Accession Number:



The RMA and Air Force Roles, Missions, and Doctrine

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The latest techno-thriller from the master of the trade Tom Clancy portrays a United States vulnerable to an attack aimed not at its key military installations, but rather at its Wall Street economic brain. The target is information, and by manipulating the data fed into the vast computer network of the American stock market, a foreign businessman triggers financial chaos and threatens economic ruin. As usual, Tom Clancys work focuses on a current national security concern. Debt of Honor highlights information warfare, a central feature of the Revolution in Military Affairs, or RMA, that many defense analysts and military officers associate with the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Those who acknowledge that Desert Storm marked a military revolution do not, however, agree on a standard interpretation of how warfare has changed. Indeed, the shade of ones uniform may color the view expressed. Most concur that the importance of information systems is a fundamental tenet of the RMA, and that the ability to control information gives a belligerent an inherent advantage over an adversary. The believers also tend to agree that technology provides the means to control information, which may then render current military systems, operations, and organizations obsolete. Yet a key question remains unanswered Will acknowledging the RMA--and taking steps to exploit it--increase the likelihood of victory in the next conflict From the perspective of the United States Air Force, the answer is unclear. Indications are that an Air Force geared to the perceived RMA may, in certain situations, be ill-suited to accomplish basic air power roles and missions, which could in turn hamper its ability to achieve the fundamental mission of defending the United States through control and exploitation of air and space.

Subject Categories:

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

Distribution Statement: