Deriving the Correct Enemy Center of Gravity: An Air Force Debate
Author(s)Reed, Nicholas J.
Contributor(s)NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI
KeywordsMilitary Aircraft Operations
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AbstractSince the early 1910s, air power advocates, theorists, and military planners have searched for a decisive way to employ air forces by avoiding direct confrontation with the enemy's fielded forces. However, operations to cajole public morale and wreck economies led to mass destruction and large civilian casualty tolls, but had little effect on resolving conflicts. Proper center of gravity analysis is vital to the effective employment of air power. In future conventional wars, the preponderance of the air effort should target the enemy's fielded fighting forces, not economic infrastructure, political leadership, or population centers. This paper will explore the rise of the United States Air Force and its development of prevailing thoughts on air power application. It will scrutinize previous major conflicts for conclusions that should shape future thought. Finally, the paper will develop recommendations on how air power should be best applied at the operational level.
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