Joint Air & Space Power Conference 2021
Delivering NATO Air & Space Power at the Speed of Relevance
Conference Read Ahead
The Executive Director’s Closing Remarks
By Lt Gen Klaus Habersetzer, GE Air Force, Executive Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre
It is my hope that the individual papers provided in our Conference Read Ahead have been thought-provoking and illuminating. Our goal is to inspire and elicit discussion during our upcoming conference concerning the role of Joint Air and Space Power in NATO. As the Executive Director of the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), I wanted to take this opportunity to offer my perspective and underscore some elements of the theme of this year’s conference focused on Delivering NATO Air & Space Power at the Speed of Relevance.
In the summer of 2020, when we were first developing the theme for the 2021 Conference, we were uncertain as to the lasting impact of the ongoing global pandemic. The challenges associated with COVID-19 have expedited the development and use of new ways to execute missions on behalf of the Alliance in ways previously not considered or even possible.
With a growth in NATO’s mission set and the return of what is being referred to as great power competition, the necessity to harmonize NATO policy and strategy is more important than ever. The increased use of information age capabilities allows threats to reach the Alliance from around the world. This new reality in no way reduces traditional threats from peer and near-peer competitors, to the contrary, it exacerbates the potential risks. The Alliance continue to find a balanced approach to meet any challenge, which starts with fostering consensus and providing clear guidance to the member nations.
Once the strategic guidance is provided, NATO military forces must be prepared and equipped to communicate and operate across the operational domains. Adversaries will seek to limit NATO’s ability to respond to threats, and so NATO must be ready to execute decision-making process in a dynamic targeting environment. This ability will rely heavily upon new technological capabilities, empowered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, coupled with innovative approaches to command and control across all domains.
And it is not only the technologies which are ever-expanding, but also NATO’s reach. In late 2019 NATO recognized Space as its fifth operational domain. As NATO seeks to establish its intent and explore opportunities derived from Space, the Alliance Nations are also increasing their focus outside of Earth’s Atmosphere. As the nations organize and re-organize their capabilities and approaches to Space, NATO must also adapt its ability to coordinate with the nations to maximize Space support to NATO operations. This will include not only a growth of appreciation and understanding for Space capabilities within NATO, but also potentially an increase in Space professional personnel and an expansion of mission and roles within NATO organizations.
From the strategic- to the tactical level of operations, across all domains, the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) is crucial to all modern military operations. The ability to utilize the EMS in a contested and congested battlefield requires Electronic Warfare (EW) to both attack adversary capabilities and protect Alliance forces and missions. While all NATO forces utilize the EMS, none are perhaps more reliant on the EMS than those associated with Cyberspace operations. Understanding how NATO can utilize EW to exploit the EMS and ensure operations across domains is a critical capability, one which NATO ignored for too long and is only now beginning to reconsider in earnest.
The themes covered in these papers are certainly not all-inclusive, but they represent the most inclusive and comprehensive JAPCC Conference Read Ahead ever published. The collected papers, all originally written for this collection, are from military and civilian service members, academic and civilian think thanks, and our industry partners from around the globe, which includes authors from action officers to senior leaders. I invite you to visit our conference website to further explore details regarding the panels, the topics, themes, and the registration process for this year’s conference: https://www.japcc.org/conference/.
In closing, I hope you were inspired by the reading and that it serves as a call to action as we collectively strive for the positive transformation of NATO Air and Space Power. We hope that by exposing our readers to a mix of ideas and opinions the collection of papers will be a catalyst for debate that will help shape the future of NATO Air and Space Power. There is much work to be done to ensure NATO can respond at the speed of relevance to deliver Air and Space Power in support of its operations. Your thoughts, insights and perspectives on these topics are welcome and encouraged as an essential element of our discussion.
I sincerely hope to see you this fall in Essen!
Lieutenant General, GE AF
Executive Director, JAPCC