Issue 2 - 11 June, 2010



Chief of Air Force Essay Competition

On 29 Mar 2010, RAAF Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mark Binksin announced the Chief of Air Force Competition (CAFEC). CAFEC is aimed at encouraging military members and the wider Australian community to think and write about air power.

CAFEC comprises two prize award categories. The Wrigley Prize is open to all Australian citizens and foreign military personnel serving with the ADF. Based on a contemporary air power topic, the best essay for the Wrigley Prize will be awarded a prize of A$2000. The second category, restricted to ADFA RAAF cadets only, is the Middleton Prize. The best essay for the Middleton Prize will be based on a battle/operation/campaign and will be awarded a fully funded sponsorship on the following year's ADFA Battlefield Study Tour.

CAFEC 2010 is now open. Submissions will be accepted until the 01 November 2010.

APDC is administering the CAFEC on behalf of CAF. See the CAFEC webpage on the APDC website for further details regarding approved essay topics and submission requirements.


Book launch - Sir Richard Kingsland

The OAFH has produced the third book in the series of autobiographies under its oral history program, this time on Sir Richard Kingsland AO CBE DFC. Now aged 94, Sir Richard had a distinguished career in the RAAF from 1935 until 1948, reaching Group Captain rank aged barely 27, and then enjoyed a long career in the Public Service which culminated with his service as Secretary of successive government departments for a total of 18 years. The book, titled Into the Midst of Things, will be launched on 15 June by the Chief of the Defence Force, ACM Angus Houston.



Seminar: Perennial Challenges to Air Forces

Wednesday 16 June, 2010
Speaker: Sanu Kainikara
Venue: R1 Theatre
Time: 10.30 - 11.30am

More information here.




Pathfinder 135
Who are we Fighting? The Enemy in Irregular Warfare
There are many debates about the nature of war in the 21st Century but most agree that intra-state conflict will be the most common type over the next twenty years.
From a military perspective, the central issue is developing a comprehensive understanding of the adversary’s vulnerabilities and sensitivities. At its core, intra-state warfare is based on actionable knowledge, information superiority and rapid response making Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and air mobility critically important air power roles.


Recommended Reading

Maligned and misunderstood: It’s not the EBO concept that’s wrong, but how it’s been applied
Jeffrey b. Hukill
Armed Forces Journal, March 2009

In this article, Hukill provides a fresh look at Effects-Based Operations (EBO) noting the critiques it has attracted in recent years – notably that of the Commander US Joint Forces Command. Hukill illustrates that the effects-based concepts embraced by western forces, particularly the USAF and RAAF, are distinctly different to the EBO concepts criticised by effects-based critics. A baseline review of effects-based concepts shows how an effects based approach has value in “encouraging commanders and planners to think through a problem before committing to actions, to use a system approach to link the end state to actions, to consider the full range of capabilities available to achieve objectives in support of an end state, and to understand if and how chosen actions are leading to the accomplishment of objectives.” Hukill is convincing in concluding that “effects-based concepts deserve further serious consideration.” Hukill’s conclusions are particularly appropriate to the ADF at the moment where EBA within the joint environment is under some question despite it being codified in ADDP 0.3 Joint Operations for the 21st Century and integrated into Air Force doctrine.


Bracing for Impact: Fifth Generation Jet Fighter Programmes in Asia
Curie Maharani and Koh Swee Lean Collin
RSIS Commentaries, 4 May, 2010

This short article provides a unique non-western perspective of a potential mini-arms race that is emeging in Asia with four major regional powers pursuing a fifth generation fighter aircraft. The authors rightly note that while attention has largely focused on the West's fifth generation figher aircraft (eg F-22 RAPTOR and F-35 JSF) and to a lesser extent the new Russian PAK FA, it is interesting that most of the other countries wanting an indigenous fifth generation fighter program are found in Asia, namely China, India, Japan and South Korea. Of these four nations, the authors suggest it is probably India and China who are making greater progress. While the authors note that "the 5G jet fighter race, if spun out of control, could encourage other regional states to acquire similar capabilities", the programs carry significant financial risk and thus need to be "pursued with moderation and restraint for both domestic and geopolitical purposes."


Penny Packets, Then and Now
Rebecca Grant
Air Force Magazine, Vol. 93, No. 6 June 2010

Rebecca Grant, who recently spoke at the RAAF Air Power Conference in March 2010 on IW, revisits the traditional issue of friction between land and air forces - command and control of air assets. Grant draws parallels between the recent calls in Afghanistan for ground forces to have 'control' of air assets given the irregular nature of the current fight and similar historical episodes. In particular, she notes that the re-emergence of the issue has arisen not for CAS but for ISR support. However, the same basic problem with 'penny packeting' air assets, identified in World War II, remains. It leads to inefficient and ineffective application of air power. Further, Grant finds that in the Afghanistan experience , air power employment is not as problematic as some infer. She refers to Army commanders, such as MAJ GEN Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander NATO's Regional Command, who have praised the quick response of air power in Afghanistan and the strong working relationship between air and ground commanders. She quotes Scarparotti "The way we operate could only be done with air power" and that he was comfortable with his maneuver plan as he had air power "no more than 11 minutes from a dead stop over top of those troopers who are out there in harm's way." She concludes forcefully that command and control must be retained at the highest possible level to ensure optimum tasking - an aspect she reinforces by quoting the Australian Chief Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, "it is imperative that we do not penny packet these assets."


Global Distributed ISR Operations: The Changing Face of Warfare
David A. Deptula and James R. Marrs
Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 54, 3rd Quarter 2009, pp110 - 115

This article, co-authored by LTGEN David Deptula, the US Headquarters Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR is, a useful addition to people's understanding of modern airborne ISR. 'Distributed Operations' is the new name for what many people know as 'reach-back'. The reality is however that Distributed Operations are much more complex and global in nature, than 'reach-back' ever was – and ‘reach back’ infers a one way flow, whereas Distributed Operations is a fully flexible system that is a global 24/7/365 enterprise. USAF ISR operations rely on a global information grid and an ISR architecture based on what is known as DCGS - Distributed Common Ground System. In the USAF, DCGS is known as AN/GSQ-272 Sentinel - much like the AOC Weapon System is known as Falconer. DCGS supports Distributed Operations that link ISR platforms and sensors forward in the area of operations with processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) organisations around the world. In the USAF, these PED structures are called Deployable Ground Systems (DGS), are within the 480th ISR Wing, and they utilise the DCGS weapon system to undertake the full range of imagery and signals intelligence functions. What is important about this article is that it brings all the pieces together - the platforms and sensors that most people think of as ISR - with the 480th ISR Wing PED capabilities (full of software, hardware and intelligence personnel) - with a global information grid using very high bandwidth capabilities - into one integrated hole - the ISR weapon system. Australia is moving towards developing such a weapon system and the RAAF will be a leading player in its delivery and operationalisation because Air power and ISR have a natural relationship based on the air power characteristics of perspective, reach, penetration, responsiveness and flexibility.


The views expressed the linked articles are entirely those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Royal Australian Air Force.

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