Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Published Airpower Journal - Winter 1998
The pen is the tongue of the mind.
Miguel de Cervantes
LT COL PAUL L. BAILEY, USAFR
IN THE SPRING of 1997, a proposal by United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) through the Joint Staff brought some profound thinking to bear on outer space. The proposal entailed making space an area of responsibility (AOR) within the Unified Command Plan (UCP), with the commander in chief of USSPACECOM (CINCSPACE) as the designated combatant commander responsible for that AOR.1
This proposal was made in the context of the most recent projection of the current and future security environment. The recently completed Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) depicts a world of regional instability and failed states with the distinct possibility of a major theater war in the near term. The projected QDR security environment then focuses on a midterm environment of more challenging regional threats and envisions a regional great power or global peer competitor in the long term of 2010 and beyond.2
Some people described Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm as the first space war. The initial assessment of space capabilities by some of the services senior leadership and professional cadre was euphoric but gradually tapered off to a general acknowledgment of those capabilities. Space planners, however, continued to formulate plans for further use of space power within the context of each succeeding analysis of the global-security environment. Most people perceived space capabilities fitting nicely into the context of the QDR security environment; consequently, it seemed the opportune time to staff an enlarged role for space within the military-command framework.
In the summer of 1993, Gen Charles A. Horner, leader of the Desert Storm air campaign and former CINCSPACE, told attendees of the annual National Space Symposium that space is vitally important. He further stated that
throughout military history, command of the high ground, first on the land and then in the air, has been a prelude to victory on the battlefield. Desert Storm has taught us that, hereafter, victory will smile on the nation that commands the ultimate high groundspace. Having said that, I must emphasize that military space systems should not exist for themselves. US Space Command and its components should not exist for themselves. Space institutions and space infrastructures should not exist for themselves. Rather, all should exist and endure to ensure that US and allied war-fighting forces are able to fight and win in the air, on the ground, and at sea. If this is not our recognized and shared goal, then we should turn out the lights and lock the doors at Space Command.3
USSPACECOM planners worked to fulfill this vision through successive CINCSPACEsGen Joseph W. Ashy and the current CINC, Gen Howell M. Estes.
Space planners had worked within General Horners vision for some time prior to his speech. On 4 July 1982, President Ronald Reagan issued a national space policy that called for developing enduring space systems.4 Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger subsequently initiated a study on how Department of Defense (DOD) space assets could be integrated into the overall space structure. Additionally, the Joint Staff conducted exercises involving operational control of space that highlighted the need for improving coordination of space assets.5 In April 1983, Gen James V. Hartinger, CINC of Aerospace Defense Command, recommended to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) that a unified space command be formed. On 7 June 1983, the Air Force chief of staff echoed that recommendation. After further study, the president and secretary of defense approved the establishment of a unified space command. On 23 September 1985, USSPACECOM was activated and established its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Within the framework of the unified command structure, military space was to be a decisive factor in determining the outcome of a conflictor, for that matter, determining the successful outcome of any military operation. After the successful production of USSPACECOM, subsequent staff efforts began to focus on the simple statement that space is a place.
A parallel educational process within the space community for the military services capitalized on military space capabilities that had received much publicity in the Gulf War. This initiative stemmed from the realization that too much of the military still viewed spaceespecially space assetsas a rather mysterious area. A perfect example is a statement concerning planning for use of a military space asset: I dont care what you have to do, park the thing [space vehicle] over our theater and leave it there. The statement, of course, ignores basic laws of physics and the work of Johannes Kepler.6 One logical outcome of such a statement involved placing space in a simple, clearly defined, and identifiable position within the unified command structurein other words, designating space as an AOR.
