‘The study shows the crucial importance of NATO Joint Air Power for Deterrence and Defence. Precisely and without any sugar-coating it shows present shortfalls and future requirements. Of special importance are Hybrid Air Threats and Alliance and Partnership cooperation and capability and competency development with immediate attention to enhancing cooperation in the operation domain.’
Volker Rühe, former German Minister of Defence (1992–1998)
‘NATO is currently developing a new Airpower strategy to meet the formidable challenges facing the Alliance in the 21st Century. This important volume will provide vital input for that new NATO strategy. This study recommends multiple ways to improve NATO airpower to strengthen both deterrence and defense of Alliance territory. A must read for all those interested in NATO affairs.’
Admiral (ret.) James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2009–2013)
‘NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit took important steps to strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence posture against an aggressive Russia. This study highlights the critical role of air power to the credibility of deterrence. It offers timely recommendations on the capabilities and robust command-and-control arrangements needed to ensure NATO air supremacy in the 21st century.’
Alexander Vershbow, former NATO Deputy Secretary General (2012–2016)
‘In light of the fiscal balance challenges present across the alliance, we must both maximize the interoperability of our people and systems, as well as the integration across the priorities highlighted in this study. As we develop new capabilities to address future challenges, this paper will inform member nations and contribute to the discussions in shaping the refreshed Joint Air Power Strategy.’
David L. Goldfein, General US AF, Chief of Staff
‘Today’s security situation challenges the air forces across the entire spectrum of their capabilities. Well-equipped, adjustable and interoperable air forces with their particular range, precision and flexibility provide credible first choice options to response to rapidly developing security challenges wherever they may occur. This paper marks an important step into a new age of Air Power: With this study we have a plan, a vision and a way forward to tackle the challenges of this century as a united NATO air force.’
Karl Müllner, Lieutenant General, Chief of German Air Force
‘This paper provides an overdue and clear contemporary focus on NATO air power requirements. Although not representing NATO policy, the authors’ perspectives cannot be overstated, if the Alliance is going to be capable of true deterrence and agile military response.’
Michael J. Hood, Lieutenant General, Royal Canadian Air Force Commander
‘Whether it is enhancing deterrence to the East or conducting counter-terrorist operations to the South, NATO increasingly relies on airpower to deliver rapid and precise responses to complex challenges. The Alliance’s Joint Air Power Competence Centre has sponsored this excellent white paper produced by outside experts which analyzes NATO airpower and suggests several practical ways to improve an already outstanding capability. NATO leaders should study this volume as the Alliance develops its new airpower strategy.’
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former NATO Secretary General (2004 –2009)
‘The present study of the JAPCC is helpful, worth reading and considering, since it shows essential elements and weaknesses of the Alliance’s military force and its nations and makes concrete proposals for overcoming deficits. I believe that the proposals are well suited to enriching national and internal defence planning processes and should be included in their respective work by political decision-makers, military and civil planners. I would like to see the study reach a large audience of readers, beyond the professional public, and thus contribute to improving the overall situation.’
Karl-Heinz Lather, former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (2007 –2010)
‘Given the changing international threat situation, it is important to be able to rely on ones allies. But many individual players do not automatically lead to joint success. In particular, the European member states of NATO must pool their capabilities in order to improve them. Increased defence spending is necessary to ensure a fairer distribution of the burden within the alliance. The White Paper provides an important basis for discussion on closer cooperation between the NATO countries in the field of collective air defence.’
Dr. Hans-Peter Bartels, Parliamentary Commissioner for the German Armed Forces
Joint Air Power Following the 2016 Warsaw Summit
by Lieutenant General Joachim Wundrak, DEU AF, Executive Director JAPCC
NATO is facing an increasingly diverse, unpredictable and demanding security environment, ‘an arc of insecurity and instability along NATO’s periphery and beyond’.1 In recent times this has led to a range of steps by NATO to reinforce its collective defence, enhance its capabilities, and strengthen its resilience. NATO has committed itself to provide its armed forces with sufficient and sustained resources, thereby underlining its stated strategic intent that ‘NATO’s essential mission is unchanged and that NATO will ensure that it has the full range of capabilities necessary to fulfil the whole range of Alliance missions, including to deter and defend against potential adversaries, and the full spectrum of threats that could confront the Alliance from any direction’.
NATO’s Joint Air Power forms an essential part of this set of necessary capabilities and competencies. Since the end of the Cold War, we have witnessed an increase in NATO’s use of Joint Air Power, providing NATO and national leaders with a tool of unmatched responsiveness and flexibility.
Despite the strategic and operational importance of Joint Air Power, NATO nations, unfortunately, have drastically reduced their air power capabilities in recent years to the extent that there is a sincere risk that NATO will not have the required Joint Air Power capabilities and competencies to support the whole spectrum of Alliance operations and missions. This existing Joint Air Power problem, in conjunction with the changing international security situation on the periphery of NATO, has reinforced the need for the Alliance and its Member States to urgently address the shortfalls in the field of NATO Joint Air Power capabilities and competencies.
In 2014, the JAPCC completed the Future Vector Project, identifying viable options and realistic solutions to chart the path to guarantee that both Joint Air Power and assured access to relevant space-based data and information continues to contribute to the success of NATO and its Member States. Through a series of essays, a team of acknowledged experts in security and defence policy provided an extensive and balanced perspective including a broad range of recommendations.
During the 2014 Wales Summit, Heads of State and Government (HOS / G) stated that ‘… NATO joint air power capabilities require longer-term consideration’. Since then, NATO has taken specific steps to address this issue. One of the steps taken was a specific task to the Strategic Commands (SCs), with ACT in the lead, to provide recommendations for a long-term approach that will inform the future development of joint air power while also identifying the medium to long term Joint Air Power capability requirements that could be included in the context of the NATO Defence Planning Process. The Bilateral Strategic Command (BI-SC) final report on Joint Air Power Capabilities (JAPC), encompassing a broad range of recommendations, was presented to NATO in Brussels in December 2015. The report concluded that ‘Joint Air Power will continue to be a vital, often first called upon capability for the Alliance’2 to achieve its desired aims.
The Warsaw Summit Communiqué is the most current expression by the HOS / G of NATO of key security concerns and focus areas. It re-emphasized the need for the Alliance and its Member States to address shortfalls in essential capabilities and competencies. It is critical not to lose the momentum, and to further bring into focus the essence and intent of both the Communiqué and the outcome of other recent Joint Air Power studies.
Therefore, HQ SACT commissioned JAPCC to conduct the study ‘Joint Air Power following the 2016 Warsaw Summit – Urgent Priorities’ to provide 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. This study will contribute to the discussion of required capabilities and competencies as part of the NATO Joint Air Power Strategy currently being drafted under the leadership of ACT.
I strongly encourage you to read this publication as it offers ideas and potential solutions to enhance NATO’s Joint Air Power. Considering the current security challenges and threats, it’s now time to act to guarantee that Joint Air Power in NATO is sufficiently available and fit for purpose when most needed in NATO, anywhere, anytime.Joachim WundrakLieutenant General, DEU AF / Executive Director, JAPCC / Project Leader