Cover: Defining the Role of Airpower in Joint Missions

Defining the Role of Airpower in Joint Missions

Published 1998

by Glenn A. Kent, David A. Ochmanek


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The stage is set for the emergence of a "new American way of war," in which U.S. forces are able to bring military power to bear against an enemy state quickly, comprehensively, decisively, and with minimal risk of heavy casualties. But some obstacles remain. These obstacles seem more budgetary and political than technical or operational. Some key programs are being abandoned or delayed because of the press of limited resources and competing demands. In this environment, it is imperative that the Air Force articulate in clear and compelling terms the potential contributions of airpower to joint operations. This is distinct from claiming "Air Force roles and missions." The approach offered here begins with a consideration of the basic characteristics of air forces and space forces, identifies the operational capabilities of these forces, and lists the missions and operational objectives to which these forces can contribute. By insisting that these missions and objectives be defined from the perspective of joint operations, this approach to doctrine positions the Air Force favorably to advance the role of its forces in the competition for roles within missions.

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