(Editor’s note: Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, President Zelensky has all but begged for NATO and the US to establish a No-Fly Zone over his country’s airspace to prevent the Russian air force from establishing air dominance over the country.  Thus far, both the US and NATO have declined. We invited retired Air Force Lt Gen David Deptula to give us his views on whether such a No-Fly Zone could be established and what it would take in terms of air assets.  Lt Gen Deptula is imminently qualified to offer his views on this vital subject.  He was the principal attack planner for Operation Desert Storm’s air campaign in 1991, the commander of no-fly-zone operations over Iraq in the late 1990s; director of the air campaign over Afghanistan in 2001 and was twice a joint task force commander.

He is a fighter pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours–400 in combat–including multiple command assignments in the F-15. He was the Air Force’s first three-star chief of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). He has also served on two congressional commissions outlining America’s future defense.  Lt Gen Deptula is a graduate of the University of Virginia.)


A No-Fly Zone Means Direct and Sustained Combat With an Adversary

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, perhaps the most repeated request by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for assistance in the defense of his country against Russia’s invasion, is for the stand-up of a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Many people assume that somehow a no-fly zone is a relatively risk-free and simple means to disperse an enemy from conducting hostile operations over a particular area of interest—nothing could be further from reality.