The operational level of war is where national strategic goals are translated into military objectives and where plans are developed on where, when, and how to prosecute a war. War at the operational level is an orchestration of campaigns and operations in an effort to achieve the desired end state, that is, 'the military conditions that must he attained to support the national strategic goals'.' The planning outcomes at the operational level of war comprise the establishment of operational priorities, the identification of targets, and the allocation and apportionment of combat forces. This level of war is not adequately covered by Australian military doctrine.The absence of such doctrine could be explained by the paucity of Australian command experience at the operational level.

This leads onto a survey of the current state of the operational art. A comparison is made between the current operational level doctrine and practice for the application of air power in the ADF and that of other defence forces. Finally, there is a discussion of factors affecting the future of ADF air power and the development of the operational art as it applies to the employment of air power. This discussion is placed in the context of the Australian strategic environment and the strategic guidance provided to the ADF. The implications for future directions in the organisation, force structure, command and control arrangements, training, and operational exercises are also discussed.