Accession Number:



In Search of a Twenty-First-Century Air-Leadership Model: Fodder for Your Professional Reading

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Where can future aerospace leaders find guidance and inspiration One route is to reap the benefit of past experience through a vigorous professional reading program. In the latest installment of his popular fodder series of articles, Dr. Mets provides the air warrior-scholar with a sampler of important books on aerospace leadership. The quest for a key to successful air leadership is as old as airpower itself. An Air Force Academy was first proposed in Congress in 1919, and 1931 Randolph Air Force Base AFB was known as The West Point of the Air. Yet, until fairly recently, professional air warriors have had slim pickings when they looked for case studies in airpower leadership. For a long time, we have had many biographies of soldiers and seamen, but common perceptions hold that airmen are not a contemplative lot and have little inclination toward literary efforts. Few of them have set pen to paper to tell either their own life stories or those of other flyers. Still fewer scholars and foundations have felt sufficiently competent to undertake such studies. But in the past two decades, that void has begun to be filled. This article first explores the nature of models. What are they What are they good for What are they not good for It then turns to sources of biographical material on airmen and the nature of biography as a vehicle for exploring the subject of air leadership. It further examines the advantages of the biographical approach and its shortcomings. The article illustrates these matters with reviews of two forthcoming books about air leadership -- one on Maj Gen Mason M. Patrick and the other on Adm Joseph M. Reeves. It then suggests some possible benefits as well as the limitations of biographies and, in keeping with my fodder series of articles, closes with a 10-Book Sampler for Professional Reading.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Administration and Management
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: