Aerospace Nation: Want Better Results in Ukraine? Senior Leader Views

It’s no secret: whether considering the relative scale of Russia’s military power or confining rules of engagement, Ukraine’s fight to reclaim territory is challenging. Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.), Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and co-author Dr. Christopher Bowie released a new solution-oriented report on the conflict that includes a comprehensive, integrated approach for Ukraine to achieve air superiority. As part of this discussion, Gen Philip M. Breedlove, USAF (Ret.), the 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations; Gen Tod Wolters, USAF (Ret.), the 19th Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations; and Gen Jeffrey Harrigian, USAF (Ret.), former Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa, also offered their perspectives..

The report is informed by a recent trip Lt Gen Deptula took to Ukraine to help advise members of their military leadership team. Topics discussed center around strategy and concepts of operation, especially through an airpower lens. A largely ground-centric approach to the conflict has yielded a brutal attrition fight—one that numerically favors Russia. Airpower could provide Ukraine with the edge it needs to gain an advantage over the Russians, break through their front lines, and change the course of the war. Given what is at stake in this fight—especially with China watching—it is crucial to consider alternate courses of action.

With their combined decades of experience and given their unique perspectives on Ukraine, the conversation between Lt Gen Deptula, Gen Breedlove, Gen Harrigian, and Dr. Bowie was incredibly thought-provoking, insightful, and direct. Bottom line, it is time to start focusing on what it looks like to win, and not just avoid losing day-by-day.

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