Accession Number:

ADA595564

Title:

Historical Tensions for Airpower Leaders

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2011-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

9.0

Abstract:

How nations define and solve the strategic problems they face determines their future security. Notably, military leaders and the institutions they serve drift toward solving immediate problems with perhaps too little concern for long-term consequences. They are at their best when confronted with cleanly bounded issues and a known end-state or precise objective. Legitimate concerns about the most appropriate way to defeat the enemy, win battles, and secure the foundations for political victory come to dominate thinking among military personnel because success in these endeavors secures the nations freedom of action, protects sovereignty, and enhances the reputation of leaders, their units, and, by extension, their services. Thinking about how best to prepare to meet societal expectations, to confront long-term strategic challenges, and to remain efficient and effective during extended periods of peace, even those punctuated by conflict, requires a different mind-set -- a different approach. If defense professionals wish to remain credible partners in the nations strategic dialogue, they must contemplate the foundations of their service to the nation and society as well as the most productive means of attending to these relationships. The historical tension between investing in strategic air capabilities and those that appear more suited to current conflicts will likely persist. To paraphrase Sir Michael Howard, I am convinced that whatever capability airmen develop, it will be wrong. More important than fielding perfect systems, we must remain flexible enough to get them right and do so more quickly than our enemies can. Not only do airmen have a duty to prepare themselves to respond to the most likely near-term security threats, they also have an equal duty to prepare forces for the most dangerous scenarios in the long term. In both instances, they must get it right quickly when the nation calls.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE