Accession Number:

ADA460480

Title:

Interservice Rivalry and Airpower in the Vietnam War

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2006-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

208.0

Abstract:

The primary objectives of this study are to establish the nature and levels of rivalry and dispute between the United States armed services over matters relating to the military application of airpower during the Vietnam period, and to assess the extent to which such rivalry may have distorted U.S. operational policy in Southeast Asia. The historical development of airpower suggests that interservice rivalry is especially prevalent in this particular area of military activity. From the very beginnings of military aviation, armies and navies have argued as to how the new assets should be used, how they should be developed, and which service should control them. This was certainly the case in the United States. The problem has been compounded, rather than resolved, by the development of independent air forces. This study concentrates on tactical airpower in South Vietnam and deals with the air war over North Vietnam only insofar as it influenced interservice issues in the South. To fully understand the interservice airpower issues that emerged during the Vietnam War, it is first necessary to look back at the pre-Vietnam doctrinal background that preceded them. In regard to the Vietnam War itself, the studys starting point is the arrival of the first U.S. combat aircraft in South Vietnam in 1961, and concludes with the pivotal year of 1968. The latter date is of necessity somewhat fluid, but it forms a rough stopping point because rivalry over airpower issues among the U.S. armed forces seems to have been in decline after this date, or at least it seems to have been subject to attenuation by compromise agreements which were in force until the end of United States involvement in Southeast Asia. Expressions of these compromises are to be found in post-1968 documents, but these reflect pre-1968 experience.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE