Accession Number:

ADA291621

Title:

John Boyd and John Warden: Air Power's Quest for Strategic Paralysis.

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis,

Corporate Author:

AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1995-02-01

Pagination or Media Count:

59.0

Abstract:

Throughout air powers inaugural century, theorists have posited numerous schemes to best exploit the inherent flexibility and ubiquity of the aircraft as a tool of war. The evolution of air power theory has been fashioned by harsh lessons of war, remarkable advances in technology, and the visionary concepts of a few select airmen. Two modern day theorists, Colonels John Boyd and John Warden, have significantly contributed to this evolution through their respective works on strategic paralysis. Although currently in vogue in the aftermath of Desert Storm, the notion of strategic paralysis has a long history. Its roots reach back to the writings of the Eastern philosopher of war- Sun Tzu. The quest for paralysis underpins all theories of strategic and conventional aerial warfare. Characterized by its nonlethal intent and promise of force economization, strategic paralysis differs markedly from the more traditional strategies of annihilation and attrition. Boyd and Warden represent a major transition in the evolution of air power doctrine. In contrast to the traditional theory, Boyd and Warden contend that an air campaign should target enemy command and control. This is control warfare based upon command targeting, not economic warfare based upon industrial targeting. The present Information Revolution will likely change the focus again, shifting toward decentralized targets of noncooperative centers of gravity- horizontal information channels instead of vertical, hierarchical command channels. John Boyd and John Warden have contributed significantly to this evolutionary process of air theory development.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Government and Political Science
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Administration and Management

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE