Lecture by Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force on the use of air power in complex counter-insurgency operations.
The Lord Trenchard Memorial Lecture 2007, to be given by Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Air Force will examine the use of air power in complex counter-insurgency operations.
The popular perception of the RAF's doctrinal position in the 1920s is that it focussed on the strategic use of air power: however it also considered, practised and wrote a great deal on counter-insurgency, with Lord Trenchard playing a significant role in its development. Whilst the relationship between the Army and the Air Force in the 1920s might have been strained in Whitehall, at a working level it rapidly became apparent that only a combined strategy using the capabilities of both air and land forces to best effect would achieve the desired results.
The RAF's experience during the early twentieth century in this field, in places like Somaliland, Iraq and Afghanistan, will therefore be considered in the light of contemporary operations. While the technology may have changed, the human element that is central to any insurgency arguably has not.