The RAAF’s Air Power Development Centre’s Approach to 2020 Air Power Conference

By Wing Commander Tharren Kingston-Lee

The Air Power Development Centre has demonstrated its agility delivering 2020’s Air Power Conference via video and digital platforms.

With the support of many of the original speakers, the Air Power Development Centre collected and distributed a range of videos covering topics from an historical perspective of great powers in our region with David Hunt’s entertaining reflections, through to Professor Paul Dibb’s contemporary analysis of Chinese and Russian activities in our region today.

“I’d like to thank our eminent speakers who have provided their thoughts and insights and have contributed to the 2020 Air Power Conference,” Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said.

“The change to a digital format has allowed us to be able to still have this very important conversation.

“Their flexibility to work with us to reschedule and deliver their presentations to a camera, instead of an auditorium of 1500 people, is the key to Air Force being able to deliver this year’s conference.”

Participants heard from Air Marshal Hupfeld who outlining his vision for Air Force.

Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell and Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty discussed the way in which Defence integrates with government to support national intent in our region.

Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force Air-Vice Marshal Andrew Clarke shared a Kiwi perspective on relationship building in the Pacific region.

The challenges of delivering the conference were significant.

The impact of COVID-19 and the requirement for social distancing and the geographic distances for many presenters meant the videos were captured on a range of devices and means – from professional studios to PC-based webcams.

Number 28 Squadron helped with filming, editing and finalising professional videos and the RAAF Digital Communications Team was instrumental in sharing the content through web, Youtube and various social communications channels.

“The team work and effort required to get this from an auditorium based conference to one where delegates and others could view the content on any electronic device was significant,” Air Power Development Centre Director Group Captain Jarrod Pendlebury said.

“Along the way, the APDC team were required to rapidly learn new ways of business to get the job done and I’m very proud of the product they’ve developed.

“This is but one example of the work underway in Air Power Development Centre to explore new ways of engaging with the global air and space power community.

“Our aim is to build a world-leading centre that is closely integrated with partners across the globe, delivering timely and insightful analysis exploring the utility of air and space power along the continuum from cooperation to conflict.”

Air Power Development Centre Director Group Captain Jarrod Pendlebury. Photo: Lauren Larking

In another first for Air Force, the professional development site, ‘The Runway’, produced its first podcast episode of Conversations on The Runway. By leveraging the 2020 Air Power Conference online initiative, they explored air and space power in the region, using a ‘Q&A’ approach.

“The podcast episode takes a fascinating look into the effects that national power levers and strategic thinking can have on air and space power in our region,” podcast executive producer  Squadron Leader Kath Kennedy said.

The episode will be available to access, share, and comment on from mid-June at

“I encourage all Air Force Personnel to access the videos, podcasts or transcripts from the 2020 Air Power Conference,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“The more informed we are about what is happening in our region, the better we are all able to contribute at the tactical and operational levels of our mission.”

The Air Power Development Centre hopes that these presentations are an informative, thought-provoking and engaging means to bring the 2020 Air Power Conference to life.

The Air Power Development Centre is currently working to deliver future monthly Air Power Seminars via webinar – stay tuned and don’t forget to register.

All 2020 Air Power Conference videos, podcasts and transcripts are available from the APDC website (

We have published several of the presentations from the Conference as well. 

How Defence and Air Power Contribute to National Effects: A View from the Top

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld on the Way Ahead for the RAAF in the Indo-Pacific Region

Reshaping Australian Strategy: Meeting the Challenge of the 21st Century Authoritarian Powers

How the Geopolitical Partnership between China and Russia Threatens the West

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld on the Way Ahead for the RAAF in the Indo-Pacific Region

Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Air Power in the Indo-Pacific Region

RAAF Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld’s Commanders Intent