Back from the Future: The Impact of Change on Airpower in the Decades Ahead
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL
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Forecasting the future is an inherently uncertain endeavor that carries great implications for military force structures and doctrines. As military leaders try to determine if their services are postured to thwart anticipated threats and flexible enough to adapt to unknown challenges, they confront the notion of change -- the conviction that war is an evolving phenomenon subject to periodic transformations. The Joint Operating Environment 2008 Challenges and Implications for the Future Joint Force, published by US Joint Forces Command in November 2008, is one of many recent attempts to forecast the changing conditions that the American military will likely face in the next quarter century other militaries will doubtless produce their own projections. Air forces are especially prone to emphasizing how change affects war. Because of their heavy dependence on technology to fight in an unfriendly medium and the transitory nature of operations in the air, they place perhaps a greater premium on the relationship between war and change than the other military services. Yet change in war stems from more than simply technological advance. As Carl von Clausewitz observed almost two centuries ago, the composition of forces, the objectives they pursue, and how they choose to pursue those goals can often affect the conduct of war as much as the technology used by military forces.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics