Air Power Against Terror

America’s Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom

Published Nov 29, 2005

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"The Air Force's examination of its role in major combat operations is notable mostly for its absence… Given this sorry state of affairs, the publication of Benjamin Lambeth's fascinating book, 'Air Power Against Terror: America's Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom', is all the more timely and important. A senior analyst at Rand, Lambeth has published widely on air power issues over the past three decades, including a book on the campaign against Serbia that is required reading for any serious student of modern military operations. Although trained as a Soviet specialist with a doctorate from Harvard, he has bolstered his academic expertise with operational knowledge gained from flights in 35 types of U.S. and foreign combat aircraft. He was, for instance, the first American civilian to fly in the Soviet MiG-29 fighter. Lambeth attempts to provide a broad overview of the use of U.S. air power against the Taliban regime and al-Qaida in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. To the author's immense credit, however, it is anything but a dry, academic work. On the contrary, if the events it describes were not real, 'Air Power Against Terror' could be read as a thriller. Using superb writing, Lambeth grabs hold of the reader with his tense account of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then traces the Air Force response, from the mounting of combat air patrols in the U.S. to the development and execution of the brilliant campaign in Afghanistan… As technological advances bring senior policy-makers closer to the battlefield and compel ever more cooperation between the services, the need for books like Lambeth's is all the greater. 'Air Power Against Terror' should be a wake-up call to the Air Force leadership — not simply for its operational analysis about the Afghan war, but also for the importance of sponsoring and initiating serious, independent research about the service… There is no reason that the Air Force cannot rediscover this tradition. Otherwise, as illustrated by Lambeth, misunderstandings both within the Air Force and with its sister services are certain to continue, and the nation will be unable to fully capitalize on its capabilities at a time of war."

- Armed Forces Journal, June 2006

"This is the only recommendation I have concerning airpower in recent operations. Lambeth presents a very revealing book that lays out many behind-the-scenes issues, and has a relatively robust discussion/critique of the role of JAGs in combat operations. An absolute 'must read' for anyone deploying to work in an air operations' center."

- Brigadier General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., in The Reporter, Office of the Judge Advocate General

"For almost 60 years, the RAND Corporation has provided military and policy decisionmakers with effective solutions to the challenges facing America in times of peace and conflict. Following in that sterling tradition is the publication of Benjamin S. Lambeth's latest work, 'Air Power Against Terror'. The author provides readers with an analysis of the Bush Administration's preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom—from the initial planning for the response to 9/11, to the attacks against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lambeth's insight into the enabling capabilities of US air power against determined foes in what can only be characterized as an extremely hostile environment leaves readers with a new understanding of the approach that America will use to counter such threats in the 21st century."

- Parameters, "Editor's Shelf," Spring 2006

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