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Effects-Based Air Campaign Planning: The Diplomatic Way to Solve Airpower's Role in the 21st Century

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This essay seeks to focus on Americas strategy for using our overwhelming advantage in air and space power during Operation Allied Force. While the preponderance of U.S. air and space power lies within the U.S. Air Force, the other services all contain key elements of this great national capability, which I will call aerospace power. It is my conclusion that we did not use our significant advantage efficiently and effectively during Operation Allied Force OAF. The reasons are varied and complicated, but not so much so that we cant learn from them and avoid similar mistakes in the future. In OAF, our strategy was target-centric and incremental instead of effects-based and parallel. Adopting an effects-based operations construct for strategy development and planning will solve many of the dilemmas faced in the events leading up to OAF as well as during the conflict itself. Instead of focusing on specific targets and their destruction in the strategy-formulation phase of planning, our national and international leaders needed to answer two questions. First, what were Serbias key elements of power that, if destroyed or damaged early in the fighting, would have compelled Milosevic to immediately cease ethnic cleansing operations in Kosovo Second, what decisive actions should we have taken to adversely influence Milosevics most prized elements of national power, or centers of gravity, that kept him firmly in charge of his country By debating and agreeing on definitive answers to these questions instead of focusing on individual targets, our political and military leaders would have achieved victory quicker in Kosovo and ended up with a better political end state for our peacekeepers to manage in the wars aftermath.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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