Episode 1 – Discovering the Aerospace Advantage

Episode Summary

In Episode 1 of The Aerospace Advantage, Baum lays out the case for aerospace power. Baum starts by speaking with Lt Gen (Ret) David Deptula to explain the importance of aerospace power. He then interviews the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Executive Director Douglas Birkey to fully develop the fundamental theories of aerospace power. Birkey covers the history of aerospace theory and leads us to today’s problem of an aging, small aircraft fleet and an underfunded Space Force. Baum ends the episode discussing how the United States is taking these challenges head-on.

Full Topic Guide

Episode 1 of the Aerospace Advantage aims to foster a greater appreciation for aerospace power’s unique role in achieving national security objectives in a highly effective, sustainable fashion. After a brief introduction of our host John “Slick” Baum and his background, the show starts off laying a broad overview of the Air Force and Space Force’s history, and the most recent strategic level guidance from the two force’s leaders Gen CQ Brown and Gen Raymond. 

John “Slick” Baum makes the case that the Airforce is too old and spread too thinly to effectively achieve the goal of providing overwhelming force and aerospace dominance in a future conflict. Slick talks with Lt Gen (ret.) David Deptula on his take on the current state of the force and to reinforce the concept that the aerospace domains are key to the outcome of future wars. 

Slick then interviews Mitchell Institute Executive Director Douglas Birkey to understand the fundamental theories of aerospace power and why they are critical in the U.S. way of conducting warfare. Doug details the strategic advantages of speed and distance that makes the aerospace domains uniquely different from the surface domains. He elaborates on the foundations of aerospace warfighting theory, and how aerospace warfare has evolved from World War 2, the Gulf War, and into today’s conflicts. Doug also elaborates on some of the non-kinetic effects capabilities that aerospace power provides to U.S. arsenal, including airlift and C4ISR.

The episode wraps with Slick summarizing the interviews and approaching the threat landscape that U.S. aerospace power faces. He lays out the challenges that the different threat actors, including near-peer competitors such as China and Russia, bring in the aerospace domains and explains the internal struggle to bring the aging fleets up-to-date and to fund the Space Force.

The episode wraps with a warm-up to the second episode in which fighter pilot Heather “Lucky” Penney and bomber pilot Mark “Gonzo” Gunzinger will explain the history leading to the current dilapidated state of the Air and Space Forces.

Time Marks

01:20 – Host John “Slick” Baum background

04:08 – Aerospace Power’s current state of play and importance to the military

11:01 – General Deptula on the threats the Air Force and Space Force face today

13:17 – Interview with Doug Birkey, Executive Director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

25:54 – Slick describes the current state of play and gives an overview of the Aerospace Advantage podcast future content

29:30 – Episode 1 outro


Host: Lt Col John “Slick” Baum, USAF, ret.

Producer: Daniel C. Rice

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF, ret.

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