The Politics of the Air Campaign: A Troubled Marriage
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The levels of political involvement during the campaign planning, conflict execution and war termination of two recent air campaigns, DESERT STORM and ALLIED FORCE, were quite divergent from the levels of policy commensurate with military expectations. While the politics of Operation ALLIED FORCE indicate some enduring political tendencies, though, levels of political involvement during the Gulf War reveal some promising potential remedies. The military understands aerospace powers submissive role to its political master but has established some very clear expectations for that relationship. Military leaders accept and even expect political involvement in the air campaign but are very specific as to when and where it would be most appropriate. The political tendencies of air campaigns in the age of limited war have been diametrically opposed to these anticipated levels. General officers expect one thing and the politicians do another. Clearly, something must be done to bridge this ever-widening gap. A closer look at the divergence between real politics and the ideal air campaign reveals some potential remedies to this chronic disconnect. The time has come for serious aerospace power advocates to begin to work with their civilian leaders to build a harmonious bond between military expectations and political tendencies.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics