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Alison J. Williams

Military geography has traditionally focused on the role, structure, operation, personnel and activities of national armies. Looking across military landscapes, considering how army units are staffed, and analysing how platoons, regiments and brigades operate has been at the heart of military geographies and wider social science research on our armed forces for decades. This chapter calls for a reorientation of these engagements to consider the lighter blue element of national military forces: that is, our air forces and the spaces in which they operate. Drawing on recent work in political and social geographies, the chapter suggests that military geographies would be strengthened through embracing ideas about aeromobilities, vertical geopolitics and the volumetric battlespace. To do this, the chapter discusses recent scholarship from geographers and related social scientists on the use of drone warfare, the performance and maintenance of military airspaces, and the projection of air power beyond state boundaries.

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Laura H. Malinin, Alison Williams and Katharine Leigh