Accession Number:



Lemay and Olds: Great Captains of Airpower

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Technical Report

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Air Command and Staff College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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Barry Strauss, in his book Masters of Command, argued that the three traditional great captains, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Julius Cesar all possessed ten qualities ambition, judgment, leadership, audacity, agility, infrastructure, strategy, terror, branding, and a tenth quality, which happened to them, Divine Providence. While these qualities answered what was required of ancient great commanders, some have little application to the modern battlefield and specifically to airpower leadership. This is natural given Christopher Gabels recognition in the book Great Commanders that great commanders face particular challenges in operating within the social norms of their day and age. These norms govern how leaders are selected, who serves in the military, and to what purpose military operations are conducted. The great commander recognizes these norms, and extracts the maximum possible military effectiveness from them.1 Given the modern day norms of civilian control and a highly organized professional force based on meritocracy and not heredity, which of Strauss qualities best apply to modern airpower leaders

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Humanities and History
  • Administration and Management

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