Regional Security and Air and Space Power

Article excerpt

AS THIS ISSUE of ASPJ goes to press, the strategic and operational situation in much of the world has changed once again. The challenges to US security and interests are simultaneously real, intense, and ill defined. US forces find themselves engaging a wide spectrum of military tasks from training to humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, small-scale contingency operations, combat, and both conventional and nuclear deterrence missions. All of these tasks occur against the backdrop of the ongoing global war on terrorism, tensions on the Korean peninsula, and the search for a peace process in the Middle East. The challenges that characterize this environment compel air and space power professionals to be intimately familiar with security issues in nearly every region. Air and space power's global reach and the imperative of establishing what Gen Gregory S. Martin calls "geopresence" provide the rationale for our focus on regional-security issues as seen from an air and space power perspective.

Each academic year, the Air War College class completes a Regional Studies course as part of the core resident curriculum. Faculty and students study the most important economic, social, strategic, military, and cultural issues within various regions. These seminars plan site visits to countries within their assigned regions to conduct firsthand research into relevant air and space power issues. The course culminates with a research paper that captures lessons from the classroom and the onsite visits. In this issue we include some of those students' papers to share with the rest of the Air Force the insights they gleaned from such an intense experience.

Although we can publish only a small selection of the findings from this year's Regional Studies program, what emerges is an impression of the complexity that challenges policy makers daily. The daunting problems of security, terrorism, internal strife, disease, and humanitarian relief that confront African nations provide airmen the impetus to consider how to plan for access and for the capabilities that forces may require to participate in rapidly changing conditions on that continent. …