Coercive Airpower in the Global War on Terror: Testing Validity of Courses of Action   [open pdf - 181KB]

"The issue of validity for coercive COAs requires planners to take into account a vastly changed political landscape since 9/11. Perhaps a toughened military doctrine is required to fight GWOT, where pragmatic considerations sometimes may have to give way to hard-line principles. One of the keys to success for air planners will be to avoid atrophy of thought. A certain rigidity can harden into extreme dogmatism, a condition that could reduce the potential success of airpower in GWOT. Anecdotes abound concerning the proper application of airpower, but unfounded confidence, arrogance that ignores political and military realities, combined with rhetoric that divides rather than unites, can create an ethos that is more detrimental than it is helpful. US airpower enjoys numerically and qualitatively superior advantages over the rest of the world, and continued mastery of basic airpower principles will continue to contribute to that advantage. Nonetheless, we have to remember the basics. Coercion is but one strategy air planners can implement, and the results of this monograph should at least provide a starting point for planning. However, original thought combined with hybrid strategies appears to be the way of the future for airpower application in GWOT."

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