Observations--Airpower Strategy in North Vietnam
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CARLISLE BARRACKS United States
Pagination or Media Count:
The air war in NVN was conducted without a well-defined strategy. Politically warped, indecisively applied and poorly targeted, tactical airpower provided little coerciveness to influence the enemys behavior. Unfortunately the credibility of tactical airpower has suffered to the degree that future contingencies may be detrimentally affected in spite of the more viable policies employed by the president in Spring 1972. International relations are a function of power politics. If a nation has power and at the same time declares a situation strategically vital to national interests, then the power should be applied quickly with well thought out objectives for each instrument of power employed. Military force applied quickly and decisively could well be more compassionate in the long run in terms of casualties and world opinion. It is suggested this could have been achieved in the Air War against North Vietnam by early application of an escalation type strategy incorporating controlled levels to include mining of both Haiphong Harbor and coastal waterways, severance of the main northern supply routes, destruction of NVN aircraft, the flooding of rice fields and interdiction against all key industry vital to the war effort.