Following this week’s celebration of the Royal Australian Air Force’s 100 years of service, we at The Central Blue are turning our attention to the next 100 years.
It’s a tall order with a wide scope of possibilities that are perhaps more the domain of science fiction. Undoubtedly the next century to 2121 will present all sorts of possibilities, threats and norms: Mobile phones replaced with brain and cornea implants; military systems 3D printed at scale; Antarctica a federated State; nuclear fusion powering corporate colonies on the Moon.
The RAAF as part of the Joint Force will need to adapt and evolve with possible futures.
It’s a topic the team feels is ripe for creative thinking about the future. Whether considering new warfighting concepts, to ideas about improving organisational design, we’re encouraging wide and divergent thinking – perhaps even an opportunity to indulge in some informed sci-fi writing!
Some themes on which contributors may wish to write might include:
What will the RAAF look like in 2121?
What lessons from the past 100 years can we apply to the next 100?
How do we build and grow people for the future Force?
How can the miniaturization of nuclear fusion be best exploited?
How would the RAAF respond to a space-borne aggressor?
How does the RAAF deal with ‘first contact’?
How does the Air Force continue to evolve itself to embed technical R&D, operational creativity and organisational agility deeper into its DNA?
What will our population base be able to support?
Will there be a need for an atmospheric flying force?
How does the Air Force work with the defence industry of the future – will it be traditional primes, or an ever-changing landscape of technology new starts?
Will there be an Air Force in 2121? Will it be subsumed into one military force organisation?
How does the Air Force become both a fighting and an intellectual force?
Will there be regional force groups across nations and partners?
What will the legal framework for future conflict look like?
What will be more integrated in the military-civil dimension? What will be more distinctive?
Air Force, or Grey Force?
How does the capability lifecycle look in 2121?
How does the Air Force manage administrative, compliance and resource allocation in a new way?
We hope these suggestions provide some food for thought and prompt some discussion. We would love to hear your ideas on what issues should be explored as part of the #AirForce2121 series.
The #AirForce2121 series will also form the basis for the 2021 Dr Alan Stephens Air Power Literary Prize. In partnership with The Central Blue, The Williams Foundation will award a A$500 prize for the best essay or article discussing the author's perspectives on #AirForce2121.
The winning essay or article will be announced on The Williams Foundation website in November 2021 to coincide with the Avalon Airshow.