A Holistic And Broad Spectrum Appreciation Of Air Power

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The evolution of air power theory and recent experience demonstrates that traditional and reactive forms of western responsiveness to world events has inhibited government ability to focus on long term planning and our ability to understand and shape the strategic environment. Instead of long-term contingency planning which can lay the groundwork for effective responses to unknown contingencies; we have instead found ourselves executing unconsidered and short-term actions based off hastily made decisions which tend to only exist in their own microcosm. This has in turn been resulted in adverse long-term strategic implications. This essay will discuss how a holistic and broad-spectrum appreciation of air power can resolve these issues. This…show more content…
the EVOLUTION of air power in the strategic Context In order to ascertain how air power can be most effectively employed, it is first necessary to analyse its evolution in the strategic context. This section aims to identify why the strategic uses of air power are still in their infancy, and therefore what type of strategic effects must be considered in response to future regional military modernisation. This will enable future strategic directions to be forecast, and subsequently matched against effective response options. In its relatively short history, conceptions of the utility of air power has evolved markedly. Giulio Douhet was an early proponent of the utility of air power, and saw its primary strength lay in its use as a ‘strategic weapon:’ whereby an entire conflict would be decided over who achieved ‘command of the air’ and was thus able to effect the terms of the victory. Whilst Douhet’s theories were progressive for their time, they were still largely limited to the employment of air power in direct action, rather than the considering its ability to shape and deter within the broader strategic environment. Another early air power advocate, Lord Trenchard, also viewed the airplane as an ‘inherently strategic weapon.’ However, this application was later limited to its efficacy in the psychological effects of strategic bombing during a conflict; rather than its utility in the physical destruction of enemy systems. Still, air power was
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