‘Air is our strategic advantage but can become a strategic vulnerability if not employed with restraint and precision’
Gen Stanley McChrystal, COM ISAF in a letter to Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff on 24 Aug 2009.
There can be a tendency amongst airmen to believe that only they truly understand Air Power, yet these words show that our senior joint commanders comprehend both its value and its limitations.
Air Power is fundamental to ISAF campaign design; in their article, Gen Both and Col Jinnette describe the contribution of CAS and suggest that role realignment might better utilise platform versatility. In addition to ends and means, we must look at the ways; do we really still need to predominantly operate in pairs?
Unsurprisingly, examples from Afghanistan pepper this edition, including Wg Cdr Parkinson’s article on the criticality of cultural understanding and Maj Peterson’s examination of the parlous state of NATO expeditionary logistics. Yet, the picture is not entirely bleak as explained by Col Zazworsky in his article on Strategic Airlift Capability.
Given its primacy in the media, one might think ISAF is the only game in town. In LCDR Ehredt’s article, he reminds readers of the strategic relevance of piracy to NATO in the face of limited and decreasing maritime air assets. Also on the maritime theme, Rear Admiral Treu illuminates the special relationship between naval aviators and their environments.
In the first of two space articles, Air Cdre van Hoof and Lt Col Single argue for investment in education; in the second, weaknesses in our current approach are exposed. This preparedness thread continues in Lt Col Delorey’s fascinating article on cyberspace, where he asks ‘Is NATO ready for Cyberwar?’, and in Col Bickley’s thought-provoking article on future threats to the Alliance. Future perspectives must be informed by the past and Wg Cdr Stansby urges us to tread cautiously in his article on Military History.
I am indebted to Lt Gen Meulman for his article on the contemporary issue of the Missile Defence Challenges for NATO – the Lisbon Summit may hold some keen insight. Finally, we are extremely privileged to have an interview with Gen Aksay, COM TURAF, who provides a fascinating insight into the past, present and future of one of the world’s oldest air forces.
Air Commodore, UK AF
Assistant Director Transformation, JAPCC