What does Air Power really mean

  • Published
  • By Maj. James Davis
  • 22nd Contracting Squadron commander
Recently, the wing started saying "Air Power" in response to someone shouting the command "Team McConnell."

This esprit de corps should rival our warrior ethos and reaffirm our calling as "Airmen to Fly, Fight, and Win" while supporting and defending our U.S. constitution as well as the lives and liberties of men and women in our great nation.

As a fellow Airman, I think it is only appropriate to take this venue to revisit what air power really means, how it is continually refueled by transformation, and how our role as Airmen makes a difference.

History reveals in 1925, Brig Gen Billy Mitchell, father of our U.S. Air Force, defined air power as, "the ability to do something in or through the air, and as the air covers the whole world, aircraft are able to go anywhere on the planet." This unbounded "ability to do something" conveyed a vision that was a stretch of the imagination for most individuals.

Since its inception, air power, being synonymously linked to our Air Force, has never been in a complacent state. Instead, air power continues to evolve thanks to transformational initiatives fueled by the perpetual advancement of aviation tactics, techniques, procedures, and most importantly, training and technology.

This is why Air Force Smart Operations 21 is so important. Although we have given it a new name, realize this notion of continual change is definitely not a new concept.

Transformation is rooted in the fundamental ideology of air power and continues to define the new boundaries of our Air Force heritage. I think Dr. James Roche, former Secretary of the Air Force interprets transformation best saying "it is an approach to developing capabilities and exploring new concepts of operations that allow us to be truly relevant in the era in which we find ourselves and for years to come."

Through transformation, our Air Force has gone far beyond canvassing the skies for aerial observation to now delivering unmanned aerial vehicles and stealthy combat platforms, which can employ precision weaponry; and soon direct-energy weaponry ... the ultimate in speed, lethality, and precision.

What's most exciting about the evolving state of our Air Force is how we, as Airmen, are able to continually exploit the lethality of air power into new domains...first air, then space, and now the frontier of cyberspace.

Don't get twisted into thinking the evolution of air power is limited to only a few Air Force Specialty Codes. No, air power is the collective effort of all funtionals from the personnelists to the engineer to the maintainer, pilot, and yes the contracting officer.

This is exactly why the potential of our Air Force is unbounded as we look to develop innovative combinations of doctrines, new technologies, organizations, and weapon systems to further define air power.

As long as the enemy has a vote, coupled with the changing state of our geopolitical climate, I am here to tell you, we will continue to invest in transformation because complacency can never be the alternative.

This brings me to the final reflecting point ... our role as Airmen. Today, some 83 years later, we can attest that General Mitchell, along with the other air power enthusiasts, possessed a vision for aviation that was nothing short of brilliant.

As leaders and pioneers, these men did not let limits and uncharted waters stifle their imagination for what we could do with air power.

Like General Mitchell, we, as fellow Airmen, need to dream the impossible in spite of the challenges with resources, operation tempo, and the uncertainty of our adversaries.

As Airmen, we should know that we are the solution and while protecting the greatest nation, we are steadily becoming the greatest generation. As Airmen, we must always remember our mission is "Fly, Fight, and Win" as we serve as the guardians of freedom, security, and prosperity.

Hopefully, I am not telling you anything new, only reminding everyone that our nation is depending on us.

Therefore, the next time you shout "Air Power", I encourage you to reflect upon our rich heritage, the need for transformation, and our undeniable charge to make the difference.

Fellow Airmen, it is no stretch of the imagination that we, like the former airpower enthusiasts, are the leaders defining a new legacy for our Air Force.

Step up to the plate and let's continue to be ready to unleash a can of God forsaken pain on our adversary...unrivalled air superiority/dominance anytime and anywhere.

I am honored to serve with each and every one of you...let's take the fight to the enemy...ready aim...go "Team McConnell".... "Air Power."