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Irresistable: Service Masks, Goldwater-Nichols, and Overcoming Service Barriers to JFACC

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,10 Aug 2015,10 Jun 2016

Corporate Author:

US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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For the U.S. Air Force, control of all airpower was not just a service imperative, but it is raison detre. For the U.S. Navy, sister service control of carrier aviation was not only a direct threat to the Navys ability to execute its mission from the tactical to the strategic levels of war, it was a threat to its stature as a service. These two viewpoints conjure the analogy of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. In order to establish a Joint Forces Air Component Commander JFACC, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force cultural, doctrinal, technological, and threat barriers to integration had to be overcome. The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 set the conditions for the confluence of events that overcame these barriers and allowed for the creation of a true JFACC. This thesis examines three lines of effort the enduring masks of the services, the origins and limitations of airpower, and the effects of Goldwater-Nichols in incentivizing the expression of service masks to jointness while overcoming the service barriers to establishing a JFACC. From this legislation, American joint utilization of airpower emerged as an integrated, fighting force capable of holding at risk nearly any target, anyplace and anytime for the duration required to meet the commanders objective.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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