The Problem with Precision: Managing Expectations for Air Power
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Much of the literature concerning aviation-related civilian casualties of the past decade centers on ethics, human rights, laws of warfare, and the number of occurrences. A critical perspective is missing from this discussion, that of the Airman. An Airmans voice is needed, not only to ground the discussion in practical reality, but also to place into context the development of unrealistic public expectations- expectations that work against airpowers ability to achieve political aims. This paper examines the manner in which civilian casualty avoidance has affected airpowers effectiveness in achieving policy objectives in Afghanistan today, and how atrophy in strategic communications has failed to create realistic public expectations. The author identifies four areas where a change in perspective of how airpower is viewed would be beneficial the execution of airpower, the perspective of scholars, terminology used by airpower advocates, and the United States approach to strategic communication. Changing mindsets is these areas will help create realistic expectations and improve the overall effectiveness of airpower while preserving the military s quest for perfection and meeting the American desire for moral exceptionalism in warfare.
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics