Impact Of Research And Development On Nigerian Air Force Operations: Journey So Far
I consider it an honour and privilege to be invited to deliver a lecture to the participants of Senior Executive Course 39. I therefore express my appreciation to the Acting Director General and staff of this Institute for the honour. I am particularly delighted that the theme of this year’s training cycle is “Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the Development of Agricultural and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria”. I must admit that this theme could not have been more apt given that at this time in our nation’s developmental efforts, we are looking inwards to find alternative sources of income as well as the full capacity to feed our teeming
population. Invariably, the attainment of these important national strategic goals would in large part enhance our national security. The Institute had proposed the topic Impact of Science and Technology on National Defence and Security: The Nigerian Air Force Perspective. However, I have modified today’s presentation to read “The Impact of Research and Development on Nigerian Air Force Operations.” The modification of this topic will therefore, afford me the opportunity to share with this august gathering, how the Nigerian Air Force has been innovating locally to maintain its array of platforms, weapon systems and associated equipment for effective service delivery to the nation.
2. Over centuries, great power states have founded their national security on leadership in science and technology. This leadership, coupled with the capacity to innovate and ability to translate new ideas into deployable weapons, systems, and concepts of operation, has long ensured military advantage for these states. Whereas, Nigeria’s security interests rely on more than military advantage, science, technology and innovation is essential to advancing these interests. Moreover, a new generation of threats and opportunities has emerged, and is evolving in unprecedented ways. Accordingly, Nigeria’s national security and Science, Technology and Innovation enterprise must continue to evolve to meet these emerging threats and challenges.
3. Within the military sphere, Science, Technology and Innovation enterprise has nurtured transformative technologies, such as stealth technology, integrated command and control systems, and precision-guided munitions, all designed to counter peer adversaries in large scale military conflicts. Today, emerging threats like cyber-attacks, improvised weapons, and the rise of non-state actors which were not anticipated in the design of the national security Science, Technology and Innovation enterprise, portend the need for deeper, holistic, and efficient collaboration in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation, aimed at securing national interests. Arguably, the best science and technology potential is often found outside the national security Science, Technology and Innovation enterprise, with a preponderance of such potential resident in academic and commercial sectors. Indeed, maintaining military technology overmatch is a vital national security objective. However, in contemporary times, this overmatch needs to be developed in conjunction with the private sector in ways that harness ingenious development in furtherance of economic prosperity and national security.
4. I am proud to state that the Nigerian Air Force is harnessing the immense benefits of Science, Technology and Innovation to improve its operational efficiency. It is against this backdrop that I will be speaking on the “Impact of Research and Development on Nigerian Air Force Operations: The Journey So Far.”
5. The aim of this presentation therefore, is to highlight the impact of the Research and Development in enhancing Nigerian Air Force operational capability.
6. To achieve this aim, I shall cover the following:
a. Conceptual Clarifications.
And followed by
b. Threat Analysis.
Then I shall look at
c. National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation and the Nigerian Air Force.
d. Impact of Research and Development on Nigerian Air Force Operational Efficiency.
e. Challenges to Research and Development in the Nigerian Air Force.
I will then consider
f. Future Deliverables.
I shall begin with conceptual clarifications.
7. The concepts to be clarified in this presentation are science, technology, innovation and security. Let me begin with science.
8. The influence of science on military thought and practice dates back to the inception of the scientific revolution in the late sixteenth century. Since then, science and warfare have maintained a two-way traffic: where military imperatives stimulate scientific discoveries; and military men inspired by the formidable successes of modern science, utilize science to shape the battlefield in ways that effectively predict and provide certainty as well as impose order over chaos. Science is always a collective enterprise conducted within a scientific community which shares and produces the ideas, norms and practices that constitute science. In order for any scientific truth to gain universal or even widespread acceptance beyond its communities of enterprise, it must therefore necessarily be socially and culturally reproduced and validated. This entails presenting its core ideas and notions in terms that are coherent and comprehensible to the non-initiated, generally expressed through the medium of language but also possibly in a visual or experimental fashion. In this presentation therefore, science means the process through which reality is constructed so as to order it.
Next is Technology
9. Tools and technical artefacts have always existed as necessary requisites of human civilization. However, they had previously remained distinct from the theoretical contemplation of natures’ laws. The Belgian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate, Ilya Prigogine observes that, the distinction between theoretical thinking and technological activity was established in development of natural philosophy espoused by the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. In this regard, whereas science seeks to rationally understand natural processes to utilize them effectively, technology seeks to deceive nature by creating effects extraneous to “natural order” of things. For the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, “the essence of technology is to utilize science to dominate nature, to convert the universe into an undifferentiated “standing reserve” available to be put to work when needed.” Indeed, while science provides a methodological disposition to problem solving and informs our conceptions of how the world works, it has through its conceptual frameworks led to the development and diffusion of technology. Accordingly, this presentation adopts technology as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.
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