The Icarus Syndrome

The Role of Air Power in the Evolution and Fate of the U.S. Air Force

by Carl H. Builder

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As the Reagan era drew to a close, many in the U.S. Air Force began to express their concerns about the health of their institution. They questioned whether the Air Force had lost its sense of direction, its confidence, its values, and even its future. The Icarus Syndrome singles out the cause of the problem to be the abandonment of air power theory from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. The book begins a history of the U.S. Air Force as seen by air power theorists, then analyzes what went wrong, how these wrongs might be corrected, and the challenges for the Air Force leadership in the future.

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