Since the unprecedentedly effective performance of the allied air campaign against Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, the role of American air power in future wars has become a topic of often heated public debate. In this balanced appraisal of air power's newly realized strengths in joint warfare, Benjamin Lambeth, a defense analyst and civilian pilot who has flown in most of the equipment described in this book, explores the extent to which the United States can now rely on air-delivered precision weapons in lieu of ground forces to achieve strategic objectives and minimize American casualties. Beginning with the U.S. experience in Southeast Asia and detailing how failures there set the stage for a sweeping refurbishment of the nation's air warfare capability, Lambeth reviews the recent history of American air power, including its role in the Gulf War and in later conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Serbia. He examines improvements in areas ranging from hardware development to aircrew skills and organizational adaptability. Lambeth acknowledges that the question of whether air power should operate independently or continue to support land operations is likely to remain contentious. He concludes, however, that air power, its strategic effectiveness proven, can now set the conditions for victory even from the outset of combat if applied to its fullest potential.

Call 1-607-277-2211 to order by phone.
To order by web, visit http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu

This report is part of the RAND Corporation commercial book series. Periodically, RAND Corporation researchers publish with commercial presses. These books are not available from RAND but can be requested directly from the publisher, except in cases where the rights have reverted to RAND and we have republished a new edition.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.