Joint Militay Operations Department, Naval War College Newport United States
After decades of fighting terrorist networks, United States policymakers and military commanders must once again prepare to wage high-end war against a formidable state actor. To meet emerging threats, the U.S. and its allies should extract the most critical lessons learned from historical experiences to achieve shared security objectives in the next fight. Operation Desert Storm of the 1991 Gulf War is a rich historical case study that practitioners need to study carefully in considering the application of air power in future conflicts. Desert Storm reveals three significant operational air power lessons that U.S. civilian and military leaders should heed to improve air powers effectiveness in supporting future objectives. First, Desert Storm demonstrated air powers increased lethality and operational coherence under a unified air commander. Second, despite unity of air command, American leaders failed to ensure unity of effort.