Understanding Diverse Global Thoughts on Air Power

Air Cmde Arjun Subramaniam is a serving officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The views offered are his own and do not reflect the views of the IAF.
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  • March 2013
    Strategic Essay

    Air power has gone through a lot over the last two decades—from being a decisive tool of war fighting during Operation Desert Storm and operations over Kosovo, to a more sobering period in the first decade of this century when it faced intense criticism over its use in Lebanon, Iraq and Af-Pak. The resilience and versatility of air power ensured that it adapted to the requirements of modern conflict, albeit a trifle slower than expected, with Operation Geronimo (the mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden) and Operation Unified Protector (the aerial campaign to facilitate the ouster of the Libyan dictator Gadaffi) being prime examples. Some air power theorists feel that practitioners of air power may have got carried away by the seductiveness of technology and precision, leading to the wrong strategic application of air power in some places. Thus, a need is felt to revisit current global air power discourse from a theoretical perspective and create a convergence of sorts between the strategist, theorist and practitioner.