Command and Control of Joint Air Operations

Some Lessons Learned from Four Case Studies of an Enduring Issue

by James A. Winnefeld, Dana J. Johnson


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This report examines the achievement of the principle of unity of effort from a narrow focus on the command and control of U.S. joint tactical air operations in four campaigns (Midway, the Solomons, Korea, and Vietnam) from 1942 to 1968 and extracts some lessons for future joint air operations. The authors distinguish between unity of effort and unity of command, a distinction that manifests itself in individual service doctrines, in joint operations, and, ultimately, in each of the Services' views of war. While unity of command is one of several steps necessary to achieve unity of effort, the authors recommend that debate should be centered around the accomplishment of unity of effort. The research was completed before the onset of combat operations in Kuwait and Iraq in early 1991. The authors hope to extend the analysis to cover that campaign in a subsequent publication.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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