“To conquer the command of the air means victory; to be beaten in the air means defeat.”
General Giulio Douhet, 1921
Whilst I am sure this edition provides something for all those with an interest in Air and Space matters, it unashamedly focuses on the challenge first articulated by Gen Douhet of assuring access to our environment and the perils of failing in that fundamental task.
Indeed, NATO’s burgeoning expeditionary posture makes it evermore critical that we can manoeuvre freely in the 3rd dimension. Air & Space provides a vital line of communication for both the movement of materiel and information and, therefore, must be protected if we are to even reach the starting line in fulfilling our goals. But it doesn’t end there – countless operations have highlighted the advantages of dominating the Air environment and, as a number of articles in this edition point out, Space is rapidly reaching, if not already at, a similar point.
We are also discovering in contemporary operations that creating a favourable situation in the Air doesn’t end with driving competitors from the sky. With that in mind, I am most grateful to a number of authors for looking at this issue through a wider lens; the articles on Air Basing, Air and CIMIC and Air Law all add to what is a most timely dialogue.
I am pleased to reintroduce our “Chiefs’ Perspective” series and am grateful to Gen Tömböl for providing his views on the challenges faced by both Hungary and its Air Force. Elsewhere, we have provided a long overdue insight into AAR initiatives, along with a challenge from Maj Gen Schmidt, Commander NAEWF, to look long and hard at how we utilise the new possibilities embedded on that long standing co-operative venture. Following on from this, I commend to you the ‘Out of the Box’ article, which builds on our last edition and provides genuine food for thought on how we ensure we get the very best from all NATO common ventures in the future.
Air Commodore, UK AF
Assistant Director Transformation, JAPCC