Drop Zone: OTH Interview with Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)

“[The United States] is still undergoing a transition from the industrial age of warfare to the information age. And, even if […] the military could achieve a fully functioning combat cloud today… And, what I mean by combat cloud is achieving a means of rapidly and seamlessly sharing information. It is highly unlikely that the military would make the most of that new system. The reality is the Department of Defense and its respective service branches are still aligned in an industrial age fashion with employment doctrine still based on traditional attrition and annihilation strategies of warfare.”

– Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)
Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies

In the coming weeks, Over the Horizon (OTH) will publish a multi-part interview with retired Lt Gen David A. Deptula, the Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Lt Gen Deptula retired from the United States Air Force in 2010 after 34 years of distinguished service. During his career, he accumulated over 3,000 flying hours, to include over 400 combat hours, and commanded at all levels. His last assignment was as the Air Force’s first deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) where he was charged with transforming America’s military ISR and drone enterprises. As the Headquarters Air Force’s A2 (HAF/A2), he orchestrated the largest increase in drone operations in Air Force history. Lt Gen Deptula is a renowned leader and pioneer in conceptualizing, planning, and executing national security operations from humanitarian assistance to major combat. Additionally, he was the principal attack planner for the Operation Desert Storm air campaign and commander of no-fly-zone operations over Iraq in the late 1990s. Later in his career, Lt Gen Deptula served as director of the air campaign over Afghanistan, commanded two joint task forces, and was the air commander for the 2005 South Asia tsunami relief operations. Lt Gen Deptula also served on two congressional commissions tasked to outline America’s future defense posture.

“Desired effects are going to be increasingly attained through the interaction of multiple systems, each one of them sharing information and empowering one another for a common purpose. This phenomenon is not restricted to an individual technology or system, nor isolated to a specific service, domain, or task… [Therefore], multi-domain operations is a good [way] to move us beyond joint operations to much more integrated, interdependent operations.”

– Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)
Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies

Throughout Lt Gen Deptula’s OTH interview, he offers a candid evaluation of the Air and Joint Forces’ abilities to most effectively conduct multi-domain operations now and in the future. Additionally, he shares his perspective on a host of topics ranging from Joint Force leadership development and the need to modernize the Goldwater-Nichols Act to insights on the employment of advanced “sensor-shooter” platforms and the unique, unparalleled strengths of American Airmen. Lt Gen Deptula’s refreshing, astute, and forthright insights constitute a call for Airpower transformation and reaffirm his role as one of America’s most important Airpower advocates and ISR thought leaders.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the US government.

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One thought on “Drop Zone: OTH Interview with Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)

  • October 13, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks! Great article. I think we are all well beyond the admiration of the problem set and looking to the action/DP of moving forward on solving it. Looking forward to the decisions vice the discussions as we move out.


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