More at the Diplomat on airpower and “soft power”:
The Navy’s vision of smart diplomacy can integrate and accommodate the growth of Chinese maritime power, depending on how responsibly China decides to use that power. The Air Force’s vision focuses primarily on the development of relationships with Pacific states that will facilitate the use of hard power in an effort to deter and, if necessary, defeat China. The chief end of diplomacy, for the Air Force, remains enabling U.S. airpower to strike and destroy the enemy through the most efficient means possible, a process requiring the development of bilateral relations with strategically located nations. For the Navy, diplomacy means developing an effective way to manage the maritime commons, an inherently multilateral task. One of these is about “soft power.” The other is not.