“Air power is indivisible. If you split it up into compartments, you merely pull it to pieces and destroy its greatest asset, its flexibility.”
Field Marshal Montgomery
In a journal based around the theme of the upcoming JAPCC Conference – The Role of Air Power in Expeditionary Security and Stability Operations – it is perhaps timely to reflect on Field Marshal Montgomery’s view over half a century ago. Notwithstanding the landcentricity of contemporary operations, it is what Air (and Space) offers as a whole that has the potential to make a difference, rather than the tactical attraction that ‘penny packets’ might provide.
This, the 6th Edition of the JAPCC Journal, covers much ground in this debate and places increasing emphasis on the need for Air to contribute to ‘Effects’ wherever and whenever possible with whatever means we find at our disposal. We start with a fascinating insight, direct from the frontline, on the challenges facing NATO Air in Afghanistan. We then look at a variety of subjects intrinsic to an Effects Based Approach to Operations, which demonstrates conclusively that Air’s contribution goes way beyond the application of kinetic effect. From rebuilding the Iraqi Air Force, through Air’s employment in Information Operations, to an historic reflection on the strategic implications of the Berlin Airlift, we build a picture of how Air can be used effectively in the widest sense. And that perhaps is the key, which is reiterated across this Edition’s other articles – Airmen must constantly look to innovate and challenge established thinking in how the unique capabilities at their disposal can be brought to bear.
Elsewhere in the Journal, I am most grateful to Lt Gen de Jong for providing this Edition’s Air Chief’s View; in addition to providing a privileged insight into developments within the RNLAF, Lt Gen de Jong reinforces the need for Air Forces to embrace transformational change whilst delivering across the spectrum of Joint and Combined operations.
Finally, I commend to you the ‘Out of the Box’ article on the role of Space in today’s operations. As well as raising awareness on the critical enabling capabilities that the outer reaches of the 3rd dimension provide, the article asks some telling questions of NATO policy in this area. The article also marks the opening JAPCC salvo on our theme for the coming year – the contribution of Air and Space to Battlespace Management (BSM) – where we want to explore how BSM is taken forward and the impact it will have as we transform towards a future effects based, networked enabled world.
Air Commodore, UK AF
Assistant Director Transformation, JAPCC