Chief of the Air Staff’s Foreword

The Royal Air Force provides full-spectrum air and space power, professionally, effectively and efficiently. Outstanding people are at the heart of everything we do.

In many ways we are in an enviable position with air power in constantly high operational demand, a highly talented, trained and motivated work force, a strong reputation for excellence and safety, and an opportunity to celebrate a major milestone in our history with our Centenary in 2018. On top of this, the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015 has given us the opportunity to grow the Royal Air Force for the first time in generations.

Our immediate challenges are to sustain this enviable position and to exploit the rare opportunity we have been given to grow the Royal Air Force. Our longer term challenge is to ensure that we can continue to deliver decisive air power effect in an increasingly complex and contested environment.

The changes in the way Defence is managed over recent years mean that we now have much greater control over our budget and our future plans. So, although financial pressures will continue to bear on us, we now have greater freedom to reinvest savings we make back into the Royal Air Force.

The future will inevitably present us with new challenges as our enemies adapt and it becomes harder to retain and recruit the people we need, but we control the levers to address these problems.

The 2017 Royal Air Force Strategy sets out the future direction for the Royal Air Force. I own the Strategy but it has been developed by the Air Force Board Executive, in consultation with a wide group of people from both inside and outside the Royal Air Force. It is the Strategy for the Royal Air Force, but its principles apply just as much to those in the Royal Air Force working with the other Services to deliver wider Defence outputs.

The Strategy is intended to inspire, inform and cohere. The audience for the Strategy is therefore broad. The Strategy will be used to guide and prioritise the work of the Royal Air Force over the next few years.It should be understood by commanders and used by them to provide the unifying high-level purpose for their leadership. It will be the starting point for the Royal Air Force Command Plan and is coherent with National Security Strategy, Defence Strategic Direction and the Defence Plan.

The Strategy looks out to 2025 and beyond, although the detailed plans are focused on the next 5 years or so. Inevitably the world will not stand still and we will have to be flexible enough to adjust the details of the plan to ensure that it remains relevant and achievable, but the direction and approach will endure.

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Royal Air Force Strategy. Delivering a World-Class Air Force.

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