Air Campaign vs. Ballistic Missiles: Seeking the Strategic Win in the 21st Century   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the thesis abstract: "Most literature concerning the use of surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) is focused on counter-proliferation. The authors are concerned with the emerging missile capabilities of rogue state missile arsenals. They fear that increasing ranges and accuracy will eventually threaten the US homeland. This concern is certainly warranted, but largely misses another potential consequence of enlarging SSM arsenals around the world: the threat of derailing 21st century strategic air campaigns. This thesis explores two case studies. First it explores the Allied response to Adolf Hitler's V-weapons campaign, Operation Crossbow. It then it examines the US-led coalition's response to Saddam Hussein's Scud missile campaign, the Great Scud Chase. The cases show that while both Germany and Iraq's missile campaigns failed to win their wars for them, the campaigns did cause a significant diversion to their enemies' strategic air campaigns. Both cases also explore how the Allies and the US-led coalition were able to simultaneously accomplish their original strategic air campaigns along with their politically mandated counter-SSM campaigns. A cross-case comparison then condenses the cases' findings into two products. The first product is labeled 'The Dictator's Handbook for SSM Use' whose purpose is to educate US theater planners on the possible ways that SSMs can be used to disrupt their air campaign plans. The second product is a summary of 'best practices' that collects lessons learned from the counter-SSM efforts for use by both theater air planners and procurement strategists. The paper concludes by applying the 'best practices' to a potential future conflict with China to highlight potential existing vulnerabilities in current theater air plans and air-platform acquisition plans."

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