In order for USSPACECOM to have an AOR, the command had to have a regional rather than functional designation. USSPACECOM planners prepared and staffed a briefing to UCP that explained the rationale for this proposed change. The briefing described space as the fourth medium and the sixth AOR.7
These proposed changes were presented to the secretary of defense in November 1996. The UCP Working Group for the regular review cycle of the UCP heard briefings on the changes on 14 January 1997.8 Planners also provided members of the UCP Working Group a follow-on staff package with proposed changes to the UCP for comment. One focus of the argument and ensuing discussions was that regional CINCs have command authority over assigned forces and coordinate the boundaries of geographic areas specified in the UCP with other combatant commanders and with other US Government agencies or agencies of countries in the AOR, as necessary to prevent both duplication of effort and lack of adequate control of operations in the delineated areas (emphasis added).9
Plans announced by the Air Force in a study entitled Global Engagement: A Vision for the 21st Century Air Force, released in the spring of 1997, further complicated the AOR controversy. The document describes the Air Force desire to be an air and space force that will dominate the medium of space in the next centurys battles. In reaction to this new Air Force concept, Maj Gen Robert S. Dickman, the DOD space architect, stated that the problem . . . is that [the Air Force Vision] does not take into account that U.S. forces will probably not see combat in space in the foreseeable futureif at all.10
Naturally, this effort produced a storm of controversy and discussion. Following the formal presentation of the proposal in Washington, USSPACECOM conducted a series of briefings for the participants to allow further discussion and debate. The debate boiled over into the public sector with the publication of an article in Aviation Week & Space Technology that described the issues stemming from the proposal: the elevation of space to an equal footing with other AORs is a sensitive issue. Further, General Estes stated that I, as a military commander, have to say that somebody is going to threaten [space assets]. And when they [do], we [should] have armed forces to protect them. So, its a natural evolution.11
To which threatening space forces did General Estes refer? According to the Interavia Space Directory, 19911992, the former Soviet Union developed a co-orbital antisatellite (ASAT) interceptor around 1968. Estimates indicated that the ASAT would require about three and one-half hours and several orbits to intercept its target. However, its operational capability remains unknown at this time since no known testing of the system has occurred since 1982. The document further notes that one version of the former Soviet Unions antiballistic missilethe Galosh interceptorcould be used against low-altitude targets. Additionally, the document describes possible directed-energy systems at Saryshagan and Dushanbe that could damage satellites within their range and field of view. Finally, jamming both uplinks and downlinks remains possible, since many nations already possess the electronic-combat capabilities needed to impair our space assets. Given proper resources and political will, other nations could produceand may be producingsimilar capabilities.12
Drawing examples from the history of warfare, USSPACECOM argued that technological surprise might pose a threat to our space assets.13 According to Alvin and Heidi Tofflers War and Anti-War, The way we make wealth drives the way we conduct warfare.14 Consequently, as commerce flourished on land, at sea, and in the air, military forces were developed to protect national interests and investments. If history is any indication, then, the same development will occur in space.15 Therefore, since the other mediums are assigned within defined AORs, space should also be designated within an AOR. This should be especially true since the principles of physics in space differ from those in the other mediums, and military and commercial operations will occur in space. We should also note that USSPACECOM is the only command with forces capable of moving into and operating within the medium of space.16
To better understand this issue, one must understand the USSPACECOM argument for an AOR. The current UCP gives CINCSPACE Presidential authority and responsibility to conduct warfighting missions in spaceSpace Control and Force Application.17 USSPACECOMs argument on this point is that space as an AOR would align existing authority with responsibilities no longer implied but presidentially authorized and assigned. USSPACECOM further notes that AORs clarify relationships and facilitate operations. The current UCP also states that CINCSPACE will conduct operations to protect U.S. interests and investment in space.18 Because USSPACECOM has neither presidential authority nor the AOR responsibilities of a geographical CINC, its capability to effectively conduct those missions is diminished. Additionally, because US space assets are vulnerable, a space-faring enemy understands US dependence on those assets and could threaten them.19 This dependence takes the form of communications, navigation, weather, indications and warning, and intelligence support.
The command also argued new concepts to support its position. The job of protecting billions of dollars of US civil, commercial, and military space assetsand possibly selected international space assetsrequires a war-fighting CINC with a designated AOR. Further, that incredibly expensive investment was, in fact, a vital US national-security interest and could also be considered a center of gravity in certain situations.20 The command also pointed out the similarity of on-orbit US space assets to terrestrial lines of communications (LOC). Space LOCs are critical to national securityspecifically, to national defense, global navigation, terrestrial environmental sensing, global communications, and the global economy.21 USSPACECOM further believes that the designation of a space AOR will benefit its service relationships by clarifying those relationships and focusing on the seamless joint integration of operations. Finally, the command deems a space AOR a better integration of power in all of the operating mediums.22
AOR proponents also drew on other sources to support their argument. During the course of the previously mentioned briefing to the UCP Working Group, none of the attendees except the Air Force and Navy came out in direct opposition to designating space an AOR. The Air Force argument that air and space form an indivisible whole did not carry throughout the staffing process on the issue. Arguments citing responsibility for transitory objects [forces] were thwarted by the success of Desert Storm. Specifically, forces from outside Central Commands AORfrom European Command, Pacific Command, Transportation Command, and Special Operations Commandeither transited CENTCOMs AOR or were employed in it.
Are there any alternatives to USSPACECOMs receiving a designated AOR? I see two possibilities. The first is to maintain the status quo in space. The second is to designate another CINC, single service, or government agency as the responsible organization for the overall control of military space activitiesa designated agency.
The first alternative is a nondecision scenario at best. Space, for the US government, is a conglomeration of military, civil, commercial, and international activities.
Military space has seen each of the services begin booster programs independently in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Further, the services at one time independently developed service-specific space platforms for use in orbit. Although USSPACECOM today has Army, Navy, and Air Force components, the Air Force is the main focal point for space activities. Further, DODs National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), designs, builds, and operates US reconnaissance satellites.23 Coordination and cooperation already exist with the NRO within DOD. In its current designated responsibilities within DOD, USSPACECOM is the focal point for much of DODs space activities.
On the civil side, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) controls civil space activities, its most visible activity being the space shuttle. However, even this activity has a direct DOD influence, since CINCSPACE is designated as the DOD director for the Space Transportation System. Further cooperation and integration between NASA and USSPACECOM are established and runningfor example, collision avoidance from both orbital debris and other space objects, and varying degrees of cooperation in the use of both launchpads and space boosters.
NASA also leads in many areas of technology application and government fostering of commercial space ventures, such as the Pegasus launch vehicle. A winged vehicle, launched from a modified L-1011 aircraft, Pegasus carries small payloads to low-Earth orbit. There are also numerous examples of commercial communications and Earth-resource monitoring satellites. However, commercial space is very expensive and highly competitive.
The system works, but it may be possible to achieve better efficiencies in an era of declining government budgets. Maintaining the status quomultiple agencies with large overhead costsmay become too expensive. Further, commercial space activities may truly flourish sometime in the near future, fulfilling the Tofflers vision of developing true military capabilities in the medium of space.
The designated-agency alternative includes the possibility of forming a new military service, which could be called the National Space Force (NSF). Some advocates see the NSF emerging from the Air Force, just as the Air Force developed its own identity within the Army. Others would argue that it is time to create a separate space force because fast-evolving technology could be best applied only in a separate military service. More than likely, if such a revolutionary reorganization did occur, the idea would entail molding space-related elements of each of the existing services into a separate, distinct service. However, what would be the costs to the existing services? Further, would the establishment of an NSF subsume the existing CINCSPACE, with his or her UCP responsibilities? Obviously, establishing an NSF would require tremendous work.
Choosing the status quo carries the least risk but would involve higher costs as the current system continues into the next century. From a risk standpoint, doing nothing is the safest option.
USSPACECOMs AOR option appears viable but could have higher initial costs if the plan is implemented with either or both organizational consolidations and responsibilities. Establishing an AOR carries the risk of inviting an international perception of the weaponization of space and the possibility of a space arms race with an emerging peer competitor. Space has been militarized for decades. However, we could lessen those risks through diplomatic and informational campaigns of discussions, negotiations, and information sharing.
The designated-agency option has both high risk and high cost. Establishment of an NSF could seriously weaken the existing services and question the established force mix. Further, without its space forces and assets, the Air Force could become vulnerable to attempts to dissolve it as a service. Costs for transfer, recruiting, retention, and training of people for the NSF would be high, as well as costs for acquisition, transfer, and operation of materiel and equipment.
The UCP Working Group made its recommendation: keep the space AOR issue throughout the Working Group process. In September 1997, the senior leadership of DOD and JCS reached a decision on the matter.
In effect, CINCSPACE assumed almost all of the responsibilities of a geographic CINC within the context of the UCP framework except noncombatant emergency evacuation, peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief. Its all over but the emotional issuedesignating space as an AOR.24 USSPACECOM, already a functional unified command, will have codified in the UCP the additional responsibilities it sought as a regional CINCdom with an AOR.
USSPACECOMs new UCP responsibilities are an important step in military operations in space. USSPACECOM continues to support space being designated an AOR at the highest forums. Since responsibilities have been authorized for both a functional and regional unified command, some people would argue that space is a de facto AOR. All one has to do is codify that fact within the UCP framework to derive the full implications of a space AOR. A space AOR is not a question of why but a question of when. It is inevitable.
Space as an AOR has truly proved an emotional issue for many senior DOD decision makers. The traditional way of doing business, especially of conducting warfare and military operations, has changed before their very eyes. I would argue that the space AOR issue highlights a present-day, verifiable outcome in the revolution in military affairs.
Peterson AFB, Colorado
1. An AOR is a geographical area associated within a combatant command within which a combatant commander [CINC] has authority to plan and conduct operations. Joint Publication (Pub) 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, May 1994.
2. Briefing, Mr. Andrew R. Hoehn, principal director for strategy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, subject: Quadrennial Defense Review and Its Impact on DOD Policy, 23 July 1997.
3. Gen Charles A. Horner, CINCSPACE, Space, the Ultimate High Ground, speech to the National Space Symposium, Summer 1993.
4. Ronald H. Cole et al., The History of the Unified Command Plan, 19461993 (Washington, D.C.: Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [CJCS], February 1995), 95.
6. Johannes Kepler published his laws of planetary motion in 1609 and 1619. See James R. Wertz and Wiley J. Larson, eds., Space Mission Analysis and Design (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991), 12223.
7. Land, sea, and air are the traditional operating mediums; the fourth would be space. European Command, Atlantic Command, Pacific Command, Central Command, and Southern Command all have geographic AORs. USSPACECOM would have the sixth AOR.
8. The UCP Working Group consisted of representatives from the nine unified commands, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), US Forces Korea (USFK), and the services.
9. Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), 24 February 1995, III-5.
10. Sandra I. Meadows, Air Force Plan to Become Space Power Called Premature by Pentagon Official, National Defense: NDIAs Business & Technology Journal 82, no. 531 (October 1997): 1820.
11. Pentagon Considers Space as New Area of Responsibility, Aviation Week & Space Technology, 24 March 1997, 5455.
12. Andrew Wilson, ed., Interavia Space Directory, 19911992 (Alexandria, Va.: Janes Information Group, 1992), 21820.
13. Briefing, USSPACECOM/J5X, subject: Space as an AOR, 28 February 1997, slide 12.
14. Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993), 3.
15. USSPACECOM briefing, slides 1416.
16. Ibid., slide 24.
17. Ibid., slide 2.
18. Ibid., slide 3.
19. Ibid., slide 4.
21. Ibid., slide 7.
22. Ibid., slide 24.
23. The National Reconnaissance Office: The Nations Eyes and Ears in Space (Washington, D.C.: NRO Public Affairs Staff, 1997).
24. Brig Gen Alan Johnson, USSPACECOM/J5, interviewed by author, 5 October 1997.
|The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.|
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
LT COL GARY ENDERSBY, USAF, RETIRED
LT COL BARRY FULBRIGHT, USAF, RETIRED
|Unfortunately, it was not until Desert Storm that we discovered that conventional air operations could not only support a ground scheme of maneuver but also could directly achieve operational- and strategic-level objectives independent of ground forces, or even with ground forces in support.|
Gen Ronald R. Fogleman, former CSAF
IN SPITE OF the success of Desert Storm and more recently Deliberate Force, many airmen still lack a firm understanding of airpower.1 As a group, airmen fail to cogently articulate airpowers strengths, falling back on the widely accepted premise that airpower is solely a deliverer of services. This characterization is understood and readily accepted by the other branches of the military because that is precisely how they relate to airpower. This premise fits neatly into the Armys viewpoint that airpower is a powerful adjunct to maneuvering forces.2 Furthermore, it is beautifully tailored for the Armys operational doctrine whereby the Air Force functions, in effect, as the Armys air arm. While the supporting role of airpower continues to be of vital importance, it represents only a part of the total airpower picture. The Air Force looks beyond the pure surface support role and focuses a considerable portion of its effort on creating decisive theater-level and strategic effects. This ability to look beyond the geographically oriented surface battle is what separates the Air Force from the air arms of the other services and makes it the nations only full-service air force.
The concept of creating theater-level effects offers a broad range of options for commanders. Unfortunately, most airmen do not grasp the full potential and diversity of airpower. These same airmen often nod in agreement with their Army counterparts when airpower is described primarily as a provider of services. A reexamination is necessary to develop a comprehensive understanding of airpowers attributes and capabilities. Before that is done, however, it is necessary to lay the foundation of how and why the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force have different perspectives regarding airpower.
From the entry of aircraft into military service, airpower advocates sought victory through command and exploitation of the air. Some military leaders totally failed to grasp the importance and promise of airpower. A prime example is French general Ferdinand Foch, Allied commander in chief during World War I in 1918. He reputedly stated in March 1913 that aviation is fine as sport. I even wish officers would practice the sport, as it accustoms them to risk. But, as an instrument of war, it is worthless.3 Military analysts have had serious disagreements regarding airpowers potential to determine the outcome of conflicts. During its comparatively brief combat history, the role and importance of airpower have been hotly and passionately debated. The carnage of World War I furnished the impetus for airpower theorists such as Giulio Douhet, Hugh Trenchard, and William Billy Mitchell to espouse the benefits of this new form of warfare. The claims of these theorists and their disciples often fell short of the mark in the crucible of war. To many nonairmen, the history of airpower is a trail littered with broken promises. The strategic bombing campaigns in World War II, Korea, and North Vietnam all yielded results that, for a variety of reasons, lacked the decisiveness promised by the airpower visionaries.4 Consequently, an examination of airpowers achievements resulted in bitter arguments and differing perspectives between military practitioners on how best to employ airpower.
Joint doctrine serves as the unifying construct under which the services operate as a cohesive team and conduct military operations. But each service is responsible for its own particular doctrine and training. At the very heart of warfare lies doctrine. It represents central beliefs for waging war in order to achieve victory.5 At the very heart of doctrine lies the principles of war articulated by Antoine-Henri Jomini. The British army produced the first modern statement of the principles of war in 1920. More than a year later, in December 1921, the US War Department adopted the principles in Training Regulation 10-5, Doctrine, Principles, and Methods. Thus, the principles of war were incorporated into US military doctrine to serve as the foundation for the war-fighting guidelines of each service. Each service embraces a unique interpretation of these principles based on the inherent capabilities and the particular medium within which each service operates. The same principles become operational concepts and doctrine that guide the application of military forces. Because each service specializes in a unique environment, doctrinal differences emerge that affect both the structure and content of that doctrine. The manner in which the principles of war are interpreted and applied by surface combatants is different than that of airmen.6
If you are a soldier, then you believe that land power if used in certain ways can bring about more rapid and less expensive victory than if used in other ways.7 The Army naturally believes that land combat is decisive. Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations, states it rather succinctly: The mission of the U.S. Army is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The Army does this by deterring war and, when deterrence fails, by achieving quick, decisive victory on and off the battlefield anywhere in the world and under virtually any conditions as part of a joint team. It goes on to state, It is the Armys ability to react promptly and to conduct sustained land operations that make it decisive (emphasis in the original).8 Moreover, the Army recognizes that it normally operates in combination with air, naval, and space assets to achieve the overall strategic aim of decisive land combat and the Army is the only force capable of achieving land dominance. This sentiment resonates even more loudly today in the words of Gen Gordon Sullivan, the Armys former chief of staff: While the circumstances of warfare have changed considerably in terms of weapons system advances and capabilities . . . the essential nature of warfare has not changed. Units are still required to close with the enemy to get within direct fire range, engage the enemy, and either destroy him or force him to move off of contested terrain.9
Doctrine remains the heart and soul of the Army. Army officers believe they have an obligation to win and terminate the nations warsa role that in their view is not shared by the other services, who are considered necessary and valuable but nonetheless supporting arms in the joint force.10 The touchstones for the Army are the art of war and the profession of arms. Army officers profess to be first and foremost war fighters. Their separate branches are unified in their concepts and doctrine.11 Army doctrine is based on the philosophy of combined arms. It is defined as infantry, armor, and other branches ideally synchronizing close, deep, and rear battles. Maneuver and fires using combined arms enable the Army to gain positional advantage over the enemy. Everything revolves around a surface scheme of maneuver and shaping the battlefield for decisive land combat. Thus, geographic position on the battlefield is of critical importance to Army commanders. It is impossible for a land commander to ignore his own position, as well as that of enemy forces in terms of geographic location. Historically, geographic position of opposing armies has proven to be a critical element of land combat. From such a perspective, the soldier on the ground may intellectually comprehend the benefits to be derived from the independent application of airpower, but he has an overwhelming desire for its effects to be useful to his immediate environment of land warfare.12 Significant differences of opinion therefore exist between soldiers and airmen regarding the proper operational employment of airpower.
If you are a marine, then you believe that the integrity and unity of the Marine air-ground team is a holy and inviolate entity, not to be interfered with by anyone, including the joint force commander, but especially not an Air Force JFACC (joint force air component commander)!13 Marine Corps Doctrine Publication (MCDP) 1, Warfighting, describes the Marine Corps doctrine on war fighting. Furthermore, it sets forth a philosophy for action which, in war and in peace, dictates the Marine approach to duty. Current Marine Corps doctrine is based on maneuver warfare. This is a war-fighting doctrine based on rapid, flexible, and opportunistic maneuver. It is important to understand maneuver as a twofold concept: first, to maneuver in space is predicated on gaining a positional (i.e., geographical) advantage; second, to maneuver in time as well generates a faster operational tempo than the enemy to gain a temporal advantage. For the Marines, it is through maneuver in both dimensions that an inferior force can achieve decisive superiority at the necessary time and place.14
Organizationally, the Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) is uniquely equipped to perform a variety of tactical actionsamphibious, air, and landand to focus those actions into a unified scheme of maneuver. The MAGTFs organic aviation allows the commander to project power well in advance of close combat and to shape events in time and space.15 The effects of firepower (in which aircraft play a major role) are essential to the ability to maneuver. In this context, airpower equates to maneuver and firepower for the Marines. Artillery and close air support aid infantry penetration, and deep air support is used to interdict enemy reinforcements. (The concept of airpower as purely a supporting arm is clearly conveyed by the use of the term deep air support in lieu of interdiction.) Maneuver warfare is a way of thinking in and about war that shapes all actions.16 In the view of the Marine Corps, the Marine air-ground team was designed for a very specific purpose and it is wholly incomprehensible why anyone would ever want to break it up.17 In the final analysis, the geographic position of friendly forces on the battlefield, the position of enemy forces, and the corresponding centers of gravity of each of these fielded forces represent the essential ingredients comprising the Marine viewpoint of surface-oriented warfare.
If you are a seaman, then you believe that sea power if used in certain ways can bring about more rapid and less expensive victory.18 Its institution and its traditions, which have served it well during challenges to its relevancy, support the Navys orientation. The Navys culture has helped it formulate the maritime strategy to provide integration, coherence, and direction within the Navy. The creation of the Naval Doctrine Command and the publication of the Navys first doctrine solidified the Navys doctrinal foundation. Steeped in history and the tradition of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Sir Julian Corbett, Naval Doctrine Publication (NDP) 1, Naval Warfare, provides the naval position of why the United States is a maritime nation with many interests. The Navy still holds firmly to the quote from Themistocles: Whosoever can hold the sea has command of everything.19 NDP 1 maintains that sea control is still vital and a prerequisite for most land operations.20 These are geographically oriented concepts, and sea lines of communications such as the Strait of Hormuz play an important role in national security. Admittedly, with the advent of the aircraft carrier, the Navy arrived at the firm conclusion that airpower is part and parcel of war at seaan indivisible and holistic unity.21 Furthermore, the Navy is beginning to come to terms with the idea of effects-based airpower in its concept of projecting airpower ashore from the sea. Nevertheless, it still maintains a solid tie to geographic orientation when planning operations such as controlling sea-lanes, defeating enemy navies, or supporting amphibious operations.
The Navy promotes itself as the power-projection force that can respond worldwide in a minimum amount of time. Power projection is described as the Navys ability to project high-intensity power from the sea and is a cornerstone of effective deterrence, crisis response, and war. The Navy stresses two operational concepts.
The first important concept is that of battle space. From the Navys perspective, battle space is a zone of superiority from which the Navy projects power. It is defined by the outer reach of Navy weapon systems and, like a bubble, it moves above, on, and under the seaencompassing land, space, and time. Modern battle space is multidimensional and is neither fixed nor stationary. Dominance of these dimensions is the important factor in the survival and combat effectiveness of the Navy and the Marine Corps when amphibious operations are undertaken.
The second concept in Navy doctrine centers on forward presence. The Navy firmly believes it will be the first service on the scene whenever a crisis occurs. Through forward presence, naval service forces are there when the conflict begins and remain there after the crisis has abated. Thus, land-based forces are viewed only as transitory players, while the Navy is seen as the forward-deployed service, always on hand no matter what the contingency.
Soldiers, sailors, and marines are educated and trained in combined arms operations. They employ together and are inextricably linked by objectives and responsibilities that almost always focus on specific geographic positions on the ground or geographically important sea-lanes. The natural and legitimate inclination of professional soldiers, sailors, and marines is to apply airpower simply as another supporting combat arm to be synchronized by the surface commander in support of a particular objective.22
Airpower constitutes an inherently different form of warfare. Air and space forces are able to cross over land and sea boundaries and surpass all surface obstacles without difficulty. The advantages of airpower and space power over surface forces result in vastly superior mobility and responsiveness. Operations in the third dimension allow for speed, range, maneuverability, and a perspective unachievable by surface forces. These advantages provide air and space forces with unmatched capabilities to support both peacetime and contingency operations or to transition between activities with unequaled responsiveness. Air and space forces are able to respond quickly and worldwide on short notice to counter potential threats to the nations security interests. Additionally, these same forces provide air and space superiority, information superiority, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, global attack, and agile combat support around the globe. These competencies allow for detection and analysis of, and reaction to, situations with rapid, lethal, and decisive force regardless of time or location.
Increased speed, reliability, and responsiveness have fortified the presence of air forces, if relatively. The ability to conduct independent missions in areas where ground and naval forces cannot reach or are not present remains a primary military advantage of an air force. To cover the logical field of possibilities, airpower can support efforts on land and at sea, operate where ground and naval forces cannot, and undertake various operations that can feasibly be performed only from the air. The speed, range, and flexibility of airpower give it ubiquity, and this in turn imbues it with a wide range of capabilities.23
There are two ways to understand airpower. The first is the traditional approach whereby airpower is a provider of services. This is a narrow understanding of airpower and equates to delivering goods in a logistical fashion or supplying lethal firepower from the air. The second approach is a broader definition and encompasses a more complete understanding of airpower and its characteristics. Airpower is that form of military power generated by platforms capable of sustained, maneuvering, powered flight.24 This understanding incorporates, in addition to the provider of services role, airpowers ability to create decisive theater-level effects beyond the scope of the geographically oriented surface battle. Unfortunately, these different perspectives, each wholly understandable, result in fundamental differences of opinion among military professionals as to the proper application of airpower.25
If the end of airpower is striking at the enemy anywhere, not just at the enemys surface forces, then the Air Force is unique as an institution wielding airpower. The Navy, Marines, and Army (to a lesser degree) also possess airpower (and other means) to strike at the enemys engaged surface combat forces and to defend their own surface forces against enemy air attacks.26 This airpower, although vitally important, is directly related to surface force positions both of enemy and friendly forces. But here is where the distinction between soldiers, sailors, and airmen begins. To an airman, geographic position does not hold the same level of importance as it does for the surface warrior. Close, deep, and rear have no meaning to an airman except in relation to surface forces, if they are present. Granted, the surface battle may be of primary importance; and in that situation, airpowers priority naturally is directed towards the surface commanders needs.
At the operational level of war, theater objectives determine military priorities. The objective is especially important to airpower because of its inherent versatility. Unlike surface forces, modern air forces do not need to achieve tactical objectives first before pursuing operational or strategic objectives. From the outset, air forces pursue tactical, operational, or strategic objectives in any combination or simultaneously. Effects-based airpower is concentrated to directly achieve objectives with theaterwide significance, bypassing tactical objectives. From an airmans perspective, the objective shapes priorities, allowing air forces to concentrate on theater or campaign objectives and avoid the siphoning of airpower to fragmented objectives of lesser importance.
If you are an airman, then you believe that airpower if used in certain ways can bring about more rapid and less expensive victory than if used in other ways.27 Victory in the sense it is implied here conjures up an image of war. However, a broader interpretation of the word victory should be applied herein because effects-based airpower is not dependent on a war per se. In fact, effects-based airpower does not require a war in order to be effective and may indeed prevent a war. This concept of airpower focuses on the political-military objectives and is based on four interrelated premises. First, airpower may be employed totally independent of surface forces. Second, indivisible airpower centrally controlled by an airman can, in its own right, conduct decisive operations. Third, airpower is employed from a theater or global perspective to achieve theaterwide objectives. Lastly, airpower can accomplish multiple objectives simultaneously.
Clearly there are scores of examples to illustrate the concept of effects-based airpower. One of the most compelling examples is the Berlin airlift. In June 1948, the Soviet Union exploited the arrangements under which the United States, Great Britain, and France had occupied Germany by closing off all surface access to the city of Berlin. If left unchallenged, the provocative actions of the communists might not only have won them an important psychological victory, but also might have given them permanent control over all of Berlin. Worried that an attempt to force the blockade on the ground might precipitate World War III, the allies instead built a Luftbrückean air bridgeinto Berlin.
The Soviets for their part did not believe resupply of the city by air was even feasible, let alone practical. The Air Force turned to Maj Gen William Tunner, who had led the Hump airlift over the Himalayan mountains to supply China during World War II. As the nations leading military air cargo expert, he thoroughly analyzed our airlift capabilities and requirements and set in motion an airlift operation that would save a city.28 For 15 months, the 2.2 million inhabitants of the Western sectors of Berlin were sustained by airpower alone as the operation flew in 2.33 million tons of supplies in 277,569 flights.29 Airlift had previously come of age during World War II, but it is questionable whether its potential had been fully realized by commanders who predominantly defined strategic in terms of bombs on targets.30 The Berlin airlift was arguably airpowers single most decisive contribution to the cold war, and it unquestionably achieved a profound strategic effect. The Soviets eventual capitulation and dismantling of the surface blockade represented one of the great Western victories of the cold war and laid the foundation for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization without a bomb having been dropped.31
The second example of effects-based airpower comes from Desert Storm. On the early evening of 29 January 1991, Iraqi armor and mechanized infantry in eastern and southern Kuwait attacked US Marine and Saudi Arabian ground units at several points along the KuwaitiSaudi Arabian frontier. The Iraqi attack lasted a little over four days. Known collectively as the Battle of Khafji, this series of engagements represented the first and only Iraqi offensive of the Gulf War. By launching a cross-border offensive, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein likely hoped to provoke a major ground engagement and with it an opportunity to impose heavy casualties on coalition (especially American) forces. The Iraqi leaders presumed objective was to inflict American losses so high that congressional and public opinion would turn against the war. Unfortunately for Saddam, Khafji proved a devastating defeat.
