Wednesday, March 16, 2011


AFA members, Congressional staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, for several months I’ve been looking for an article which explains the essence of Airpower -- one that makes it easy to understand why this domain is so important to our national security. Last week, I found such an article in Air University’s Air and Space Power Journal. It is written by Col (Ret) and former Commandant of Air Command and Staff College, John Warden.

The piece is long – 14 pages on my printer. Here are a few quotes to interest you:

“Airpower enables us to think about conflict from a future-back, end-game-first perspec¬tive as opposed to one based on the battle obsession of Clausewitz and his followers. It also opens another very exciting possibility: conflict with little or no unplanned destruc¬tion or shedding of blood.”

“So here is a proposition: let us resolve to expunge the words fighting, battle, shape the battlefield, battlespace, and the war fighter from our vocabulary, to relegate the “means” of war to the last thing we think about, and to elevate the “end” to the pedestal of our consideration. In other words, let’s bury thousands of years of bloody battle stories, as heroic as they were, and start looking at war—and eventually airpower—from its end point, which by definition means from a strategic perspective.”

“Movement from the parallel domain to the serial domain causes the probability of success to begin to fall dramatically. Tak¬ing a very long time decreases the chances considerably. It isn’t impossible to win a long war, but the odds are very low—and this applies to both sides, despite significant differences in their centers of gravity. Since good strategy depends heavily on under¬standing probabilities, deliberately embark¬ing on a low-probability, long serial war does not make much sense.”

“Very simply, whether in war or business, our normal approach to the time element is exactly backward: we ask ourselves how long something will take rather than decide how long it should take in order to create parallel effects and succeed at an accept¬able cost.”

“We should take a page from business, which long ago learned that selling a product had to involve much more than touting its tech¬nical goodness. Products sell because cus¬tomers see them as filling a real need in their lives; airpower advocates have not done well in this regard. If airpower is something different, we must highlight its differences and show convincingly that it fills a vital need.”
“Airpower exponents not only need to connect airpower directly to strategy and market their product well, but also need to start believing in it. Those who begin a dis¬cussion by noting that airpower “can’t do everything” do themselves and their listeners a real disservice.”

“Of course, espousing the unlimited con¬cept of airpower exposes the advocate to charges of airpower zealotry, a lack of “jointness,” or some other nasty label. But we need to become confident enough to shrug off these labels.”

You can find the piece at: and click on the article by John Warden.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Christ said in the Olivet discourse, Matt: 24 & 25 "there will be wars and rumors of wars." He was speaking of the end times.