June 02, 2018

Today, airpower technology has caught up with—and to a degree, bypassed—early airpower theory. The potential now exists to dramatically expand the effects of airpower as means to achieve security goals and objectives. In the future, the US and its allies should not be bound by the historical limitations of surface warfare-based doctrines of airpower supporting ground forces, but rather should advocate and articulate the tactical, operational, and strategic advantages of engagement options where airpower is the key force, supported by surface forces. Given the entrenched position of surface warfare officers in command positions of militaries around the world—particularly in the US over the last 17 years—it remains an open question whether the security options and capabilities that airpower yields—even as they expand in scope and scale— will be recognized and considered by national leaders. Forwarding these ideas and concepts will require the same degree of boldness and courage the pioneers of airpower displayed to initiate, develop, articulate, and effectively advocate for new capabilities. US Airmen need to expand their vision, understanding, and knowledge of all things Air Force, but most importantly, they must completely understand the fundamentals of why air forces exist as independent services, educate others as to the potential that airpower offers, fight for a seat at the table where force employment options are decided, and strongly advocate for airpower options where they are most appropriate.