JAPCC Conference 2008
Joint Air & Space Power
Decision Superiority in the 21st Century
The fourth annual conference hosted by NATO's Joint Air Power Competence Centre, held 15th and 16th October 2008, was established to discuss "Joint Air & Space Power – Decision Superiority in the 21st Century". Lessons identified in current Joint and Combined operations are focusing to revisit the way how to plan, execute and control Air & Space missions resulting in numerous questions. More than 230 high-ranking military officers and civilians delegates from NATO and other nations, academics from international universities and research centres and representatives of military industries came together to have an exchange of information and knowledge between the participants presenting the Alliance in regard to joint air & space power. This exchange should serve as a venue through which to examine avenues for cooperation and collaboration as NATO looks to current and future air power requirements in support of its forces in theatre.
NATO transformation to an expeditionary, network enabled military capability cannot occur without modern space-based capabilities. Military forces are reliant upon the capabilities provided by space systems, such as weather information, satellite communication, intelligence, missile warning and navigation, just to name a few.
Allied Command Transformation has tasked the JAPCC to deliver a NATO Space Operations Assessment. The assessment should take a holistic look at NATO space operations, identify gaps and provide recommendations at closing those gaps. The focus of the conference is to establish a paper providing a frame work for considering the role, which Air & Space Power can play as a critical enabler for NATO Operations.
Opening Remarks and Keynotes to the Conference
The conference was opened by General Roger A Brady (USAF), Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe; as well as Commander, Air Component Command, Ramstein; and Director JAPCC. In his opening remarks, he made a quick look at what the NATO Air and Space Power Centre of Excellence has accomplished, aided in significant part by important contributions from last year’s conference. As a direct product of the 2007 conference and related coordination, „The Role of Air Power in Security and Stability Operations” was published and provided to the air component staffs. Expanding ideas from the 2007 conference in the critical application of command at all levels of air power, the “NATO Future Joint Air and Space Power” paper has already been released and its core concepts have significantly shaped this year’s conference panels.
The “NATO Space Operations Assessment” provided numerous recommendations that, while not yet universally accepted, have continued to move the dialogue forward for a formal NATO policy on space.
That is why the JAPCC is actively involved with joint coalition agencies throughout NATO and its partner nations to better integrate air and space power and thereby provide better support to security and stability operations, such as in Afghanistan
Special Guest of Honour was the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Europe, General Karl-Heinz Lather (DEU L). In his keynote he underlined the latest procurement programmes within the alliance. Nearly all NATO nations are in the process of procuring new fighter aircraft. RAFAEL, Eurofighter-TYPHOON, just to name two, are more and more occupying the skies. The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will follow soon. This means, that for the foreseeable future, NATO has already today a very good understanding of the capabilities to expect. There should not be any secret of what to expect and how to best integrate those assets in future air operations.
Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) are maturing and can be expected to enter service within the depicted timeframe. The integration of those assets in offensive air operations needs to be further defined. NATO AWACS will remain in service, as well similar French, UK and US assets. Other nations have made decisions to procure national airborne air surveillance assets. In so far the availability of airborne early warning and control assets is another defined pillar, when looking on effective management of air & space power in the foreseeable future.
Centers of Excellence like the JAPCC are NATO’s drivers for change and innovation. The keynote address was followed by a presentation “Allied Command Transformation’s View on Decision Superiority” from Major General Koen Gijbers, Assistant Chief of Staff Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (ACOS C4I), and another one named “Air & Space and Decision Superiority in the 21st Century” by Air Commodore Garfield Porter, Assistant Director Transformation JAPCC.
The JAPCC identified a number of problems concerning the “Joint Air & Space Power – Decision Superiority in the 21st Century”. Therefore and as a part of the conference, four key areas were discussed in panels.
- Panel 1 – Command, Control and Shared Situational Awareness (SSA).
- Panel 2 – Battlespace Management (BSM).
- Panel 3 – Gaining Intelligence and Information Superiority.
- Panel 4 – Space as a critical enabler of NATO’s operations.
These panel discussions concluded that Air & Space Power and Decision Superiority is one of NATO’s Transformational Goals; and Information Superiority and the NATO Network Enabled Capabilities (NNEC) are the underpinning objective areas necessary to achieve the goal of Decision Superiority. The conference put the spotlight on the capabilities required in these areas related to air and space in the joint environment
As mentioned by Lieutenant General Friedrich W. Ploeger, Executive Director JAPCC, in his closing remarks, the aim of the conference was to exchange ideas and opinions on the role of air power in expeditionary security and stability operations.
The panel discussions helped us to focus our thoughts on the conference theme and will motivate and enable us to refine the JAPCC conceptual paper, which apparently has the potential of filling a current void in NATO.
Bottom line for this conference was an unanimity that air power remains very relevant, but that it needs to continue to evolve and transform and there was a good deal of agreement on the main topics and capabilities that NATO now needs to tackle. Bottom line for the JAPCC is that this conference seems to confirm that most aspects of the JAPCC programme of work for 2007 are focused in the right areas. The conference has given food for thought some new topics, together with thoughts on the relative priorities of our current projects.
He underscored that JAPCC can play an important role in the transformation of NATO air and space power. As a result NATO should develop detailed policies and doctrines to guide the future development of joint air & space power and fully integrate them into future combined and joint operations.