The JAPCC Conference 2013
Air Power Post Afghanistan
The 2013 JAPCC Conference was held between 8th and 10th of October in Kleve, Germany. It explored the consequences for air power in the wake of operations in Afghanistan and the geo-political setting of the second decade of the 21st Century.
These Proceedings consolidate the key note addresses, panel discussions and audience comments to form a summary reference of the event and offer pointers for future consideration and development. The document does not record the minutes of the Conference, rather it highlights the major themes, drawing together thoughts and ideas from all elements of the Conference that were relevant to the main areas of discussion and debate. JAPCC is solely responsible for the written content, but in the spirit of Chatham House Rules, no statements, opinions or ideas are attributed to any particular individual.
The Conference reflected on the air power aspects of over 12 years of operations in Afghanistan; a mission that had evolved significantly during that time in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9 / 11. Several distinct phases could be identified that demanded differing requirements from air power, and other operations, not directly linked to Afghanistan, but equally important in shaping perceptions of the utility of air power, exerted telling influence on the challenges that airmen faced. Against this complex backdrop the Conference debated the initial conclusions that might be drawn from this decade of continual combat operations – itself a unique situation for NATO.
Despite the desire of some, the key determinant of air power’s applicability to future crisis and conflict scenarios would not be what the airman thought but what the politicians and policy makers concluded from their experience and deliberations. The Conference reinforced this point several times and it is right that it forms the first part of this work before the military aspects of recent operations are considered.