Airpower in your Hip Pocket: Under What Conditions Should an Operational Commander Constitute an Air Reserve?
Monograph rept. AY89/90
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This study defines an operational air reserve as that portion of an air force, under the operational control of a theater commander theater of war or theater of operations, which is held out of combat in anticipation of later use to influence the outcome of a specific operation or campaign. This study is exploratory in nature searching applicable theory, historical examples, and contemporary developments for insights on air reserves. It appears likely that some currently forward deployed military forces will return to the U.S. to form a strategic reserve force which may have deploy to and fight in a future theater of war. There the theater commander may elect to commit all of these forces or retain a portion of them as a theater reserve. This report discusses historical examples of operational air reserves -- the Battle of Britain 1940 and Soviet air supremacy operations in the Kuban 1943. Both the Israelis 1967 and the Egyptians 1973 constituted air reserves. Using theory, history, and contemporary analysis, the study derives a series of hypotheses about the conditions which suggest the utility for an operational level commander to constitute an air reserve. Then comparing the different conditions against several operational criteria, the hypotheses are tested to answer the research question. It is concluded that an operational commander should consider constitution of operational air reserves during ambiguous air situations, when he is on the operational defense, or when outnumbered or outclassed by enemy air forces.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics