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The Future of Centralized Control for Airpower.

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Final rept.,

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Air Force Basic Doctrine Document 1 lists seven tenets, or fundamental guiding truths, for airpower employment. The first of these is centralized control and decentralized execution. This tenet dictates that air and space power must be controlled by an airman who maintains a broad strategic andor theater perspective in prioritizing the use of limited air and space assets to attain the objectives of all U.S. forces in any contingency across the range of operations. This paper addresses the following questions regarding the information revolutions impact on this tenet How does this impact the principle of centralized command and decentralized execution Is this paradigm outmoded Do we want or need the command and decision authority pushed down to the tactical unit level Alternatively, will exceptionally talented and capable systems invite higher authority micro-management of tactical actions How might such possible decision up-creep be mitigated The information revolution, combined with either the political imperatives associated with limited conflicts or the threat posed by an emergent niche competitor, will tend to lead U.S. airpower further away from the concept of centralized control and decentralized execution. This should be a conscious decision, however. As a statement of officially sanctioned beliefs and warfighting principles that describe and guide the proper use of... forces in military operations EMPHASIS ADDED, doctrine and operational art are closely linked. Therefore, operational art should be an explicit factor in the decision. The author recommends several elements of operational leadership that the operational commander should explicitly consider in making such a decision.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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