Coercive Effects-based Operations Targeting Enemy Resolve: No Bang for the Buck
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Since the advent of the airplane air warfare theorists, and arguably strategists, have often overstated or misrepresented the capabilities of air power. There is no doubt that air power has capabilities and advantages that far outweigh conventional naval and ground forces. The ability to strike at your enemy over great distances, with great accuracy and at speeds unattainable by conventional forces puts air power in a class all its own. It has arguably redefined the definition of the center of mass. It can be inherently strategic in nature in that it often allows for an attack of the strategic or operational center of gravity without the confrontation of conventional naval and ground forces. But, however swift and lethal air power may be, it is not above operational art application. Applying airpower to achieve aims vice objectives is at best a means of attaining ambiguous results and is a misuse of the capability. Air power has had a long history of coercive attempts. Success, if achieved, is thus likely to be as much the product of accident and good fortune as of design and skill. The use of air power must have clear theater-strategic or operational objectives with quantifiable rates of progress and not immeasurable effects. This lack of understanding can lead to the belief that air power alone, with its many advantages over land and naval forces, can defeat the enemy an erroneous conclusion that can only result in the unnecessary loss of personnel, material and time.
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics