Accession Number:

ADA528117

Title:

Disaster at Desert One: Catalyst for Change

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1992-09-01

Pagination or Media Count:

15.0

Abstract:

The failure of the mission in 1980 to rescue American hostages held in Tehran is well known. Few can forget the tragedy vividly pictured by a broken propeller resting on the dry lake bed at a place forever known as Desert One. As America awoke on the morning of 25 April of that year, it was faced with defeat, sadness, and-most of all-questions. The disaster immediately raised doubts about US military capabilities and the state of readiness of the armed forces.... The seeming ineptness of the operation stood in stark contrast with successful rescue operations conducted with little loss of life by the Israelis at Entebbe and by the West Germans at Mogadishu....To some analysts and journalists, the episode demonstrated that the Defense Department was incapable of mounting a combined assault, especially in distant territory. The questions and doubts were only reinforced four months later when the JCS released a declassified version of the report of the Special Operations Review Group analyzing the failure. The so-called Holloway Report revealed serious deficiencies in mission planning, command and control, and interservice operability. The Holloway group provided a catalyst for efforts to reorganize the Department of Defense, as finally realized in the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols legislation.

Subject Categories:

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

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE