Synopses & Reviews
This landmark study examines six major air campaigns in a search for lessons learned that might be applied in the planning of future joint operations.
With the current downsizing of the U.S. military putting a premium on joint response to threats, this landmark study of joint U.S. air operations over the past fifty years provides timely information on a topic of vital concern. The most comprehensive single-volume discussion available, it examines six major air campaigns - Midway, the Solomon Islands, Korea, Vietnam, El Dorado Canyon (Libya), and Desert Storm - in a search for lessons learned that might be applied in the planning and organizing of future joint operations. The focus of the book is on the differences - at times bitter acrimony - among the services on the control and employment of theater air forces. With each service having an "air force" of its own, each with a distinctive doctrine, the study confirms that their views are often diametrically opposite and that joint doctrine has been slow to evolve. The authors, RAND Corporation analysts, are refreshingly objective and clear in addressing the problems and issues that continue to hamper effective joint air operations but point to the progress shown in Desert Storm, as indicated by their interviews with some fifty airmen, planners, and major commanders of the operation. Their recommendations for the future take advantage of the diversity inherent in U.S. air power while minimizing sources of disharmony. Based on a RAND study published in 1991, this book has been expanded and revised to appeal to a broader audience and promises to stimulate discussion and debate on how to optimize the effectiveness of U.S. forces facing cuts in funding. It is must reading not only for military professionals but for military history enthusiasts and everyone interested in the nature ofAmerica's future air battles.