Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on 24th February and the ongoing crimes committed against that sovereign state and its population are the defining geopolitical event of 2022. While NATO’s focus was under debate in 2021, the issue has since crystallized. Member states have moved closer together with renewed vigour and focus. Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO and national defence budgets are on the rise. The west debated the consequences of our possible reactions at every level. So, what does NATO’s new normal look like? It certainly includes a drive for improved readiness and interoperability, not only within the Alliance but also between NATO and the industry. Large-scale exercises with shorter preparation times will also be key. For Air Forces, it is particularly important to improve our ability to gain and maintain Air Superiority and provide Integrated Air and Missile Defence. The JAPCC will continue to generate innovative ideas to drive capability development, readiness goals, and methods to achieve them.
This edition of the Annual Report summarizes the key developments, projects, and research, the JAPCC accomplished in 2022 and provides a glimpse into the work we will perform across the Air and Space domains for 2023 and the years to come. The studies and articles published over the last year are once again a testimony of the JAPCC’s high level of performance, current with the times. The study ‘Future Approaches to Red Air Delivery in NATO Air Forces in 5th Generation Fighter Training’, for example, addresses the necessary adaptation from conventional Red Air training models in the context of changing requirements and tightening force structure. The ‘Red Air’ paper proposes we meet these challenges with the establishment of a new international Red Air Standards Division and, ideally, a dedicated Red Air Force. The paper on ‘National Military Space Operations Centres’ focuses on the structural and procedural requirements of future (or planned) National Space Operations Centres. Nationally owned and operated operations centres should be designed with interoperability in mind from the start. This is essential for NATO member states’ ability to collect and share space-based information at the speed of relevance, not to mention providing resiliency and redundancy.
From 11 to 13 October 2022, we held with great success our annual JAPCC Conference, themed ‘Enhancing NATO Air and Space Power in an Age of Global Competition’. Senior military, industry, and academia representatives exchanged ideas on Air and Space Power-related challenges and requirements for future joint military operations. Our winter journal edition contains a thorough summary of their invaluable insights.
In line with our mission as catalyst for the transformation of NATO Joint Air and Space Power, we will continue to develop innovative ideas and future solutions in 2023. The ‘Resilient Basing Workbook’ – which I encourage national Air Force staffs to complete by mid-2023 – will lead to the Resilient Basing Enhancement White Paper in the autumn of 2023. This project is in response to the NAC’s request from the 2022 NATO Summit to boost NATO’s resilience to current and projected threats and strengthen overall interoperability. Not only will participants contribute to a holistic understanding of NATO resilience, the process will undoubtedly lead to increased national resilience.
In closing, I would like to thank our Sponsoring Nations for their great support during the past year. I would also like to encourage other nations not currently participating in the JAPCC to strongly consider an active role as a Sponsor or Contributing Nation. Your presence in the JAPCC provides access to a unique network of experts in the Air and Space domains and allows members to contribute to work that influences decision-making at the highest levels in our Alliance. With that in mind, I commend this 2022 JAPCC Annual Report to you. I trust you will find it relevant to your nation or organization. Feel free to contact us with questions, feedback, or requests for support at any time.
James B. Hecker
General, US AF