition of existence of unpredictable security threats both overseas and at home (The Combat Command, 2010). Through this choice the US Air Force has been able to identify its main concerns and challenges that it must tackle in order to meet its security requirements in the US.
Based on the Porter’s generic strategies, the aforementioned strategic choice can be categorized as a focus strategy. Focus strategy entails focusing on one market segment, and using either cost advantage or differentiation tactics to achieve competitiveness. The 2010 CAF strategic choice allows the US Air Force to focus on one segment: the US air space. “Firms pursuing a differentiation-focused strategy may be able to pass higher costs on to customers since close substitute products do not exist” (Porter’s Generic Strategies, 2010). Based on this, it is clear that the 2010 CAF strategic choice is a differentiation-focused strategy. This is because the US Air Force is the only security agent in the USA, which has the mandate to secure the US’s air space and this makes it to incur huge costs in provision of air security requirements. Thus, the 2010 CAF strategic choice has allowed the US Air Force to adopt a differentiation-focused strategy, whereby it provides the entire of the US’s air territory with adequate security while passing the heavy air security costs to the US taxpayers through the federal government.
From the SWOT perspective, this strategic choice has been successful in protecting the US Air Force against threats such as possible air strikes by the US enemies. In addition, this strategic choice has enabled the US Air Force to capitalize on one of its major strengths: production of large number of warplanes. This is because the US Air Force has been able to concentrate on its core mandate: to protect the US’s air space.
Another recent strategic choice that has been made by the top folks at the US Air Force is the strategic plan to contract various services from various service providers (The US Air Force, 2009). Since the year 2009, the US Air Force has been contracting human resources and logistics services from various service providers. This strategic choice has enabled the US Air Force to cut down its administration costs in selection and recruitment of its workforce, as well as in running its logistics. For this reason, this strategic choice can be categorized as cost leadership strategy under the Porter’s generic strategies. Outsourcing is one of the ways that assist firms to achieve cost leadership in the market since it allows a firm to lower its operation costs. This is what the US Air Force strives to achieve by contracting human resources and logistics services from external service providers. Given the facts that one of the US’s Air Force strengths is availability of a large workforce, this strategic choice has undoubtedly helped it to capitalize on this strength. This is because the US Air Force has been able to hire airmen from all regions of the world, thanks to its strategic choice to utilize human resource service providers from different regions of the world to undertake the staffing function on its behalf.
In this module, I have learnt that strategic choices are very vital in assisting a firm to achieve competitive advantage in the market in which it operates. For instance, through making the aforementioned strategic choices, the US Air Force has been able to provide adequate air security to the US homeland. Moreover, this module has helped me to understand the rationale of the Porter’s four generic strategies. That is a firm’s strengths fall into two categories: cost leadership and differentiation. By applying these strengths, four generic strategies that are independent of the industry in which a firm operates results: cost leadership, differentiation, differentiation-focus, and low cost-focus strategies (Porter’s Four Generic Competitive Strategies, 2010).