The 2016 Warsaw Summit Declaration, as the most current expression by the Heads of State and Government (HOS / G) of key contemporary security concerns and focus areas, is clear in its statements: ‘the Alliance faces a range of security challenges and threats that originate from the east and from the south; from state and non-state actors; from military forces and from terrorists, cyber, or hybrid attacks. The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory and our populations against attack. And so renewed emphasis has been placed on deterrence and collective defence’. NATO also remains clear in its overarching intent, which is that ‘NATO will ensure that it has the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against potential adversaries and the full spectrum of threats that could confront the Alliance from any direction’.
These clear statements re-emphasize the need for the Alliance and its member states to address shortfalls in essential capabilities and competencies. The Study before you, commissioned and financed by HQ SACT and conducted by the JAPCC, supports this need. It provides a coherent set of urgent strategic, short to medium term priorities in the field of Joint Air Power capabilities and competencies, linked to the main areas of interest and concern as expressed in the 2016 Warsaw Summit Communiqué. The aim of the study is to strategically inform, in a timely manner, the discussion of needed capabilities and competencies as part of the NATO Joint Air Power Strategy currently being drafted under the leadership of ACT.
An analysis of the 2016 Warsaw Summit Communiqué shows that there are eleven main areas of interest and concern with a direct association to Joint Air Power. In the context of this Study, these main areas are called Strategic Focus Areas. These are: Deterrence (including forward presence); Collective Defence; Readiness, Deployability and Sustainability; NATO Air C2; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); Missile Defence; Hybrid Warfare and Resilience; Alliance and Partnership Cooperation; Defence Industry and Technology Cooperation; Cyber; and Interoperability. Out of these eleven, Cyber and Interoperability are not examined separately, but are addressed integrally, if applicable for a Strategic Focus Area. Deterrence, Collective Defence and Readiness, Deployability and Sustainability are dealt with in two separate articles. One article focuses on the political-strategic and the other on the military-strategic and -operational perspectives. Therefore, this Study includes seven independent articles, covering a total of eleven Strategic Focus Areas.
In his political-strategic perspective of ‘the role of NATO Joint Air Power in Deterrence and Collective Defence’, Dr. H. Binnendijk states that ‘today’s global trends may make deterrence harder to achieve than at any time since the end of the Cold War’. This fact was recognized at NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit and steps were taken to strengthen deterrence and defence. NATO Joint Air Power will be critical to NATO’s effort to enhance deterrence and is vital to its efforts to defeat a Russian adversary. NATO Joint Air Power would be the first responder to meet a Russian conventional challenge and could offset and deter a Russian strategy to ‘strike, pause, and win’1. Should deterrence fail, Russia may have critical advantages with regard to time, geography, and political will, despite that nation’s relatively small defence budget. In the south, Air Power currently plays the critical role in defeating the Islamic State. Unless relations with Russia improve dramatically, NATO Air Power must transition from difficult but unopposed missions in the south and focus on much more politically and militarily demanding tasks to the east. In addition, the role of NATO air forces in nuclear deterrence, missile defence, and cyber assurance is also becoming increasingly complex. To deal with these new challenges, European NATO air forces will need to maximize their early warning and rapid response capabilities and work closely with the United States to reap the full benefits of the so-called ‘Third Offset’2. As the trend in Europe towards reducing defence budgets since the end of the Cold War is lessening in response to both the growing threat and to United States (US) pressure, European NATO air forces will need to receive a significant portion of that additional funding, commensurate with their increasingly important role.
In his article ‘Joint Air Power Priorities, Deterrence and Collective Defence’, General (ret.) F. Gorenc addresses Deterrence, Collective Defence and Readiness, Deployability and Sustainability from a military-strategic and operational-strategic perspective. In essence, he states that ‘NATO is the most successful Alliance in history, but that past performance does not guarantee future results. Four realities could limit NATO aspirations. Recognizing and understanding these four realities will posture the Alliance for future successes.
