BLUF

Hardened bases provide protection for ADF assets and can also act as a strategic deterrent

Summary

Aircraft on the ground are vulnerable to attack and need to be protected. The infamous WW2 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent attack on Darwin  (which should not have been a surprise) demonstrate the importance of base defence. At Pearl Harbor, aircraft were parked in rows to make them easier to protect from sabotage: see Damage to the Pearl Harbor Airfields. However, aircraft parked wingtip to wingtip are easier to destroy from the air. Palazzo argues that the 2020 Force Structure Plan only provides for effective base defence during periods of operations. The USAF estimates that it could lose 70% of aircraft at some overseas bases in an initial surprise attack. Palazzo’s key point is the ADF is preparing against cyber-attacks; however—it still needs to prepare itself for a conventional attack on its bases. Think about what we can learn from history regarding base protection.