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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Foundations of Doctrine | Air Corps Tactical School | WWII—Europe | WWII—Japan | WWII—Nuclear Weapons | Cold War Doctrine | Massive Retaliation | Cold War Technology | Flexible Response | The SIOP | Korea | Korean Command Structure | Korean War Aftermath | Prelude to Vietnam | Objectives in Vietnam | Vietnam War 1965–1973 | Rolling Thunder—Objectives | Rolling Thunder—Restrictions | Rolling Thunder—Outcome | Command Arrangements | Route Package System | Khe Sanh | Airpower at Khe Sanh | LINEBACKER II | Post-Vietnam Assessment | AirLand Battle | Impact of AirLand Battle | Operation EAGLE CLAW | Operation URGENT FURY | Goldwater-Nichols Act 1986 | Summary | Quiz ]
Voice: A review of 40 years of Air Force doctrine from the end of World War Two up to the 1990s illustrates the problems the Air Force encountered in adhering to sound doctrinal principles. Without guidance and lacking general agreement on the employment of airpower, the Air Force failed to adhere to the principles of airpower thought espoused by the Air Corps Tactical School. Following World War Two, the national leadership and, consequently the Air Force, focused almost solely on the deterrence of nuclear war, and if necessary, the employment of nuclear weapons. National policy and military budgets focused on nuclear war, and Air Force doctrine of the time mirrored the evolving strategy associated with nuclear warfare. As a result, the Air Force was not prepared for the limited conventional wars that erupted in Korea and Vietnam. In addition, the focus on nuclear deterrence failed to prepare the Air Force for conducting joint military operations. These and other factors ultimately led to the “excursions from airpower doctrine“ examined in this lesson.
Ultimately, the Air Force must stand on its doctrine as the basis for the employment of airpower. Theory and doctrine provide the foundation of how airpower works and why airpower is important to those who must support it. Today, Air Force officers must bring an air and space perspective to the joint environment. Air and space power doctrine forms the basis of that perspective and stipulates that air and space forces, if used in certain ways, can bring forth more rapid or less expensive victory in war, than if used in other ways.
Action: The Air Corps Tactical School is displayed as the background. One-fifth of the way through the narration, add first bullet point. As mentioned in the narration, the background changes to a faded image of a mushroom cloud and the second bullet is shown. Midway through the narration, the background changes to images of fighter and bomber planes and the third bullet point is added. Two-thirds of the way into the narration, the background changes to images reflecting each of the joint services and the fourth bullet point is added. Soon after, the background and the text are faded away and the covers of publications Field Manual 100 dash 20, Air Force Manual 1 dash 1, Organization and Employment of Aerospace Power, and Air Force Doctrine Document 1 are faded into the center of the screen, one at a time, one on top of the other. The four services’ shields are shown in the four corners of the screen, and the following header is overlaid, center screen, when mentioned in narration:
Air and space forces, if used in certain ways, can bring more rapid or less expensive victory in war than if used in other ways
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