First, NATO potential power is not real power. A combined NATO, $36 Trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) does not generate real military power unless Allies increase defence spending and invest wisely. Large, well-equipped militaries do not generate real military power unless forces are fully combat capable and offered during force generation. Second, when deterrence fails, prompt consensus is pivotal and collective defence must be decisive. Potential adversaries know consensus is a NATO centre of gravity and will attack using asymmetric means to delay or prevent consensus. Long, contentious delays in gaining Alliance consensus weaken NATO’s credibility because the enemy may come to believe NATO would not or could not invoke Article 5. To remain credible against the threats described in the Warsaw Summit, prompt consensus must be followed with decisive, real power to achieve collective defence. Third, the enemy has a vote and could choose war. Currently, in ‘peacetime’, Russia, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Daesh and Iran are aggressive. Russia’s modern missile systems could hinder NATO’s freedom of movement and threaten critical infrastructure. Adversaries are pursuing and threatening the use of nuclear weapons and Russia’s implied willingness to use nuclear weapons in retaliation to an Article V response could delay NATO’s decision making process or fracture NATO resolve. Fourth, NATO leaders set high expectations for their forces. They want a force that can deter, reinforce and defend against full spectrum potential threats attacking from any direction and they want the force to be deployable, sustainable, interoperable, sufficiently armed, and capable of full range spectrum operations and at high readiness! These demands come with high expenses. NATO Joint Air Power will continue to guarantee success and minimize risk during both peacetime and crisis. If deterrence fails and the enemy chooses war, NATO air forces with their speed, flexibility, range and high readiness will be the first to respond and maximize the effectiveness of the follow on joint force. Defence investment and pursuing key urgent priorities will give NATO Joint Air Power the historically asymmetric advantage Allies have come to expect. The article concludes with a focused 30 point plan for improving NATO Joint Air Power.
In his paper entitled ‘Joint Air Power Following the Warsaw Summit Urgent Priorities’ Action Plan – Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) and Air Command Control (Air C2)’, Lieutenant General (ret.) F. Ploeger asserts that the effective application of Joint Air and Space Power requires modern, agile and responsive C2. This is dependent on an effective and efficient organization, robust C2 systems and communication systems, and more importantly, on dedicated, trained and skilled personnel. Furthermore, a JISR System is needed that generates Indication and Warning (I&W), to permit a timely response, as well as the battle space information to enable effective joint air operations. Against the backdrop of the changed security environment, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) in NATO shows several shortfalls in policies, concepts, and structures which need to be addressed in order to maintain the operational edge3. The adaptation of concepts and structures, the willingness to share information, and the availability of trained operators in sufficient numbers in the NATO Command Structure (NCS) and in NATO Force Structure (NFS) C2 elements are essential to nearly all improvement measures. Partnering with capable national JISR and Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) staffs is an indispensable prerequisite. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that the rapid realization of modern interoperable C2-systems is a must for improving NATO’s C4ISR. The issues presented by the Cyber Domain and Space Support to Operations need to be addressed both doctrinally and operationally.
Lieutenant General (ret.) F. H. Meulman focuses his article on ‘Missile Defence in NATO – towards a Coherent and Effective Surface Based Air and Missile Defence (SBAMD) as a Key Pillar of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System’. Missile Defence is one of the Strategic Focus Areas in the Warsaw Summit Communiqué. In order to meet the challenges and threats of any kind and from any direction, the explicit focus in NATO on Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (TBMD) must be expanded to include SBAMD as part of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS). This will lead to the establishment of an operationally ready, credible and effective NATINAMDS, a key pillar for the successful execution of NATO’s Joint Air Power Strategy. The majority of the urgent capability and competency requirements listed in this article are primarily targeted on improving NATO’s SBAMD capabilities and competencies as part of NATINAMDS. The most important shortfall areas listed are leadership development; education, training, exercises and evaluation (ETEE); and connectivity and interoperability. Other critical requirements (such as additional sensors and shooters, strategic transport, more human resources for sustained operations, force protection, enhanced cyber security etc. …) are not addressed in this article since they are undoubtedly already well-known to the responsible agencies within NATO. However, that they are not mentioned more extensively does not make them any less important. Many of the short to medium term requirements listed in this article can be solved affordably. For this reason, addressing the SBAMD / Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) requirements mentioned in this paper must be a high priority and should be an attractive course of action for NATO and its member states. It is assessed that when the requirements listed in this paper are resolved, the operational effectiveness of NATO’s SBAMD and IAMD capabilities and competencies will significantly improve.
