LeMay doctrine center announces winner of its inaugural doctrine essay contest

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  • Air University Public Affairs

The Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Air University recently announced the winner of its inaugural Inspiring Doctrinal Innovation essay contest.

Maj. James Schmitt was selected among 25 other authors who submitted their works for consideration in the contest, which explored the prompt: “Discuss how specific USAF operational doctrine will need to change, or new doctrine adopted, due to the changing character of war expected over the next 10 years.”

Schmitt is an MQ-9 weapons officer and currently serves on the Headquarters Air Force staff. His paper, "No More Stovepipes: Unifying Air Operations Planning Doctrine to Enable Multirole Mission Success," asserts that current air planning and execution is overly segmented or “stovepiped,” and that the increasing multirole nature of airpower platforms can be harnessed through changing the existing approach to air planning and execution. He states, “Rapidly changing technology is producing multirole aircraft with more flexibility and capability than we have ever seen in warfare. This change in the character of war is making our current doctrine – reliant on mission-specific, isolated planning – insufficient to fully take advantage of new capabilities … . To employ advanced multirole aircraft to their full capability, doctrine must adjust both the joint and air component planning processes.”

The Air Force Doctrine Development division of The LeMay Center organized the essay contest, in partnership with MGMWERX and the Air University Innovation Accelerator, with the overall goal of getting Airmen interested in, and talking about, Air Force doctrine. The contest gets after the Air Force chief of staff’s call to “understand the lessons of doctrine, and then draw on them to innovate and incorporate concepts and technologies that will develop new best practices to shape future doctrine.”

“We were overwhelmed by the amount of interest in doctrine and want to thank all participants who submitted their innovative approaches to how Air Force doctrine can keep up with today’s reality of the rapidly changing character of war,” said Maj. Nicholas Underwood, with the LeMay Center.

Prizes were awarded for the top three essays, and the top essay was purchased from the author for $1,000 by Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The top three essays will be published in Air University’s Wild Blue Yonder online journal. The top 15 essays will also be available in Air University’s LeMay Papers publication in the fall. Following the success of the inaugural essay contest, the LeMay Center plans to host it biannually, with the next contest kicking off in September 2023.

Announcements regarding the Inspiring Doctrinal Innovation essay contest can be found at https://auix.org/inspiring-doctrinal-innovation-essay-contest/