‘I estimate that, without Air & Space (A&S) Power, 500,000 to 600,000 troops would be needed in Afghanistan to achieve the same effects as the 40,000 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen we have there today. A&S Power provides the asymmetric advantage over the Taliban such that no matter where they choose to fight, coalition forces can bring to bear overwhelming firepower in a matter of minutes.’
Lieutenant General EIKENBERRY, U.S. Army, 2008
Whilst the numbers in the above quote may warrant revisiting, the basic tenet does not – A&S Power judicially applied can have a profound effect and provides western powers with their very own asymmetric advantage. Indeed, it might be argued that we have contributed to the complex character of contemporary operations by driving competitors from the skies. Against that backdrop, and with our 2010 Conference in mind, we have dedicated this edition to the ‘Roles and Challenges of A&S Power in Contemporary Operations’ and I have been delighted with the contributions that have explored a challenging theme from many angles.
Sadly, one of our leading articles is an interview with the late-Polish Air Chief, General Blasik – I would like to thank Poland for its permission to print this article despite the tragic circumstances and take this opportunity to pass on our heartfelt sympathy to our Polish colleagues everywhere as they work through this most trying of times.
Elsewhere, I would like to thank General Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation for his fascinating insight into the challenges he faces taking forward NATO’s transformation. Moreover, having set the scene at the highest level, we have also been fortunate enough to get first-hand inputs from high profile contemporary operations. Fresh from ACCE duties in ISAF, Air Cdre Teakle provides a candid view on how A&S is contributing to Afghan operations, an effort that is likely to significantly shape NATO’s expeditionary future. The author replaces me at the JAPCC in May and we are most grateful for this opening gambit.
Afghanistan should not, however, be our sole focus and I am pleased that other contemporary and emerging operations – some closer to home – also get a good airing. We are particularly keen to encourage further debate on Missile Defence, which along with the continued development of Air Policing is sure to feature more and more prominently on the A&S radar. Similarly, I am grateful for the exploration of the benefits that A&S could bring to Counter Piracy. I note from the article that NATO force generation provided no MPA contributions for Counter Piracy – this should not perhaps be unexpected, given the seemingly relentless reduction in Alliance MPA over the past decade. In this vein, I also plead guilty to ‘editorial privilege’ in choosing the front cover – I hope you will all forgive me marking the retirement of the aircraft on which I spent my entire flying career!
All in all, then, a wide selection of articles to whet your appetite for our upcoming 2010 Conference (see page 66). I hope you all enjoy this edition and the JAPCC looks forward to seeing you in Kleve in Oct. I have enjoyed immensely editing the JAPCC Journal over the past 3 years, but all good things must come to an end.
Over and Out.
Air Commodore, UK AF
Assistant Director Transformation, JAPCC