Published Airpower Journal - Winter 1987-88


Position Update

WITH THIS, the final issue of volume I, it seems appropriate to look at what the Air Force's professional journal should be and at what it offers its readership. Three aspects of the Journal warrant consideration, each important in its own way and each of which, we hope, will be of interest to you.

Every periodical must have some focus to guide its editors in selecting material, its contributors in adopting a creative approach, and its readers in deciding whether to spend valuable time reading. The Airpower Journal's focus, in simplest terms, is the effective application of combat power. Combat power can be defined as a military force's ability to develop, field, generate, and maintain appropriate combat pressure in given situations. This is not an additive process but an interactive, synergistic one. The failure to "field" appropriate power does not simply decrease the available combat power, it may well negate it altogether.

This suggests that any journal concerned with effective combat power must entertain the myriad activities that result in the end product. To some, that will mean operations; to others, effective logistic support; and to still others, research and development or perhaps manpower/personnel concerns. Each of these areas is appropriate for the Airpower Journal, and yet, each can also be inappropriate. The key is whether or not the lens through which each of these areas is viewed is concerned with improving the end product--the effective application of appropriate combat power. An issue focused on something else has little value in a professional military journal.

This still leaves too diffuse a focus for a single professional journal. Sharpening the focus is an action with which not all agree, but sharpened it must be for the reasons identified above. If we concern ourselves with the application of military power, then we may leave aside questions of whether or not military power should be applied and concentrate on how best to apply it. This means the bulk of the geopolitico-military questions can be relinquished to other journals with reputations for credible and balanced treatment. Another area of inquiry must also be forgone if the Airpower Journal is to hold the interest of the entire target audience. Issues of expert functional concern are also left to the excellent functional journals available. Remaining to the Airpower Journal is the middle ground, the concern with integrating multiple functions into cohesive military operations. In short, we are about the "operational art" in its broadest sense.

Another aspect of the Airpower Journal deserves mention. You will note in this issue a volume index, something our ancestor, the Air University Quarterly Review, printed on occasion. We will publish, both in the Journal and separately, volume indices by author and subject matter with each winter issue. Every five years, we plan to publish separate, cumulative indices of all Airpower Journals to that point. We hope they are useful to you.

Finally, the many inquiries about the Ira C. Eaker Essay Competition deserve an answer. We are pleased to announce, as noted elsewhere in this issue, the reemergence of the competition, effective with the Spring 1988 issue of the Airpower Journal. You will note some changes to the competition, but its original purposes remain; to honor General Eaker and to encourage you to contribute to the professional dialogue in these pages. One $500 award will be made for a feature in each issue. Only US military members or US Government civilians below the rank of colonel or the grade of GS-15 are eligible to compete. We hope to see your feature article soon. All in all, it was not a bad year, but we certain expect the coming one to be even better in terms of presenting your professional military concerns for consideration and providing a useful services to you. KWG


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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