Accession Number:

ADA187025

Title:

Air Power and Limited War: An Analysis of the Air Campaigns against North Vietnam as Instruments of National Policy

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1987-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

317.0

Abstract:

A Clausewitzian evaluation of the three American air campaigns against North Vietnam Rolling Thunder March 1965--October 1986 Linebacker I, May-- October 1972 and Linebacker II, December 1972 reveals that they differed significantly in their effectiveness as political instruments. Rolling Thunder contributed little towards President Lyndon Johnsons goal of an independent, stable, non-Communist South Vietnam. Limiting the air campaigns effectiveness were Johnsons political controls on bombing, which stemmed from disparate objectives that restrained the application of military force civilian leaders failure to agree on the campaigns purpose the air chiefs persistent belief that destroying vital industries would ultimately destroy an enemys capability and will fight the reluctance of both civilian and military leaders to target civilians the guerrilla nature of the Southern war prior to 1968, which produced minimal external logistical requirements for Communist forces the inefficient military management of the air war and the monsoons that hampered flying for six months each year. President Richard Nixons goal in Vietnam was an American withdrawal that did not abandon the South to an imminent Communist takeover. His two Linebacker campaigns helped achieve this objective. Nixons bombing succeeded as a political tool for a number of reasons.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Fire Control and Bombing Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE