Airpower, provided by the French Air Force as well as Army and Navy aviation, has always been an important component of the French armed forces; but in the current context, it is proving to be an even more critical tool than ever before.
Americans love aircraft. They captivate us, from the crowds that throng to airshows to the children in the airport lounge to the toddler whose finely-cut dinner is “flown” noisily into her mouth on Air Fork One. The Union Army saw its first aviation advantage with the balloon corps in 1861, and the Wright Brothers built and flew the first controllable, powered heavier-than-air airplane some forty years later. Since that fateful day in 1903, aircraft and later spacecraft firmly embedded themselves in our national character, as American aviators accomplished a long string of first-ever accomplishments with ever-improving machines, pushing to the absolute limits of aerodynamic flight and beyond.
Dan and Dave, no relation to the famous Olympic decathletes, began a dialogue following a workshop on the development of an Air Force Operating Concept. At the conclusion of day 1 of the workshop, Dan and Dave had a discussion on the future of the military; to include the direction our respective services are headed.
Too often our air forces are over-identified with “things”—airplanes, mission sets, or various technologies. This misses the key reason why our nations have independent air forces. It is not about tools—it is about the unique way in which independent air force Airmen provide our respective nation’s leaders with effective, efficient policy options that are only…