3rd May, 2011
An Air Force Strategic Vision for 2020-2030
by GEN John A. Shaud, USAF, Retired and Adam B. Lowther
Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2011, Vol 5 No. 1
This article seeks to stimulate a discussion concerning the United States Air Force's (USAF) future strategic focus by addressing a single question: What critical capabilities will America require of the USAF by 2030? In order to answer this question, the [US] Air Force Research Institute (ARFI) analysed the following factors: national interests; economic, demographic, and technological trends; defence scenarios spanning the strategic planning space; and Air Force capabilities required to meet future strategic challenges. This analysis suggested that the USAF should focus on five critical capabilities: power projection; freedom of action in air, space, and cyberspace; global situational awareness; air diplomacy; and military support to civil authorities. The authors note that articulation of a clear rationale for investing in air power is a persistent challenge for the USAF and other air forces, and they conclude that effective air force strategy development is a key enabler to overcome this challenge.
Abandoning the Temple - John Boyd and Contemporary Strategy
By LTCOL Jason Thomas
Australian Army Journal, Volume VII Number 3
The author of this article argues that the elegant simplicity of the theories and concepts of COL John Boyd conceal a deeper and more profound level of analysis that enables them to be applied broadly in the contemporary security environment. As an example of this broad application, this article is aimed at comparing Boyd's approach to strategy with the US counter-terrorism improvement strategies contained in the 9/11 Commission Report. While the results of this comparison are debatable, there are noteworthy benefits to be found in the review and explanation of Boyd's theories and the consideration of their applicability in the ADF construct.
Global Fighter Jets: Asia, the New Centre of Gravity?
By Richard A. Bitzinger
RSIS Commentaries No. 59/2011
In this short but thought provoking article, the author comments on the changing centre of gravity of the world's fighter aircraft industry. Whereas post-World War II fighter production has been dominated by the US, Russia, the UK, France and Sweden, thoughts are that in the first quarter of the twenty-first century China, India and South Korea will also become players in the 5th generation fighter arena. From Australia's perspective, Indonesia's partnership with Korea in the KF-X programme is a noteworthy example of an emerging Asian challenger to traditional fighter suppliers. While the possibility and the potential effects of a competitive Asian/American duopoly in the fighter market are debatable, consideration of how the world's rising economies may impact the global defence industry and what that might mean for Australia and the ADF are worthy of serious thought.
2010 China National Defense White Paper -- Highlights & Observations
By Goucheng Jiang
The Wright Stuff, Vol. 6, Issue 8, April 14, 2011.
China released its seventh National Defense White Paper on 31 March, 2011. In this short article, Goucheng Jiang, the editor of the Chinese language edition of The Air University's Air & Space Power Journal, identifies the highlights of the new document. He concludes that the latest version provides many meaningful repetitions (eg. stresses a defensive in nature policy), interesting omissions (eg. the concept of the People's War is not included for the first time) and some noticeable new additions (eg. providing a whole chapter on military confidence building). The focus on military confidence building leads Jiang to assess that "China is anxious to calm down outside frustrations about PLA's lack of transparency and to boost the world's trust in its commitment to peaceful development." Given the topical nature of Chinese strategic interests and military capability in the Asia-Pacific, this article provides an informed look at the latest Chinese Defense White Paper.
The 2010 Chinese National Defense White Paper is available online at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-03/31/c_13806851.htm
Air Power Quote
"Air forces offered the possibility of striking at the enemy's economic and moral centres without having first to achieve 'the destruction of the enemy's main forces on the battlefield'. Air-power might attain a direct end by indirect means -- hopping over opposition instead of overthrowing it."
-Sir Basil H. Liddel-Hart (Strategy, 1954).
The renowned military theorist Sir Liddel-Hart, as a proponent of the indirect approach to warfare, recognised the utility of air power in achieving strategic objectives without necessarily attacking fielded military forces directly.
The views expressed in this newsletter and the linked articles are entirely those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Royal Australian Air Force.