Accession Number:

ADA370737

Title:

Aerial Coercion as Operational Art: Past Lessons Were Forgotten in Kosovo.

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.,

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1999-05-17

Pagination or Media Count:

25.0

Abstract:

This paper examines the evolving use of airpower as the political weapon of choice to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. It focuses on the concept of aerial coercion, which is the unilateral use of air and space power to achieve a desired end state without the credible threat or use of a powerful ground force. The paper begins by evaluating the operational factors of space, force, and time, along with the strategic and operational centers of gravity, from past aerial coercion operations Operations Linebacker II 1972, Deliberate Force 1995, and Desert Fox 1998. Next, operational lessons learned from these operations are detailed. Finally, the first five weeks of Operation Allied Force 1999 are evaluated using the lessons of past operations as the comparative framework. Allied Force failed to quickly achieve the desired end state because the stated political objectives could not be attained by airpower alone as Milosevic could ethnically cleanse Kosovo before the effects of airpower could destroy Serb ground forces, planners failed to adequately identify and attack the Serb strategic and operational centers of gravity, and airpower was applied gradually instead of using initial overwhelming force. This paper asserts that valuable operational and strategic lessons from previous aerial coercion operations were largely ignored in the planning and execution of Operation Allied Force, leading to frustration in failure to quickly achieve U.S. strategic objectives.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE