Air power is key to US military capabilities in Asia Khalilzad and Lesser 98 (Zalmay and Ian, Senior Researchers – Rand, “Sources of Conflict in the 21st Century,” http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR897/MR897.chap3.pdf)
The first key implication derived from the analysis of trends in Asia suggests that American air and space power will continue to remain critical for conventional and unconventional deterrence in Asia.This argument is justified by the fact that several subregions of the continent still harbor the potential for full-scale conventional war. This potential is most conspicuous on the Korean peninsula and, to a lesser degree, in South Asia, the Persian Gulf, and the South China Sea. In some of these areas, such as Korea and the Persian Gulf, the United States has clear treaty obligations and, therefore, has preplanned the use of air power should contingencies arise. U.S. Air Force assets could also be called upon for operations in some of these other areas.In almost all these cases, U.S. air power would be at the forefront of an American politico-military response because (a) of the vast distances on the Asian continent; (b) the diverse range of operational platforms available to the U.S. Air Force, a capability unmatched by any other country or service; (c) the possible unavailability of naval assets in close proximity, particularly in the context of surprise contingencies; and (d) the heavy payload that can be carried by U.S. Air Force platforms. These platforms can exploit speed, reach, and high operating tempos to sustain continual operations until the political objectives are secured.The entire range of warfighting capability—fighters, bombers, electronic warfare (EW), suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD), combat support platforms such as AWACS and J-STARS, and tankers—are relevant in the Asia-Pacific region, because many of the regional contingencies will involve armed operations against large, fairly modern, conventional forces,most of which are built around large land armies, as is the case in Korea, China-Taiwan, India-Pakistan,and the Persian Gulf.
Air Power is key to military ground capabilities Peck 7(General Allen G Peck, Air Force Institute of Technology, Airpower’s Crucial Role in Irregular Warfare, http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj07/sum07 /peck.html)
Although the capabilities and effects that America’s airpower brings to the fight are not as visible to the casual observer as the maneuvers of ground forces, airpower (including operations in the air, space, and cyberspace domains) remains an invaluable enabler for those forces. Airpower can also serve as a powerful Irregular Warfare capability in its own right, as it did early in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. No one should dismiss IW as falling strictly within the purview of ground or special operations forces. Understanding the IW environment and, in particular, airpower’s immense contributions is critical for America’s future Air Force leaders, who will prove instrumental in ensuring that the service continues adapting to an ever-changing enemy and bringing relevant capabilities to bear in an ever-changing fight.
Defense !—F-35—Air Power – Heg
Air power key to US military power Khalilzad and Shapiro 2 (Zalmay, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jeremy, RAND, Ph.D. candidate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.A., Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, “United State Air and Space Power in the 21st Century,”)
Aerospace power has become the archetypal expression of the U.S. ability to project force in the modern world. Throughout the world, U.S. aerospace power—and thus, the U.S. Air Force (USAF)—plays a critical, and often primary, role in securing U.S. interests, in promoting American values, and in protecting human rights. While the
USAF has had significant success in employing aerospace power in the recent past, emerging trends in international relations, in technology, and in our own domestic society will create a wide variety of new challenges and new opportunities for U.S. aerospace power. Meeting these challenges and exploiting these opportunities willrequire careful planning, wise investments, and thoughtful training, as well as difficult cultural adaptations within the USAF. This book identifies many of these challenges and opportunities in a wide variety of issue areas and assesses the degree to which the USAF is prepared to meet them.
Air Force transformation is key to operational dominance in the future
Johnson`7((David E., Ph.D. and M.A. in history, Duke University; M.S., Industrial College of the Armed Forces; M.M.A.S., U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; B.A., Trinity University, RAND, “Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Role of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post-Cold War Era,” EB, http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG405-1.sum.pdf)
Nevertheless, the effectiveness of air power at the operational level of war is clear. Also clear is that the United States must prepare for potentially sterner tests than it has faced since the end of the Cold War. It is also obvious that U.S. military transformation plans and programs to meet the challenges of the future must reflect the reality that U.S. air forces have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to dominate adversaries at the operational level of warfighting and the fact that Army deep attack systems—in the current inventory or that planned for the future—are not adequate to the task of shaping the large ground AOs called for in Army doctrine. Consequently, the task of shaping the theater— strategically and operationally—should be an air component function, and joint and service doctrines and programs should change accordingly. However, a clear transformation challenge for the United States remains: to ensure that air power can operate effectively against future, first-class opponents, who will undoubtedly pose significantly more formidable challenges to its employment than has been the case in the post–Cold War conflicts discussed in this study.