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Air Space and Its Power

Updated on March 19, 2013

Fundamental Characteristics of Air Power

In a layman’s language air space can be defined as the part of the atmosphere that is above the earth’s surface including the water bodies. In other words, regarding to the countries, it is the part of the atmosphere above a country’s territories. This space includes the space above the water masses under that country’s territory. It is also important to note here that a country is responsible for controlling the whole part of the atmosphere falling within its territories. I will hereby elaborate what the air power is and its fundamental tenets; the moral problems associated with air warfare and how the accuracy of precision has changed the way these problems are dealt with. Additionally, the paper will make a consideration of whether Instant Thunder was a vindication of the old concept of precision bombing; It will also explain what urban stability operations are and whether the Fallujah Model represents the next stage in the evolution of air power; and finally it evaluates whether space power has the potential to becoming more than an enabler in the projection of the United States’ capabilities besides weighing the truth in the claim that Desert Storm was the first “space war”.

Air Power and its Fundamental Characteristics

Air power according to the reading is the ability to control the air space using aircrafts in a bid to ensuring that there is security within the territorial boundaries of a country. It can also be defined as the exploitation of the air space and air environments with an objective of achieving maximum security for the peoples of a particular country using all means that are able to cruise through the air medium including but not limited to aircrafts, spaceships among others. Cox and Gray explain that air power is usually harnessed by the military of a particular nation who have undergone thorough and better understanding of the air space, the equipment used for war in the air more especially aircrafts, spaceships and how to use the equipment thoroughly well for them to be well suited for that purpose. The fundamental tenets of air power include but are not limited to range, elevation and speed. Based on these characteristics, the responsiveness of a country with air power to the disturbance of a nation’s security is guaranteed to a certain extent. To a very large extent of about 85%, air power can greatly be utilized through the destruction of enemy factories, infrastructure and factories by a capable independent air force as that weakens the supply base of the enemy breaking his will for war hence surrenders.

Moral Problems Associated with Air Warfare

There are a number of moral problems associated with air warfare including but not limited to the destabilization of health systems, blockage of basic infrastructure by rubles resulting from bombings, and destruction of peoples’ homes and areas of business. In addition to that, air warfare causes such problems as displacements of people from the areas where they had been established as their homes and workplaces besides causing the deaths of a large number of civilians in the process of pursuit for the enemy. Air warfare is air warfare whether there is accuracy of precision bombing or not. Even with the introduction of the technology of accuracy in precision bombing, incidences leading to moral associated problems have still been reported with cases of killing of civilians in the process of searching for the enemy, especially terrorists and insurgents leading in the list, and the other related problems of fear and disorientation of infrastructure and health systems.

Instant Thunder and Role of Air Power

Designed by the Colonel John Warden, Instant Thunder Operation was a plan by the US military to strike overwhelmingly the Iraq military with minimized killing of the civilians as well as the Americans. The Instant Thunder Operation therefore refers to the air strike that was used by the U.S during the Gulf War and it used a five ring model of intellectualism by John Warden. Its major aim according to Mahnken (2007) was to minimize the number of civilian loss as much as possible. A close examination of this plan reveals that it had similar objectives to those of the accuracy in precision bombing whose plan is aimed at ensuring minimized civilian loss during the bombing act. Therefore it can be concluded that the Instant Thunder is a vindication of the old concept of precision bombing whereby the technology finally caught up with the doctrine. Air power has neither been exaggerated nor misunderstood because the approximations of impact loss before an action have almost always been accurate or close to true. Therefore air power plays a greater role in destroying the enemy or in making him surrender his will to continue in the war like the case with Iraq and many other cases where air power has shown great results.

Urban Stability Operations and the Fallujah Model

Urban stability operations are the involvement of the military to restore peace and order in urban areas and their outskirts that have suffered a disorder or conflict. According to Mahnken (2007), the armed forces come in and conduct the urban stability operations coupled sometimes with support operations specifically to resolve conflict, deter war, strengthen democratic processes and promote peace among other reasons. The success of the urban stability operations and support in most cases comes when there is proper coordination between the military and the civilians and other nonmilitary organizations because this is not a matter of air power alone and where the armed forces tried it alone, great failure has been reported. However air surveillance continues while the process is in progress. Turning on to the Fallujah case, Szayna and Arroyo (2009) explain that it was not only the air power that led to the success in bringing under control Fallujah but also the integration of the civilian agencies in the stability operations. Thus Fallujah serves as a best example of urban stability operations and a next stage in the evolution of air power.

Space Power and United States Empowerment

Space power has a great potential to become more than an enabler in the projection of United States’ capabilities because of the ongoing research and fast advancements in technology (Jones, 2009). Also considering the success that the U.S has had in bringing down Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden recently using advanced technology and other means, it implies that space power will be a great enabler to the U.S capabilities. Call (2009), though indirectly, affirms that the Operation Desert Storm also popularly known as “The Mother of All Battles” can be rated as the first of the “space wars” as that name suggests.


Air power is a powerful war tool used in bringing down the adversary to his knees in surrender.


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