The Development of NATO Tactical Air Doctrine, 1970-1985

by David J. Stein

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This report analyzes the key doctrinal and operational interests of allied services in NATO. It addresses the major issues in the development of NATO tactical air doctrines from 1970 to 1985 and considers why progress in developing NATO air doctrine was often impeded by competing interests among allied nations and their individual services. The author suggests that improving NATO's warfighting capabilities and enhancing its force effectiveness cannot be accomplished solely by modifying its air doctrine. Disparate national, service, and budgetary interests underscore competing doctrinal preferences among the allies. A U.S. Air Force regional air doctrine consistent with NATO Tactical Air Doctrine (Allied Tactical Publication No. 33) could conceivably be the most useful response to the problems of reconciling Air Force and NATO doctrinal imperatives.

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