Role of the Bomber in Integrated Air Power
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The role of bombers and the concept of strategic nuclear deterrence have become dysfunctionally linked. The Air Force fostered this linkage in the post World War II and Korea era with its reliance on nuclear weapons and strategy of mutually assured destruction. Bombers continue to be a vital component of our nations strategic nuclear deterrent forces. However, bombers are not limited to deterring nuclear war. In addition to employing the first nuclear weapons, U.S. war fighting experience shows that bombers have played a crucial role in every major conflict beginning with World War II. Since our experience shows that we have historically employed bombers in a conventional role, the author suggests that we should be prepared to employ them across the spectrum of conflict today. Our experience also clearly shows that bombers have best employed as an element of integrated air power, rarely as an independent force. Therefore, we should prepare to employ bombers as a member of an integrated air power team. The author also suggests that the concepts of tactical and strategic are ill defined and serve to divide air power into organizations and forces. The author draws lessons from World War II and Vietnam experiences which could help guide our preparation for future conflicts.
- Nuclear Warfare