In the article on ‘Hybrid Warfare and Resilience, Lieutenant General (ret.) F. H. Meulman and Lieutenant General (ret.) P. Preziosa focus on the short to medium term requirements for dealing with hybrid attacks in peacetime and in a situation where Article V of the Washington Treaty is invoked. Hybrid attacks can occur in peacetime in the form of terrorist, criminal or cyberspace attacks. This is the Hybrid Conflict phase, where hybrid actors refrain from the overt use of armed forces. In this phase, NATO is prepared to assist an Ally at any stage of a hybrid campaign. In a situation where Article V is invoked the Alliance and Allies will be prepared to counter Hybrid Warfare as part of collective defence. In the Hybrid Warfare phase, actors resort to the overt use of conventional or non-conventional armed forces against another country or non-state actor, as well as potentially terrorist, criminal or cyberspace attacks, at the same time and in a highly integrated fashion.
NATO Joint Air Power is of great importance for countering Hybrid Air Threats throughout the hybrid threat spectrum. This article raises the question whether NATO Joint Air Power has the required capabilities and competencies for conducting these operations and countering the threats and what the urgent Joint Air Power priorities are. The answer is that there is ample room for improvement and for enhancing Joint Air Power capabilities and competencies. The urgent priorities focus on three main areas. First, the need for achieving clarity in NATO’s Joint Air Power Strategy, Air Power doctrine, Rules of Engagement (RoE) and in the legal aspects and responsibilities for NATO Joint Air Power’s effectiveness in countering the full spectrum of hybrid threats. Second, the need for enhancing existing air surveillance and control capabilities and implementing distinctive radar technology thresholds for effectively dealing with the full range of Hybrid Aerial Threats. Third, the need for establishing, in the organization of Joint Forces Commands, a well-educated, trained, exercised and validated Air Advisory Support Team (AAST) that will act as a knowledge, advise and assist centre for the effective use of NATO Joint Air Power in a hybrid air attack situation in peacetime (Hybrid Conflict) and can, if necessary, act as a Hybrid Threat Coordination Cell in a situation where Article V is invoked (Hybrid Warfare). The short to medium term Joint Air Power requirements, if resolved, will strengthen NATO’s preparedness to assist an Ally at any stage of a hybrid campaign in peacetime and to effectively cope with Hybrid Warfare and hybrid threats. This also encompasses measures and requirements with an effect to improve resilience and preparedness.
In his article, ‘Alliance and Partnership Cooperation; Bridging Mutual Joint Air Power Interests’, Lieutenant General (ret.) F. H. Meulman reflects on options and recommendations for enhancing Alliance and military Partnership cooperation. Alliance cooperation is critical to develop effective and efficient collaboration at the operational level and for capability and competency development in the area of Joint Air Power between NATO member states. Operational cooperation with Enhanced and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partner countries, in particular Finland and Sweden, is important because they provide a concrete and valuable contribution to NATO’s fundamental tasks. NATO wants to enhance partnerships through flexible arrangements and NATO is giving operational partners a role in shaping strategy and decisions on NATO-led missions to which they contribute. NATO’s goal is also to enhance Partnership interoperability and preparedness for future operations leading to improved capabilities and competencies for cooperation during operations. Also the Warsaw Summit Communiqué is clear as regards Partnership cooperation: ‘the success of NATO partnerships is demonstrated by their strategic contribution to Alliance and international security … (and that NATO) will further develop our partnerships so that they continue to meet the interests of both Allies and partners’. Alliance members also affirmed the need for a more ‘tailor-made, individual and flexible approach to make NATO’s partnership cooperation more strategic, coherent and effective’. NATO can achieve this goal if it is willing to allow some more political flexibility and provide the direction to achieve greater operational cooperation with the Enhanced and GCC-partners. The requirements listed in this article will significantly enhance the possibility for Alliance and Partnership cooperation and capability and competency development in the field of Joint Air Power. The majority of the requirements can be solved affordably. By doing so, NATO will enhance Alliance and Partnership cooperation in the operational domain. This is where NATO should focus its immediate attention.
Finally, in the article on ‘Industrial and Technology Cooperation’, Lieutenant General (ret.) F. Ploeger and Lieutenant General (ret.) P. Preziosa state that, in times of dwindling financial resources and facing the challenges of a changing security environment, it is of vital importance that Allies and partners cooperate in research and technology and with industry in order to be able to maintain and enhance the capabilities of their forces to respond to current and, more importantly, new and emerging threats. In its work following the Chicago (2012) and the Wales Summits (2014), the Alliance identified 21 shortfalls which are considered the most urgent to remedy to achieve the operational capability and capacity needed to combat these threats.
Industry normally competes and cooperates nationally and internationally as markets and national policies demand. To stimulate, facilitate and enhance Technology and Industrial Cooperation among Allies and Partners it is important to focus on mechanisms and attractive incentives to generate new opportunities.
Science, Research and Technology lay the foundation for future capabilities. Some exemplary proposals are developed where to concentrate Research and Technology to maintain the edge in NATO’s Joint Air Power.
In conclusion, the essence of these seven independent articles is that they address the key areas of concern and interest, as expressed by the HOS / G at the 2016 Warsaw Summit. The articles provide a coherent package of urgent, short to medium term, Joint Air Power priorities. Taking into account the range of security challenges and threats the Alliance faces, it is time now to put words into practice and ensure that ‘NATO has the full range of capabilities and competencies necessary to deter and defend against potential adversaries and the full spectrum of threats that could confront the Alliance from any direction’. To this end, this Study will be extremely beneficial to the development of NATO’s Joint Air Power Strategy and to improving the Alliance’s Joint Air Power capabilities and competencies.
‘The Role of NATO Joint Air Power in Deterrence and Collective Defence’ – Dr. H. Binnendijk
- Significantly improve the readiness, deployability and sustainability of NATO air forces and bases to effectively deter Russia from invading NATO’s eastern territory.
- Focus NATO Joint Air Power Strategy on the increasingly difficult task
of rapidly gaining air superiority in an Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2 / AD) environment.
- Concentrate a new NATO Joint Air Power Strategy on efforts to maximize the ability of NATO / European air forces to operate with declining United States participation.
‘Joint Air Power Priorities, Deterrence and Collective Defence’ – General (ret.) F. Gorenc
- Meet the 2014 Wales Summit Defence Investment Pledge (DIP).
- Establish a standing, fully functional Air Operations Centre (AOC) with a fully manned Peacetime Establishment (PE) and Joint Force Air Component (JFAC). As a minimum, establish a standing and fully manned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division (ISRD) within NATO Allied Air Command HQs.
- Replace Air Policing with Air Defence as the NATO standing peacetime mission.
- Develop a strategic Indication and Warning (I&W) System.
- Stand up a NATO Command Structure (NCS) Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (PED) Centre with a fully trained PE.
‘Joint Air Power Following the Warsaw Summit Urgent Priorities’ Action Plan – Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) and Air Command and C2’ – Lieutenant General (ret.) F. Ploeger
- Create a multinational JISR unit to complement the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS)-based capabilities.
- Increase the availability of sufficiently trained and experienced personnel for all JISR related elements in the NCS and the JISR network.
- All NATO nations should truly commit to mutual information and intelligence sharing according to the new tenet of a ‘responsibility-to-share’, avoid over-classification, and apply the ‘need-to-know’ principle only when really necessary.
- Nations should provide to NATO the required number of sufficiently trained and experienced personnel in all specializations and for all JFAC divisions, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR), Cyber and Space.
- Resolve doctrinal issues by adapting the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) Concept / the Air C2 Concept of Operations (CONOPS).
- Develop challenging training and exercises for all Air C2-levels.
- Invest as necessary in the rapid completion of the prolonged conversion to modern C2-systems (NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) and NATO Air Command and Control and Information Services (AirC2IS).
- Provide a ‘Cyber Awareness Capability’ at Allied Air Command Ramstein.
‘Missile Defence in NATO – Towards a Coherent and Effective Surface Based Air and Missile Defence (SBAMD) as a Key Pillar of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System’ – Lieutenant General (ret.) F. H. Meulman
- Broaden the knowledge and experience of NATO leadership at all levels in the SBAMD / IAMD-domain.
- Optimize and enhance SBAMD / IAMD- ETEE.
- Set overall conditions and begin the process of overhauling the connectivity and interoperability throughout the NATINAMDS system.
Remedy the specified priority 1 and 2 requirements as a matter of urgency.
- Conduct an integral assessment of existing SBAMD / IAMD shortfalls and validate the effectiveness at all levels of NATINAMDS. On the basis of the findings, action must be taken in direct cooperation with the SBAMD / IAMD community in NATO.
‘Hybrid Warfare and Resilience’ – Lieutenant General (ret.) F. H. Meulman and Lieutenant General (ret.) P. Preziosa
- Clarify the concept of NATO’s Joint Air Power Strategy and Doctrine, the applicable Rules of Engagement (RoE), and the legal constraints and restraints for NATO Joint Air Power effectiveness in countering the full spectrum of hybrid threats.
- Enhance existing air surveillance and control capabilities and implement radar technology thresholds for detecting, tracking and identifying the full range of hybrid aerial threats.
- Establish in the organization of Joint Forces Commands a well-educated, trained, exercised and validated Air Advisory Support Team (AAST) that will act as a knowledge centre for the effective use of NATO Joint Air Power in a hybrid air attack situation in peacetime. This AAST to be able to transform into a Hybrid Threat Coordination Cell in a situation where Article V is invoked (Hybrid Warfare situation).
- Remedy the specified priority 1 and 2 requirements as a matter of urgency.
‘Alliance and Partnership Cooperation; Bridging Mutual Joint Air Power Interests’ – Lieutenant General (ret.) F. H. Meulman
- Strengthen NATO Allied Air Command 24 / 7 C2 Element that supports Commander Allied Air Command in providing accurate and timely situational awareness of political and military developments around the immediate periphery of Europe as well as an overview of current events in the airspace over NATO / Europe.
- Increase NATO member states’ involvement, in particular NATO / European member states, in NATO Joint Air Power.
- Develop a multinational NATO Air Warfighting Centre. Starting on the basis of the Framework Nation Concept would allow a NATO Air Warfighting Centre to gradually develop into a practical hub for NATO Joint Air Power Education, Training, Exercising and Evaluation activities.
- Remedy the specified requirements with a priority 1 and 2 as a matter
Military Partnership Cooperation:
- Develop a deeper security partnership by providing tailor made individual country Joint Air Power packages for the Enhanced and GCC-partners.
- Increase operational partnership cooperation. Priorities must be assigned to specific areas where operational cooperation between NATO and its Enhanced and GCC-partners can be initiated quickly and then gradually developed. Special attention should be focused on Finland and Sweden.
- Develop Partnership Air Groups based on NATO’s Framework Nation Concept with a lead nation that creates an information based and practice-oriented Air Group organization that plans and organizes commonly agreed Joint Air Power activities on a yearly basis.
- Remedy the specified options and recommendations with a priority
1 and 2 as a matter of urgency.
‘Industrial and Technology Cooperation’ – Lieutenant General (ret.) F. Ploeger and Lieutenant General (ret.) P. Preziosa
- The Framework Nation Concept is the optimal choice as it offers the best environment and prospects for close cooperation between allied and partner forces and industry.
- A prioritized list should help Allied and partner countries to better identify areas for technological and industrial cooperation.
- Concentrate cooperative research and technology for Joint Air Power Capabilities (JAPC) in areas vital to successfully operate in a hybrid / contested environment.
- Open standards should be used as tools to stimulate innovation and new ideas.
- NATO should intensify cooperation with the EU and develop instruments to make cooperation among industrial partners more attractive.