Issue 5 - 6th September, 2010



Chief of Air Force Essay Competition

APDC is accepting submissions for the 2010 Chief of Air Force Essay 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.

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.

New web address for APDC

In keeping with Air Force policy, APDC now has a new web address (URL).

The new address is:



Seminar: The Private Air Marshal - Biography of AIRMSHL George Jones

Wednesday 6 October, 2010
Speaker: Dr Peter Helson
Venue: R1 Theatre
Time: 14.30 – 15.45

After leading the RAAF through the last three years of World War II, Air Vice-Marshal George Jones served until 1952 to complete a record continuous term as Air Force chief. The career of Air Marshal Sir George Jones, as he became, has been examined by Canberra historian Peter Helson providing an insight into the kind of man Jones was at a personal level and what made him tick.

Helson’s study traces Jones’ life from an impoverished start, to his service in Gallipoli and as a decorated Australian Flying Corps ‘ace’ on the Western Front in World War I. It tracks him through a tumultuous tussle for command of the RAAF during in the Pacific War and onwards until his death in 1992 at the age of 95. This study provides a fascinating counterpoint to Jones’ own autobiography, From Private to Air Marshal, published in 1988.

The seminar will highlight the author’s many discoveries about Jones’ past, and will include a formal launch of the book by the current Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin.




Pathfinder 139
Defining Air Power: Part II – Considerations for a New Definition

Pathfinder 140
Canadian Air Force Operations in Afghanistan


Recommended Reading

Whither Air Power Education?
By GPCAPT Al Byford and GPCAPT Ian Shields
RAF Air Power Review, vol. 13 number 2, Summer 2010, p. 110-115

In this short article, GPCAPT Al Byford, the RAF Director Defence Studies, and GPCAPT Ian Shields, Assistant Head, Air and Space (UK Ministry of Defence Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre), argue that the modest resources allocated to air power education represent an essential strategic investment for the future. Military education provides the intellectual and conceptual agility to understand and adapt to operational circumstances outside the norm. Interestingly, while they correctly note that ‘education need not be formally taught’ they then discuss formal education solutions for the majority of the article, while briefly mentioning several informal RAF education initiatives: Chief of Air Force Reading List (something the RAAF CAF also initiated in 2010), a service-wide essay competition for junior officers and an annual air power conference for Squadron Leader rank and below. Given the operational tempo and significant demands placed on Air Force personnel these days, it is probably through engendering a passion for air power in the individual rather than through formal air power education, that real yet cost effective investment can be made. However, at a time when the RAAF is implementing professional mastery initiatives to address similar needs as those identified by Byford and Shields, there is much in this article for the RAAF to consider in enhancing its air power education and developing better strategic thinkers.


The Rocky Road to Full Jointness
By Ben Lambeth
Air Power Journal Vol. 3 No. 4 winter 2008 (October-December)

This paper offers a view of recent trends in joint warfare, including examples of best and worst joint practices in Operations Desert Storm, Northern and Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, including the ensuing Iraq and Afghanistan COIN wars. The author describes the laudable progress in joint interoperability that has occurred over the course of these operations, but cautions that the routine placement of mission needs over service needs by senior joint commanders and practical demonstrations of joint interdependence are not yet the norm in major U.S. led operations.


Air Power, Coercion and IW
By LTCOL Richard Newton
RAF Air Power Review vol. 13 number 2, Summer 2010, p. 16-20

In this paper, Newton looks at air power’s ability to change people’s behaviour through influence and coercion. Using irregular warfare as his backdrop, he examines how air power might be used at the strategic level to force insurgent leaders to stop fighting and join the political process, and at the tactical level to restore security and stability.


Clauswitz and the New Scholars
By Bart Schuurman
Parameters, Spring 2010

Clausewitz has been one of the most influential Western military thinkers. In recent years, however, Clausewitz’s continued influence has been increasingly challenged by writers citing aspects such as the current pre-eminence of irregular warfare as changing the nature of warfare. This article seeks to restore some balance to the debate by analysing the arguments put forward by those writers who form the ‘new wars’ school of thought. In effect, the difference of opinion is not largely one of Clausewitz but actually the nature of war itself. The writers who question the application of Clausewitz to contemporary warfare largely see the nature of warfare as fundamentally changing. In reality, it is not the nature of warfare that changes but rather it’s characteristics that evolve. The author reinforces this point in quoting M.L.R. Smith “call it what you will – new war, ethnic war, guerrilla war, low-intensity war, terrorism or the war on terrorism – in the end, there is only one meaningful category of war, and that is war itself.” This article is thought provoking and convincing in redressing the notion that the nature of warfare has fundamentally changed.


"Building a Good Instrument": Assessing the likely characteristics of Future Conflicts and their Implications for the Air Component
By Wg Cdr Helen Miller
RAF Air Power Review, vol. 12 number 3, Autumn 2009 p. 89

Analysing non-traditional adversaries, rapid technological change, globalisation and the recent economic downturn, Miller outlines some possible causes of future conflict and discusses its probable characteristics, before exploring the utility of the air component in the most likely future scenario – irregular warfare.


Air Power Quote

“On the subject of doctrine there are two problems. The first is to perfect the means for devising sound doctrine. The second is to perfect the means for ensuring that the doctrine we devise is communicated effectively to and internalized by the people who must apply it.”

MAJGEN I.B. Holley, USAF (retd)
Technology and Military Doctrine: Essays on a Changing Relationship.
Maxwell Air Force Base, Air University Press, 2004.

MAJGEN Holley is a prolific and highly respected writer and authority on air power. Having served on active duty during World War 2, he remained in the Air Force Reserve until retiring in 1981 as a Major General. The Air Force Historical Foundation recently honored him by establishing the Major General I. B. Holley Award to honor scholars who have made “a sustained, significant contribution to the documentation of Air Force history during a lifetime of service.” His observations on the two problems inherent in doctrine have much relevance to the RAAF and evidently the RAF as highlighted by this month’s article by GPCAPT Byford and GPCAPT Shield on air power education. Education is vital to effectively communicating and internalising doctrine and, as noted by Air Marshal Binskin in his 2008 Commanders Intent, “is the foundation of professional mastery.”


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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