The Heart of the Matter: Future of Airpower

The most important branch of aviation is pursuit, which fights for and gains control of the air. — Brigadier General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell, USAS

The terms of reference for looking at the next 15 years of air power are crafted to generate a broad look and a broad debate on how the various elements of change might interact with one another shaping a new combat and presence environment.

  1. The first issue is very basic—is there an emerging shift from the age of Air Power to the age of joint power projection—can a new paradigm be shaped?
  2. America should not be prisoner of last century’s paradigm nor embrace the land warfare concept of airpower. No platform fights alone.
  3. How to implement the Wynne Doctrine-“If you are in a fair fight someone failed in planning” with Rules of Engagement and COIN con-ops.
  4. The past is not the prologue to the future. UAVs are part of the future of airpower not the future of airpower.
  5. Can we leverage our investments for strategic change?  Is a cultural change needed to integrate 4th Gen into 5th Gen capabilities? For example are AWACS really needed?
  6. What is the purpose-“Armed Humanitarians” versus joint power projection?
  7. What does a USAF over the next two decades look like as we re-shape joint approaches and operations?
  8. How will U.S. and allied approaches converge or differ on the evolution of airpower?
  9. How will competitors such as the PRC define their approach to the future of airpower?  And what might the action-reaction cycle look like in the next phase of airpower evolution?
  10. There will be significant development of combat air capabilities in the 2nd and 3rd world.  How will this development reshape the global airpower dynamics?
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