Emerging Shield: The Air Force and the Evolution of Continental Air Defense 1945-1960   [open pdf - 36MB]

"The volume begins with the U.S. Army Air Service's involvement with air defense in World War I and traces the story through to the late 1950s and early 196Os. At that time, the intercontinental ballistic missile supplanted the bomber as the most dangerous long-range threat to North America, precipitating a dramatic decline in bomber defenses over the next two decades. A number of important themes emerge: the development of technology, particularly for command, control, and communications systems; roles and missions debates; interpretations and analysis of the threat; and Air Force theories and approaches to offensive and defensive strategic warfare. The last is by far the most pervasive theme. In the period covered by this volume, the Air Force consistently held true to its belief that 'the best defense is a good offense,' despite the rise of air defense as a national priority. For most of history, military organizations have favored offensive strategies, for taking the offense is a way of planning and structuring the battle. Assuming the initiative by striking the first blow offers clear benefits as opposed to waiting and reacting defensively. The offense is usually viewed by military organizations as a positive force to achieve victory, whereas defense seems to seek only a negative goal-that of preservation."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States. Air Force. Office of Air Force History: http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/
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