Attacking Electrical Power: A Targeting Study for the New World Order
AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB United States
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The increased interest in the idea of using conventional strategic bombing as a means of solving foreign policy crises mandates a thorough examination of which targets should be attacked. Electrical power has been considered a critical target in every war since World War II, and will likely be nominated in the future. Yet, despite the frequency of attacks on this target system planners and decision makers tend to become enamored with the vulnerability of electric power to air strikes, and fail to analyze the relationship between attacking electrical power and the stated political objectives. Historically there have been four basic strategies behind attacks on national electrical systems to cause a decline in civilian morale to inflict costs on political leaders to hamper military operations and to hinder war production. The evidence shows that the only sound reason for attacking electrical power is to affect the production of war material in a war of attrition against a self-supporting nation with little outside assistance. Because attacks on electrical power offer minimal benefits yet can cause politically counterproductive collateral damage, the implications for future strategic air operations are significant.