Air Power: Now and the Future

An International Conference Organised by the RAF Museum and the Royal Aeronautical Society

29 and 30 September 2016

Air power has offered the UK tremendous utility over the last 100 years; I do not see that changing, in fact, I think it is only going to increase further“.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force, 17 September 2015

Delivered at the  Defence  and  Security  Equipment  International conference,  these words suggest that air power has a positive future as we continue to move into the 21st Century. However, what challenges will air forces face in an era of austerity and changing geo-strategic priorities?

The aim of this two-day conference, organised by the Royal Air Force Museum and the Royal Aeronautical Society, is to answer this question and others related to the future of air power. The conference seeks to bring together in one forum leading air power practitioners and academics, and wider Service, governmental and industry parties interested in the future utility of air power. The keynote lecture will be delivered by the RAF’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.

Details of how to register for the conference can be found here.

Conference Programme

Day One – Held at the RAF Museum

09:00-09:45 – Registration and Refreshments

09:45-10:00 – Welcome and Introduction: Maggie Appleton (Chief Executive Officer, Royal Air Force Museum)

10:00-10:30 – Keynote: Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier (Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force)

10:30-10:50 – Networking Break

10:50-12:20 – Panel 1: Strategic Challenges

Chair: Air Marshal Iain McNicoll (RAeS Air Power Group)

Dr. Richard P. Hallion (Science & Technology Policy Institute and Florida Polytechnic University), ‘Air Power in an Era of Rapid Change: Challenges and Opportunities.’

Group Captain John Alexander (Royal Air Force), ‘The Liberal Way in Warfare and the Utility of Air Power: Now and in the Future.’

Dr. Amit Gupta (USAF Air War College), ‘The Future Development of Indian Air Power: Perspectives, Challenges, and Constraints.’

12:20-13:05 – Networking Lunch

13:05-14:35 – Panel 2: Cultural Challenges

Chair: Dr. Ross Mahoney (Royal Air Force Museum)

Dr. Peter Lee (University of Portsmouth), ‘Remote Warfare and the Next 100 Years: Changing Culture and Ethos in the Royal Air Force.’

Brigadier-General Paula Thornhill, USAF (ret) (RAND Corporation), ‘The 21st Century U.S Air Force and the Rise of Guardian Forces.’

Dr. Richard Mayne (Office of Royal Canadian Air Force History and Heritage), ‘Flying in Formation: Professional Airpower Mastery and the RCAF’s Cult of Communities.

14:35-14:55 – Networking Break

14:55-16:25 – Panel 3: An Airman’s Perspective on some of the RAF’s Future Challenges

Sponsored by the RAF Centre for Air Power Studies and delivered by a selection of the CAS’ Fellows.

Chair: Group Captain Paul Wilkins (Director of Defence Studies, Royal Air Force)

Group Captain Clive Blount RAF (Development, Concept and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), UK MOD and Tedder Fellow), ‘The Future Air and Space Operating Environment and what it means for today.’

Squadron Leader Nick Foley RAF (ISTAR Force Headquarters and Henderson Fellow), ‘The impact of Snowden on the future of UK intelligence collection.’

Wing Commander Keith Dear RAF (DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford and Portal Fellow), ‘Understanding the impact of surveillance on behaviour and its potential implications for air power.’

16:30 – End of Day One

Day Two – Held at the Royal Aeronautical Society

08:30-09:00 – Registration and Refreshments

09:00-10:30 – Panel 4: Conceptual Challenges

Chair: Dr. Peter Gray (University of Birmingham)

Dr. Viktoriya Fedorchak (Independent Researcher), ‘The Future of Air Power: A New Conceptual Component and Public Perception.’

Gregory Alegi (Italian Air Force Academy and LUISS University), ‘The Unfinished Rebirth of Italian Airpower Doctrine.’

Dr. Lars P. Haga (Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy), ‘Change and Continuity in Russian Air Power Doctrine in light of the Syrian Campaign.’

10:30-10:50 – Networking Break

10:50-11:20 – Keynote Two – TBC

11:20-12:50 – Panel 5: Operational Challenges

Chair: Dr Richard P. Hallion (Science & Technology Policy Institute and Florida Polytechnic University)

Lieutenant-Colonel Clay Bartels, USAF (USAF Air Command and Staff College) and Major Tim Tormey, USMC (USAF Air Command and Staff College), ‘Air Force CAS: Maximizing Airpower Effects in the Land Domain.’

Paul Stoddart (RAF Air Warfare Centre), ‘The Utility of Air Power at the Campaign Level.’

Dr. Mark Hilborne (Defence Studies Department, King’s College London), ‘Hypersonic Designs and Strategic Strike.’

12:50-13:30 – Networking Lunch

13:50-15:00 – Panel 6: Ethical Challenges

Chair: Dr Peter Lee (University of Portsmouth)

Dr. Ian Horwood (York St John University), ‘“The ethics of bombing or the bombing of ethics”: Airpower in a Time of Austerity.’

Tobias Burgers (Free University Berlin) and Scott N. Romaniuk (University of Trento), ‘Drones – The Human Element: The Ethical Utility of Unmanned Systems in Air Operations.’

Dr. David Lonsdale (Centre for Security Studies, University of Hull), ‘Can/Should Cyberattack Replace Attack from the Air?’

15:00-15:20 – Networking Break

15:20-16:20 – Panel 7: Roundtable

Sponsored by the Air Power Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society

Chair: Simon Whalley (Royal Aeronautical Society)

Dr. Peter Gray (University of Birmingham)

Douglas Barrie (International Institute for Strategic Studies)

Air Marshal Iain McNicoll (RAeS Air Power Group)

16:20-16:30 – Closing Remarks


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