The Battle of Khafji was preeminently an airpower victory. Coalition airpower furnished offensive and defensive firepower to friendly ground forces and effectively isolated the battlefield. The ability to rapidly mass joint airpower against enemy follow-on forces prevented the Iraqis from exploiting the element of tactical surprise and ensured that friendly casualties were much lower than otherwise might have been the case. In the end, joint airpower took a heavy toll of three Iraqi divisions, destroyed approximately 600 enemy vehicles, and resulted in the recovery of all lost territory with minimal losses.32
The strategic effects of joint air attacks transcended mere physical destruction. If the Iraqi offensive was to be successful, the initial offensive in and around Khafji required reinforcement and exploitation by at least two additional divisions. The Iraqis attempted to use the cover of darkness, which had worked so well in the Iran-Iraq war, to marshal these additional forces for a decisive encounter with the coalition. Denied the ability to exploit darkness through a combination of the joint surveillance, target attack radar system (JSTARS) and night-capable strike aircraft, the Iraqis could only dig in and contemplate three bleak alternatives: fight in place and likely die, surrender, or retreat. As much as any single event of the Gulf War, the outcome of the Battle of Khafji appears to have undermined not only the Iraqi armys will to fight but also Saddams overall strategy for the war.33 Quite simply, the Iraqi strategy of drawing allied ground forces into large, high-casualty battles seems to have been defeated in detail at Khafji. It wasnt merely the recovery of Khafji nor the destruction of the better part of three Iraqi divisions that was decisive, but it was the effect of defeating Saddams strategy that proved decisive.
All of the services have air arms, but as Gen Ronald R. Fogleman, former USAF chief of staff, notes, We are the nations Air Forcethe only service that provides air and space power across the spectrum, from basic research to combat operations.34 In order to understand the concept of effects-based airpower, it is important to start with a review of the perspectives of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The traditional land-centric perspective of war subscribes to maneuver, gain positional advantage, and lastly seize and hold terrain. Surface commanders view airpower as the ultimate maneuver force that can help shape the battlefield. Surface proponents are steadfast in their belief that control of the enemys land is the only decisive way to win the war. Even joint doctrine carries forward this land-centric focus because it is still largely based on dominant surface maneuver. All joint operations ultimately support the land campaign. Most of all, it is striking how closely joint doctrine runs parallel to the Army doctrine of maneuver, fires, and force protection.
Few countries can exploit airpower as thoroughly as the United States. Commensurate with an effects-based concept of airpower is the twofold nature of American military power: first, airpower is the preeminent means for preventing and deterring war; second, if a conflict arises, then airpower in the form of air and space superiority is the prerequisite for all other operations. A comprehensive understanding of the totality of airpower is a necessity for all operations. Is airpower a panacea or a substitute for surface forces? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. However, it does offer a wide degree of flexibility in its employment and can, as can surface forces, be decisive in its own right in many situations. In order to maximize the potential of airpower, we need to learn to think in terms of the effects it can produce rather than merely the support it can provide to surface forces. The bottom line remains that effects-based airpower has tremendous merit based on its employment in the past and its promise for the future.
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
1. Col Robert C. Owen, USAF, The Balkans Air Campaign Study: Part 2, Airpower Journal 11, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 625. This part of the study focuses on the execution and implications of Deliberate Force in the fall of 1995.
2. Eliot A. Cohen, The Meaning and Future of Air Power, Orbis 39, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 191.
3. John H. Morrow Jr., Expectation and Reality: The Great War in the Air, Airpower Journal 10, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 27.
4. Col Dennis M. Drew, Airpower in the New World Order (Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 1991). Note that during Vietnam, Rolling Thunder was not a strategic air campaign. The 94-target plan advanced by airmen in 1964 was a true strategic air campaign, but was rejected by President Johnson and his advisors.
5. