Issue 2011-6
5th July, 2011



Pathfinder 157
What is Cyberspace? Examining its Characteristics

Pathfinder 158
Longest Fighter Intercept in History


Working Paper #31 The Priniciples of War and Air Power

Principles of war are not abstract ideas, but simple and logical tenets that should guide the conduct of all military campaigns. This paper examines the principles of war with a view to establishing their relevance to the application of air power.

Author: Sanu Kainikara
Published: June 2011


At the Critical Juncture

In this book the author analyses the 'outlay' necessary to maintain a balanced full spectrum air force, explains the status of such air forces in the broader security equation, and examines the challenges they face. The author emphasises the necessity for small air forces to be balanced and advocates their future significance by developing the competency to create strategic effects and influence the national security framework.
A close analysis of this book will greatly enhance the professional mastery of all airmen and it is considered a primary source of information for the study of the development of air forces.

Author: Sanu Kainikara
Published: June 2011


Recommended Reading

Air Power in the Mau Mau Conflict - The Government's Chief Weapon
by Stephen Chappell
RUSI Journal, Feb/Mar 2011 Vol. 156 No. 1

Based on the 1952-60 Kenyan Emergency, the author provides an account of the application of air power during this Irregular War against the Mau Mau insurgents and dispels myths and negative reporting regarding the contribution of RAF air assets in the campaign. The article effectively uses Warden's Five-Ring Model to synthesise theory with practice and to draw out some key lessons, including the benefits of the 'softer' application of military air power and its contribution to winning the hearts and minds of the indigenous population. These lessons are relevant to the use of air power in contemporary irregular warfare campaigns.


Strategic Paralysis in Irregular Warfare
By LTCOL (Ret'd) Richard Newton
RAF Air Power Review, Vol 14 Number 1 Spring 2011, pages 35-50

In this article, the author hypothesises that Warden's Five-Ring theory is an effective model appropriate for Irregular Warfare (IW) as well as conventional state-on-state war. While Warden's rings require some modification to apply to IW, he stresses it is the effect Warden advocated, "strategic paralysis", that holds particular relevance to this form of conflict. The examination of the centres of gravity in IW and the adaptation of Warden's established and proven air power strategy to IW in this article is noteworthy.


Air Operations in Israel's War Against Hezbollah - Learning from Lebanon and Getting It Right in Gaza
By Benjamin S. Lambeth
RAND Project Air Force
Report Summary:

The author of this very detailed RAND report refutes unwarranted criticisms of the use of air power and the performance of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah conflict. In order to determine the root causes of why the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) had difficulty translating their assigned national strategic objectives into achievable military objectives, and developing appropriate military strategies, Lambeth chronicles the different stages of the campaign and examines the IDF's thought processes and motives behind each phase of military force escalation. Although the conflict revealed some shortcomings in the IDF's performance related to a lack of high-end joint training in the preceding years, ultimately the campaign suffered because of the unachievable strategic objectives and the unwillingness of Israel's top civilian and military leaders to agree to an early and intense ground war for fear of unacceptable casualty projections. Noting dramatic improvements in the Israel strategy, campaign planning and joint warfare execution during their counteroffensive against Hamas in Gaza in 2008, the author encourages other militaries to learn the true lessons from the IDF experience of these two conflicts.
The full report can be viewed at:


Your system might be at risk—Australia's cyber security
By Dr Andrew Davies
Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

In this article, Andrew Davies, a noted ASPI analyst and former Department of Defence employee, examines the broader national cyber security issue. While it is unfortunate the article does not detail the military role in defending against cyber attacks, it does provide a very good analysis of the wider cyber threat to Australian society. In this respect, its key message is that cyber is a national issue requiring a collective whole-of-nation response. The critical issue for the ADF and thus, the RAAF is to identify appropriate roles in this context. In other words, to what extent should the RAAF develop cyber capabilities within the construct of a whole-of-nation response to cyber security?


Air Power Quote

"Hitler built a fortress around Europe, but he forgot to put a roof on it."

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

This simple but poignant quote refers to the strategic value of air power.  While physical, terrestrial obstacles can impede the application of surface-based military power, the key characteristics of perspective, reach and penetration, enable air power to directly target an adversary’s centres of gravity.


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.

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