5th October, 2011
The 2011 RAAF History Conference – 90 Years of the RAAF
Friday 4th November 2011
The 2011 RAAF History Conference will be held on Friday 4 November 2011, in the Bradman Theatre of the National Convention Centre, Canberra. The theme of this year’s conference is 'Evolving the Air Force – 90 years of the RAAF'. As this is the last official event marking the RAAF’s 90th Anniversary year, the conference provides an excellent opportunity for RAAF personnel, past and present, along with ADF members, Defence employees and members of the general public, to examine the evolution of the Air Force from its inception in 1921 to the present, with a forward look at its likely future.
The South China Sea Is the Future of Conflict
by Robert D. Kaplan
Foreign Policy Magazine, Sep/Oct 2011
Due to its strategic location, the vast energy reserves it contains and the long-standing territorial disputes that exist among the countries on its periphery, the author views the South China Sea as the centre of future conflict. Driven by China’s economic rise and military modernisation the balance of power is shifting in the Western Pacific, and Robert Kaplan uses this article to explore the competing national interests at play in this region, including those of Australia. While he does not imply that armed conflict in the South China Sea is inevitable, he does state that the application of hard power in the Western Pacific will undoubtedly be naval centric (although he uses “naval” in a broad sense that includes elements of both sea and air power). This article provides a well presented perspective of the national and military strategic implications of the changing balance of power in this region, which is of particular interest to Australia.
Information Strategy - The Missing Link
By LTCOL Hans F. Palaoro, USAF
Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 59, 4th Quarter 2010
To achieve success in any conflict requires achieving one of two outcomes: the adversary’s behaviour changes to accord with your desired endstate, or further coordinated resistance by your adversary is impossible. LTCOL Hans Palaoro argues that all information operations (IO) must be correlated to achieve one of these two ends. Palaoro places the means of IO into two sets: hard tools (those capabilities that can constitute acts of war such as computer network attack) and soft tools (non-acts of war such as military deception and strategic communication). Palaoro’s model of using soft tools to influence and hard tools to disrupt provides an effective framework to develop an information strategy along ways, ends and means. Information is a key element of national and military power and a coherent information strategy must be a core element of any campaign.
Cyberwar as a Confidence Game
By Martin C. Libicki
Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2011
In this article, Martin Libicki argues that while the threat of a cyberwar may be real, relating a cyberwar to a physical conflict is not an “apples versus apples” comparison. Recognising that a cyber attack could be expensive and disruptive at the strategic level, in the longer term it would likely have far fewer lasting consequences than a kinetic conventional or nuclear strike. Additionally, Libicki argues that the real impact of a cyber attack would not be fear of survival, but rather uncertainty and lack of confidence in the information systems that society and the military rely on. Conversely, the greater the confidence in one’s cyber warfare skills, the more uncertainty and doubt can be placed in the adversary’s mind as to the reliability of their information.
Think Again: War
By Joshua S. Goldstein
Foreign Policy Magazine, Sep/Oct 2011
Goldstein provides this short, thought provoking article that addresses the public’s perception of trends in conflict and war. The common impression that today’s global security environment is increasingly violent and conflict ridden compared to that of the last century is not supported by the facts. The regularity and immediacy of information offered by the broadcast media, plus the evolution of social online resources, increases public awareness of global security hot spots. Through the lens of the media, global conflict that confronts us on a daily basis may distort the real trends of conflict and war. In challenging our perceptions, Goldstein effectively uses short statistical snippets to assure the reader that the world is not as bad as it seems.
Did You Know?
Despite the myth that has persisted for seven decades, no members of the RAAF served in RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The 30 or so ‘Australian’ fighter pilots who are said to have taken part in the battle all did so as members of the Royal Air Force and had no formal connection with the RAAF. Most were men residing in Britain when the war began and joined the RAF directly. No more than eight were ex-RAAF pilots who had trained at Point Cook before 1938; these proceeded to England to serve with the RAF, and then permanently transferred to the British service. The only truly RAAF unit present in Britain during the period of the battle (July-October 1940) was No 10 Squadron, a flying boat unit serving with RAF Coastal Command.
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.