Accession Number:



Managing Competing Influences: Risk Acceptance in Operation Rolling Thunder

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,31 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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What had the largest influence on General Momyers decisions regarding the acceptance of risk-to-mission for Seventh Air Force during Operation Rolling ThunderDuring his time as Seventh Air Force Commander, General William Momyer oversaw US Air Force operations over North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Laos. However, he operated within tight restraints placed upon Seventh Air Force by his political and military superiors. These restrictions were one of many influences he balanced while commanding operations. The primary influence was political specifically, how to prevent his forces from causing the Vietnam War to escalate beyond what was politically acceptable. This paper examines various definitions of risk and a few military frameworks for risk mitigation. The resources used to uncover the influences on General Momyer include annual Air Force after-action reports, and primary source and scholarly works about the history of the air war over North Vietnam. In light of General Momyers experiences and the lack of doctrinal recommendations regarding times to accept risk, Joint doctrine should define and explain the concepts of risk-to-mission, risk-to-force, and risk judgment, and tactical level training missions should consider the impact of individual losses inside the theoretical scenario or notional air campaign.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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