The challenge of transforming the US Air Force into a truly integrated aerospace force is a pressing issue for our service. In Toward an Air and Space Force: Naval Aviation and the Implications for Space Power, Lt Col Mark P. Jelonek uses the historical analogy of the US Navy's integration of aviation during the interwar period as a possible model for the comprehensive integration of space into the operational Air Force.
Defining integration as "the evolutionary process by which a new technology (aviation in the Navy and space power in the Air Force) becomes an inseparable part of the military service," Colonel Jelonek describes the various policies pursued by the sea service to integrate aviation into the fleet. He contends that five policies proved indispensable to that process:
(1) promoting broad understanding of aviation within the naval establishment;
(2) demonstrating that aviation enhanced rather than threatened the battleship's place as the premier naval weapons system of the day;
(3) creating a career path that allowed aviators to attain senior rank;
(4) ensuring that aviators remained fully conversant with surface operations; and
(5) incorporating aviation into naval war games.
Arguing that similar practices could facilitate metamorphosis of the Air Force into a true air and space force, Jelonek employs the integration policies pursued by the interwar Navy (appropriately rephrased for contemporary airmen) as a device for measuring the Air Force's progress in integrating space into its own operational mainstream. He finds such progress has been uneven at best and cites as major impediments the lack of an official plan for air-space integration, the suspect (to aviators) operational credibility of many space officers, and an institutional tendency to mistake technological adaptation for organizational transformation. The author's proposals for overcoming these difficulties and for promoting the full integration of space power—and space power practitioners—merit serious reflection.
Contents: Chapter 1 - Introduction * Chapter 2 - Propriety of Historical Analogy * Chapter 3 - Naval Aviation Integration Policies * Chapter 4 - Space Integration Policies and the Naval Analogy * Chapter 5 - Summary and Recommendations