According to the Spanish Constitution, the mission of the Armed Forces is to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of Spain, to defend its territorial integrity and to enforce constitutional law.
The Parliament Act regulating the basic criteria for National Defence and Military Organization provides that "The Spanish Air Force is the organization mainly responsible for the air defence of the territory and for the control of airspace of national sovereignty", and its specific mission is the development of the joint strategy within the scope determined by its own resources and forms of action.
With the progress and technological development, Aerospace Power sits deeper and deeper as a cornerstone of Security and Defence. The control of an increasingly busy airspace, with both piloted aircraft (directly or remotely) and satellites, where the speed of air assets, aircraft and missiles is also increasing, requiring shorter and shorter response times, is now becoming one of the Air Force’s most complex missions.
The possibility to use many of these platforms for terrorists or intelligence purposes obliges us, in these times of peace, to ensure the security of that airspace by way of permanent monitoring, around the clock, without interfering with civil aviation. Moreover, although it is likely that the Air Force will continue to ensure security and defence in international operations abroad, being ready for the most demanding scenario: the defence of our own country and interests, wherever they are, should remain the priority.
Both scenarios, although totally different, require capabilities of monitoring and early warning, immediate reaction and appropriate response at strategic, operational and tactical levels; levels at which airpower can contribute simultaneously and in parallel.
The Air Force must make a sustained effort to convey to the nation's political and social institutions that its capabilities are indispensable to carryout the National Security Strategy determined by the Government.
We face times of rapid change, with little time for decision making, which requires unity of criteria and action, as well as specific capacity to integrate in joint operations, whether national or combined, promptly and appropriately requiring streamlined, uniform, interoperable and powerful resources and the availability of powerful resources in air Command and Control structures.
The integration of new weapons systems, such as those used in remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) of new systems and safety procedures, such as those related to information systems and communication; of improved ground and flight simulation centres to lower the cost of training; interoperability of our command and control systems at different levels; the establishment of an interoperable and permanent structures able to effectively manage the Air Tactical Intelligence; maintaining leadership in the space sector; enhancement of joint action and special air operations; as well as increased security measures of our facilities and passive air defence, along with the necessary protection against attacks (Cyber), are just some of the challenges that we face.
In addition, to achieve its political objectives, the National Security Strategy requires a comprehensive approach that requires the Air Force to participate more in diplomatic and economic areas. We will therefore be able to work more closely with organizations in other ministries, and even with non-governmental organizations, all the while pursuing a more efficient action from the State.