It is my great privilege and pleasure to act as the moderator once again for the Joint Air Power Competence Centre’s (JAPCC) annual conference, which will take place over the period 10–12 October 2017 in Essen, Germany. The theme for this year’s Conference is:
‘The Role of Joint Air Power in NATO Deterrence’
The issue of deterrence was raised extensively in the previous two JAPCC conferences, both in the context of strategic communications and with regard to NATO’s ability to operate in a degraded environment. It is therefore entirely appropriate that this year’s Conference has been dedicated to deterrence and, specifically, to consider the role of joint air power in delivering deterrent effect.
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?
In the pursuit of answers to these sorts of questions and in preparation for the upcoming Conference, the JAPCC offers the following food-for-thought papers for your consideration. Designed to provoke thought and incite debate, the previously published essays are written by leading thinkers from the military and academia. In seeking to address the role of joint air power in NATO deterrence, the JAPCC staff has assembled a tremendous multinational team of distinguished speakers and panellists for this year’s Conference. As always, the JAPCC hopes that this Conference will act as a catalyst for important debate which will help shape thinking regarding the future development of effective joint air power. This is your opportunity to contribute!
I very much hope you will join us at Essen in October for what promises to be a fascinating and important 2 days.
Air Commodore (ret.), UK AF