What laws apply to activities in the air domain?

The ADF approach to warfare is also significantly shaped by the legal framework for military operations to which Australia and many other nations adhere, including operations law and the development and implementation of ROE. Operations law includes, but is not limited to the law of armed conflict (LOAC), air law, law of the sea, and legal aspects relating to anti-terrorist and counterterrorist activities, overseas procurement, discipline, pre-deployment preparation, deployment, status of forces agreements, operations against hostile forces, aid to civil authority, border protection and civil affairs operations. According to international law and convention, a sovereign nation should only employ its military forces after careful consideration of the moral, legal and political repercussions of doing so. Its determination to employ military force should never be based purely on military feasibility alone. Additionally, the conduct of all military operations is subject to Air Power in National Security | 37 domestic and international law at all times, although not all participants in conflict adhere to these laws. International law sets the legal parameters for the employment of combat forces and imposes legal accountability on the state’s military commanders and combatants. The code associated with the planning and execution of military operations is defined as operations law. 

Law of Armed Conflict - The system that regulates the conduct of armed conflict is known as the LOAC. It comprises statutory laws and laws of precedence and acts as a broad code of ethics for the profession of arms. Military personnel must assume a higher burden of responsibility than other citizens. This responsibility includes that of upholding a moral compact that may not be specified or formalised but is nevertheless inviolable—and may even be higher than the purely legal position that the LOAC assumes.

Key Terms


The system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties.


Law of Armed Conflict