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.
It is my great pleasure to present you the 23rd Edition of the JAPCC Journal. Themes that permeated the JAPCC’s program of work throughout 2016 include: challenges posed by contemporary and prospective threat environments, the future role of air and space power, and the requirements for developing modern, efficient, interoperable capabilities to include the associated education and training. This range of issues is well reflected in the broad selection of essays provided by external and internal subject matter experts for this Journal issue.
This JAPCC study examines the current status of interoperability and the multinational training opportunities across Europe. Our intent in this update is to provide a comprehensive reference manual for basic and advanced training opportunities available to Alliance mobility forces. Interoperability is the name of the game with regard to global operations and this certainly applies to Air Transport within NATO. From local exercises to sustained expeditionary operations, the ability of nations to work with each other with minimal or even no barriers is paramount. While being constantly sought after, interoperability is still not a standard and the nations must continue to work to make it so.
The 2016 Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) Conference was held between 4th and 6th October in Essen, Germany. It considered whether NATO’s employment of airpower over the past two decades in operations where environmental conditions have been neither contested nor congested had resulted in a reduced level of preparedness – both doctrinally and in terms of training – for alliance air power to be utilised optimally in a degraded environment.
The level of automation built into unmanned systems has not only increased significantly, but has also reached a level of sophistication at which they are seemingly capable of performing many tasks ‘autonomously’ and with no necessity for direct human supervision. The study provides a brief overview of the current state of technology in the field of system automation and looks at possible future developments. The study outlines the legal requirements a highly automated unmanned system has to meet if NATO nations seeks to introduce this kind of technology and wants to comply with International Humanitarian Law.