The Factors that Influence Air Strategy: How Do Leaders Choose Air Strategy
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB
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This work explores how national decision-makers choose air strategy. The study explores the interaction between a chosen air strategy and seven factors over three cases. The factors in the study range from those that are tactical in nature, to those that concern grand strategy. I primarily seek to determine how the factors influence the choice of strategies related to attrition compared to maneuver. The studies include Germanys air strategy in the 1939-1940 campaigns of World War II, the British and American Combined Bomber Offensive air strategy of World War II, and Israels air strategy of the1973 Yom Kippur War. I find that the states political objectives directly influenced the choice of air strategy. The six other factors influenced the choice of political objectives and indirectly influenced the choice of air strategy. The threat to national survival, economics, and military doctrine had the most influence over the political objectives of each state in my study. The size of a states air force, the states posture for war, and the aerial defenses of its enemy held lesser influence over the political objectives. The implications of this study suggest that attritional strategies are ill-suited against adversaries with superior economies. The United States fought in wars from a position of material superiority over the past century, and therefore tended to favor strategies of attrition. A similar approach may be ill-suited for future peer-conflict. Therefore, US strategy should counter Americas adversaries through means other than war or through maneuver warfare in a conflict.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics