Given the strategic nature of airbases and the vulnerability of most, if not all of the assets grouped on them, it is apparent that the methods of protecting them will have to become much better. As a key component, this process will require dedicated, air-minded Force Protection (FP) forces that are specifically trained and organised for the task.
The following Proceedings consolidate significant points from the keynote addresses, the panel discussions and attendee contributions to form a summary reference of the event and to highlight areas for future consideration and development. The document does not record the minutes of the Conference; rather, it highlights the major themes and draws together thoughts and ideas from all elements of the Conference. For a fuller understanding of the topic, readers are encouraged to read these Proceedings in conjunction with the previously published Conference Read Ahead material. In the spirit of the Chatham House Rule, no statements, opinions or ideas are attributed to any particular individual within this record.
One method of quickly employing ground forces is through airmobile operations. When airmobile forces are employed by helicopter, part of their equipment is transported as an Underslung Load (USL) underneath the helicopter. For NATO forces to operate in a combined manner, it is essential that the equipment of one nation be transportable by the helicopters of another nation. Although Helicopter Underslung Load Equipment (HUSLE) and helicopter USL standards are available and approved in NATO, interoperability appears to be limited.
As a vital component in the projection of Air Power, Cyberspace has surpassed its mark as an enabler, now recognized as not only critical to mission assurance but a Domain of operations in itself. Consequently, it is critical that the systems operating in Cyberspace be secure, reliable and available and establishing these criteria by employing defensive measures alone may be insufficient.
NATO is facing an increasingly diverse, unpredictable and demanding security environment, ‘an arc of insecurity and instability along NATO’s periphery and beyond’. 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’.
Network technology is expanding at an exponential rate. As technology improves, effectively unlimited connectivity is no longer strictly a future concept; however, combined decision-making and data sharing processes (or maybe ‘protocols’) are not evolving at the same speed as technology. Machines will boost communication in a networked environment to levels yet to be determined. This will require nations and the Alliance to alter current communication patterns.
It is our great pleasure to present the 24th Edition of the JAPCC Journal. A prominent theme permeating this journal is the significance of the Joint Strike Fighter arriving in many NATO Allies’ national forces. Starting off, Major General Max A. L. T. Nielsen, the Danish Air Chief, provides us his perspective on the unprecedented potential of the F-35 and the challenge of developing Tactics, Techniques & Procedures to fully exploit its 5th generation capabilities in a system of systems with 4th generation aircraft that will remain widely in service. This is a capability that is going to truly transform the way NATO air power is employed across all domains including space and via cyber.
In military operations over the last twenty years, air power has repeatedly proven to be NATO’s great asymmetric advantage. Air power’s ability to accurately strike targets, support troops on the ground, provide accurate and timely intelligence, and transport troops, equipment and supplies over vast distances give NATO an incomparable advantage against its enemies. Moreover, in a crisis, it is air power that is the first responder due to its ability to react quickly and with precision. Yet, it is air power’s very success that makes it the main target for information warfare waged against NATO. In this information battle waged by NATO’s opponents, disinformation is a primary weapon and air power is a primary target.
During the Cold War, there was arguably far greater discussion of – and understanding of – the theory of deterrence, with nuclear deterrence being well studied and grasped by senior military and political leaders. Over recent decades, which have seen NATO’s involvement in expeditionary, out of area operations, it could be argued that ‘deterrence’ is an area where understanding has waned. Are the constituent parts of an effective deterrent posture well enough understood by senior political leaders, most of whom lack the previous military experience of their forebears? Can we really deter non-state actors? Does effective deterrence rely on one’s potential adversary possessing a degree of rationality? What if such rationality is absent? What does all this mean for joint air power and the air capabilities that NATO should be focussing on in both the short and longer term?
We are very pleased to present the Annual Report of the JAPCC for 2016. We must praise the quality and dedication of the personnel contributed by our Sponsoring Nations to the JAPCC team. The very high standard of work they delivered has allowed the JAPCC to influence the development and transformation of NATO Joint Air and Space Power through a wide range of activities.