Short of War: Major USAF Contingency Operations, 1947-1997
AIR FORCE HISTORICAL RESEARCH AGENCY MAXWELL AFB AL
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Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a series of geographically localized crises caused by political, religious, or ethnic unrest outright military aggression and natural disasters has replaced the relative stability that characterized international relations for more than fifty years of the Cold War. For the United States Air Force USAF, this has meant short-notice deployments, airlifts, and other operational missions conducted in reaction to local crises. Such missions-once of secondary importance to nuclear deterrence or preparations for theater war-have come to dominate Air Force operations. The result has been recognition that global aerospace power and mobility are central to effective American crisis intervention in the post-Cold War world. This recognition has led the U.S. Air Force to restructure itself as an Expeditionary Aerospace Force, exploiting diverse core competencies consisting of global air and space superiority, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, global attack, information superiority, and agile combat support. Via rapid-response air expeditionary forces, the U.S. Air Force can furnish global power and presence for humanitarian or combat purposes-bombs or bread or both-in hours to any spot on Earth. A traditional precept of USAF doctrine has been that the service must always be prepared to assess its roles and missions in light of new and ever-changing national policy and strategy. Recognizing that doctrine is largely a distillation of knowledge gained from historical experience, the Air Force Historical Research Agency has compiled this record of USAF contingency operations covering the last half-century.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics