Published Airpower Journal - Special Edition 1996
WELCOME TO Airpower Journal's third special edition. The articles presented here are the result of research conducted under the auspices of the USAF Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a clearinghouse for new ideas and information. INSS supports the analytic needs of cosmopolitan organizations tasked with national security and defense decision making and policy responsibilities. At first glance, these articles seem to lie far outside the normal envelope of Airpower Journal's range. However, as we peer through the dark lens of the future, we see that airpower whether in the form of an orbital reconnaissance platform, a C-130 on a humanitarian mission, or an F-117 conducting an air strike has come of age. Often, it is the primary method used by our policymakers and political leadership to make a prompt statement of US intentions in a crisis.
Within the covers of this edition, you will find articles that take you beyond the study of airpower in its daily operational environment into the realms of national security strategy, policy, and decision making. Although only some of us will be responsible for such decisions, others will provide the information and analysis vital to informed decision making, and-even more importantly-all of us are responsible for implementing those decisions. We cannot limit our intellectual activity to the daily operational mission. In order to fulfill our responsibility to our leadership and nation, we must look beyond the daily needs of the mission and grasp an understanding of the big picture.
That is what this special edition is all about-pressing the intellectual envelope, pushing at the ceiling, inquiring into things not usually considered a part of airpower. Airpower is the big picture. Specifically, we hope that these articles will provoke thought, discussion, and reasoned-hopefully impassioned-argument. Much is here: from Russian views of information warfare through nuclear weapons and organized crime to the unsettling question of a Germany with unilateral nuclear capability.
We hope that these three special editions have stimulated your intellectual creativity-perhaps induced you to research a question raised by one of the writers. Although this is the last issue of Airpower Journal to be devoted exclusively to the work of the institute, we intend to place INSS articles in our regular editions in order to further stimulate your intellectual inquiry into questions of national security, strategy, and decision making.
Research has long taken a backseat in the US Air Force. Perhaps by publishing such articles as these, we can rekindle interest in this kind of intellectual activity. As part of the current emphasis on drawdowns and budget reductions, we hear the argument that everything turns upon cost; however, the real cost is not in research-but the lack of research. We in the Air Force need to inquire, probe, and provoke reasoned, enlightened argument. For the good of the organization and for the nation, we cannot merely accept what others say. The inactivation of Air University's prolific and highly respected command-sponsored research fellows program just a few years ago created an intellectual gap. Perhaps the Air Force needs to consider implementing a program similar to that of our sister service, the Navy, and sponsor a limited number of Air War College students to research questions posed by the Air Force chief of staff. By doing so, we might acquire a better understanding of the problems of the twenty-first century, especially those involving air doctrine and the employment of airpower in pursuit of national security objectives. MJP
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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