Accession Number:

ADA621178

Title:

Retrenchment: General Russell E. Dougherty and the Strategic Air Command During the Age of Detente

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis

Corporate Author:

AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2014-06-01

Pagination or Media Count:

111.0

Abstract:

General Russell E. Dougherty was a transformational Air Force leader during a key period of the Cold War. Inspired to serve his nation when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he led a military career defined largely by intellectual acumen. During his 35-year Air Force career, his gentlemanly manners and engaging disposition allowed him to be regarded as a new kind of military leader. By the time he became Commander-In-Chief of Strategic Air Command, the preeminent nuclear deterrent force during the Cold War, he had validated the theory that one did not have to breathe fire to motivate others. Dougherty was not without faults though. He missed the atrophy within Air Force tactical capabilities during operations in Korea, and failed to acknowledge the prerogative of civilian authority during operations in Vietnam. Retiring in 1977, Dougherty spent the next thirty years of his life devoted to the study of military readiness and national security affairs. He mentored an entire generation of Air Force general officers and became regarded as one of the most prolific writers and speakers of strategic thought of his generation. This study serves two purposes. One, is to provide a biographical overview of an Air Force leader on whom little scholarly attention has yet been devoted. Two, is to study the foreign policy of d tente during the Nixon administration and assess its impact on U. S. nuclear readiness as represented by the Strategic Air Command arsenal. Surprisingly, d tente had little if any bearing on the nation s nuclear operational posture. This thesis suggests that the Air Force should look back to the leadership example provided by General Dougherty as officers are selected for flag rank in an era of diminishing general officer billets. It also recommends the enduring legacy of perpetual readiness of the Strategic Air Command be studied as the utility of a nuclear weapons inventory continues to be defined in a post-Cold War age.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE