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Strategic Bombing: how Precision Bombing doctrine Affects Training

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Technical Report

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The purpose of this thesis is to explore the development of aircrew training through events in history that determined how the growth and evolution of training changed based on the theory, doctrine, organizational structure, operational focus, and technology of the period. It seeks to answer the main question, does the theory of strategic bombardment in air force doctrine still drive bomber aircrew training In order to answer this question, bomber aircrew training leading up to the three case studies, the Combined Bomber Offensive, Linebacker II, and Desert Storm, will be evaluated across three relationships, air power theory against the aircrews experience in combat, the amount of standardization versus the amount of improvisation present in training, and the balance between realism and safety in training. These relationships will aid answering the following questions. How the theory of employment affects bomber aircrew preparation in each case study How technology changes training requirements for bomber aircrew Finally, how well standardized training responds to a theater commanders requirements By tracing the answers to these questions through the context of the three historical cases, this thesis seeks to determine common variables in aircrew training and their affect on the employment of bomber forces in each case study. What these three cases show is similarities exist across the competing interests of theory and experience, standardization and improvisation, and realism and safety. The fundamental theory of offensive air power and strategic bombing still drives the doctrine for employment even if actual experiences vary across the three case studies. Technological capabilities exist today that make precision bombing possible from any platform and enhance the ability to provide realistic training but also create unique training requirements.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Humanities and History

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