Chief's intent

Air Marshal Rob Chipman, AM, CSC

Air Marshal Rob Chipman, AM, CSC was appointed Chief of Air Force in July 2022. He has outlined his intentions for the Air Force during his tenure.

04 August 2022​

For many decades Air Force has generated and delivered air and space power with sufficient strategic warning time to adjust to emerging security challenges. Australia engaged in conflict well outside our region, in a capacity and operational tempo appropriate to our force structure. Today, we are engaged in competition with reduced warning time to conflict, meaning we must prepare for military operations in the Indo-Pacific now, and expedite our efforts to preserve military advantage. 

Air Force’s role in delivering air and space power to generate strategic effect is outlined in the Air Force Strategy (AFSTRAT). AFSTRAT connects Air Force strategy and planning to broader Defence and national strategic guidance, ensuring the generation and employment of air and space power remains aligned and integrated with the joint force, across Government and with our allies and partners in pursuit of our national interests. I'm committed to AFSTRAT and will pursue its realisation with urgency. 

Air Force’s mission is to prepare air and space power in order to enable the joint force in peace and war; protecting our sovereignty, resisting coercion and exercising our rights under international law. To achieve our mission, Air Force must be ready, resilient, and resourceful—these are my priorities. 

Ready 

Our preparation must be purposeful and consistent, such that we are ready to contribute credible air and space power. We will focus our effort in the Indo-Pacific, with capability to operate further afield if required. We will strengthen our relationships with allies and partners for strategic effect. Our ability to deliver air and space power is dependent on and enhanced by the authentic relationships we all build as ambassadors for our Air Force, and our nation. 

Our readiness demands tactical excellence in high-end warfighting, integrated vertically and horizontally throughout the joint force and with our key allies and partners. It also demands we recognise air and space power contributions to shaping our environment, deterring our adversaries, and responding with credible military force across the spectrum of strategic competition. 

Readiness requires us to focus on delivering capability today while simultaneously investing in our capability for the future force; it cannot be one at the expense of the other—we must manage strategic risk over time. 

Central to our capability is our people. I am committed to growing and transforming our workforce to meet the challenges of the future. Air Force will confront our recruitment and retention challenges by optimising our offer for all aviators, and as importantly, by creating a work environment that inspires our aviators to stay. Air Force will exemplify One Defence values and behaviours to create an inclusive and respectful environment where all Australians can thrive. 

Resilient 

Air Force must understand our exposure to critical vulnerabilities and develop plans to compete and fight with degraded systems in contested environments.

We will strengthen our resilience in force design, by prioritising and where possible accelerating our investment in key capabilities. We will strengthen our resilience in force generation through operational planning and tactics development. And we will strengthen our resilience in force employment, at all levels, to enhance our survivability and capacity to fight through the dislocations of all domain conflict. Air Force will develop plans to protect our Air Bases and critical supply lines, and if necessary find alternate pathways to sustain air and space power that are less vulnerable to disruption. 

Air Force will strengthen resilience by prioritising and eliminating non-essential work wherever possible. We must manage periods of surge and respite whilst continuing to deliver air and space power. We will continue to review the Air Force organisational structure to ensure Air Force can achieve our operational priorities now and in the future. 

Air Force will also contribute to our whole-of-government efforts reduce our impact on the environment and manage the consequences of climate change. We will seek operational efficiencies and consider new technologies such as green energy and synthetic fuels, in collaboration with our allies and partners, to minimise our footprint on the environment. This will require a deliberate, risk-based approach that is climate conscious, but does not compromise our ability to deliver air and space power. 

Resourceful 

The pace and scale of military modernisation within our region has exceeded expectations. The development and militarisation of advanced technologies and cyber capabilities has eroded our capability advantage. Our task is to strengthen our readiness and resilience in response to this challenging strategic context. 

Our AFSTRAT encourages all aviators to be innovative and resourceful in delivering air and space power. We must look upon these strategic challenges as speed bumps, not road blocks. In some cases, we will pursue strategies that expedite planned upgrades to our capability or exploit alternate innovative technical solutions. At other times, our resourcefulness will require interim, risk-informed operational and tactical workarounds. I need the commitment of all aviators to remain resourceful and generate the air and space power Australia needs to fight and win. 

These challenges are integrated, complex and significant, but I am confident we can meet them together. For our first 100 years our Air Force has a proud history of overcoming extraordinary challenges and delivering air and space power for national, partner and alliance effect through teaming. This has demanded considerable courage, dedication and skill—as it will again from all of us. 

Per Ardua ad Astra.