Accession Number : ADA187025


Title :   Air Power and Limited War: An Analysis of the Air Campaigns against North Vietnam as Instruments of National Policy


Descriptive Note : Doctoral thesis


Corporate Author : AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH


Personal Author(s) : Clodfelter, Mark A


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a187025.pdf


Report Date : Jan 1987


Pagination or Media Count : 317


Abstract : A Clausewitzian evaluation of the three American air campaigns against North Vietnam (Rolling Thunder March 1965--October 1986; Linebacker I, May-- October 1972; and Linebacker II, December 1972) reveals that they differed significantly in their effectiveness as political instruments. Rolling Thunder contributed little towards President Lyndon Johnson's goal of an independent, stable, non-Communist South Vietnam. Limiting the air campaign's effectiveness were: Johnson's political controls on bombing, which stemmed from disparate objectives that restrained the application of military force; civilian leaders' failure to agree on the campaign's purpose; the air chiefs' persistent belief that destroying vital industries would ultimately destroy an enemy's capability and will fight; the reluctance of both civilian and military leaders to target civilians; the guerrilla nature of the Southern war prior to 1968, which produced minimal external logistical requirements for Communist forces; the inefficient military management of the air war; and the monsoons that hampered flying for six months each year. President Richard Nixon's goal in Vietnam was an American withdrawal that did not abandon the South to an imminent Communist takeover. His two Linebacker campaigns helped achieve this objective. Nixon's bombing succeeded as a political tool for a number of reasons.


Descriptors :   *POLITICAL SCIENCE , *AIR POWER , *LIMITED WARFARE , MILITARY OPERATIONS , CONTROL , MILITARY PERSONNEL , WARFARE , COMBAT EFFECTIVENESS , MILITARY STRATEGY , INDUSTRIES , LEADERSHIP , MANAGEMENT , WEATHER , FAILURE , AIR STRIKES , CIVILIAN PERSONNEL , SOUTH(DIRECTION) , BOMBING , MONSOONS , GUERRILLA WARFARE , STRATEGIC BOMBING , NORTH VIETNAM , SOUTH VIETNAM


Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
      Fire Control and Bombing Systems


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE