Accession Number:

ADA463395

Title:

The Evolution of Airpower Theory and Future Air Strategies for Employment in the Gap

Descriptive Note:

Final paper

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2005-05-16

Pagination or Media Count:

26.0

Abstract:

Thomas P.M. Barnett, in his book The Pentagons New Map War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, predicts future United States military involvement to be focused in the disconnected regions of the world he calls the Gap. He theorizes that the overall goal of the use of U.S. instruments of power in the Gap is to connect these disconnected states to the worlds functioning democracies that he labels the Core. In regards to future military involvement and specifically the application of airpower, what are the best air strategies to pursue, not only to achieve the strategic objectives, but to facilitate the desired end state of a connected emerging democracy The original air theorists envisioned using airpower decisively, attacking an enemys strategic and operational Centers of Gravity COGs, making fielded forces irrelevant. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. retains the military capabilities to be the Hobbesian Leviathan in almost any future conflict. Has this overwhelming advantage in the air, focused on strategic COGs, been as decisive as the theorists envisioned Can airpower be used effectively to coerce despotic Gap dictators to behave in accordance with accepted Core rule sets Recent conflicts indicate that traditional airpower theories and strategies may not be as decisive as predicted. Future conflicts in the Gap are going to involve more innovative thinking to achieve the strategic objectives of the conflict while facilitating the desired end state. The realities of superior U.S. firepower require a reconsideration of the applicability and effectiveness of traditional airpower theory. Airpower needs to be brought to bear more surgically and jointly, doing only minimal damage to the economic, industrial, and informational systems to achieve the desired effects on the future battlefields of the Gap.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE