Once in a Blue Moon: Airmen in Theater Command. Lauris Norstad, Albrecht Kesselring, and their Relevance to the Twenty-First Century Air Force
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES
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In the 52-year history of the United States Air Force USAF, only one airman has risen to serve as a regional commander in chief CINC. In the same period, 74 soldiers, sailors, and Marines have filled CINC billets. To determine it, and perhaps how, airmen could become geographic CINCs in the near future, this paper examines the root of the issue through historical analysis and asks what are the qualities necessary for airmen to perform effectively as war-fighting commanders in chief The study uses the careers of two early theater CINCs, Generals Dwight Eisenhower and Jacob Devers, to establish a baseline for analysis. Relying heavily on primary sources from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, it then conducts biographical case studies on General Lauris Norstad, the only USAF theater CINC, and German Field-Marshal Albrecht Kesselring, the only airman ever to command a theater during war. The paper also examines the present-day relevance of the issue through interviews with senior Defense Department officials and a review of contemporary literature on joint command. Every source consulted in this study concurred to perform effectively as war- fighting commanders in chief, airmen indeed, all officers need comprehensive joint military proficiency an incisive geostrategic-political-military vision and strong, but nuanced and deft, skills in leadership and interpersonal relations.
- Humanities and History
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
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