Application of Air Power in Addressing Asymmetric Threats

            The Colombo Air Symposium 2017 is themed as “Application of Air Power in Addressing Asymmetric Threats”, highlighting the wider global concerns on this subject. Asymmetric threats derive when two or more uneven powers are in a battle. Unless the weaker party gets smarter and foresighted the victory of the stronger party is inevitable. This urges the weaker force to seek unconventional methods to reach their goals. Instead of taking a linear approach the asymmetric strategy unfurls at varying levels of a security system. The asymmetric threats impose impulsive and extreme pressures on most unexpected areas through highly unconventional attacks causing unpredictable disruptions to the normalcy of life. The combination of guerrilla tactics with the modern technology can easily stun a conventional military force for a considerable time and defeat it despite of the entire men and the weaponry it deploys to confront the weaker force.

            The experiences of devastating impact of asymmetry in attacks are as ancient as the human military history itself. Although ‘expecting the unexpected’ is the key concern of the defence and the security, the modern security threats have brought about most unexpected combinations of approaches to weaken a well equipped but a conventional security shield. Cyber warfare, urban warfare, illegal cartels of criminals, drug and human trafficking, illicit drone operations and ultimately the nuclear interests of the terrorists have urged the defence professionals to develop innovative, flexible and swift approaches to address possible asymmetric threats in the future. The air power, as the most significant hand of a military system has encountered with a constant challenge that requires greater preparedness and high-tech capabilities in order to provide effective assistance in an asymmetric threat situation.

            Terrorism is the ultimate materialization of asymmetric threats and Sri Lanka has experienced the atrocities of a 30 year long terrorism that did cost thousands of human lives and billions of national money. Sri Lanka has faced many challenges and problems during last three decades until the war was ended and country has become unified. The military coup attempts, communal riots, armed revolts, external military interventions, assassinations of heads of states and terrorist violence occur on regular basis and above all, long secessionist wars threaten to tear countries apart due to the fluctuating geopolitical atmosphere and the wide diversities of the people.

Henceforth, finding solutions to global issues together by all nations is essential in creating a wider mechanism to counter the dynamic nature of asymmetric threats and this year’s theme is an apt approach on this subject.

The Colombo Air Symposium 2017 will widely discuss on the application of air power in countering asymmetric threats under six perspectives through 12 researches presented by the experts and the scholars that represent diverse areas in the fields related to defence and air power.

  • New Landscape of Threats
  • Regional Landscape
  • Advanced Persistent Threats
  • Air Power and Small States
  • Drones; Friend or Foe
  • Air Power and Counter Terrorism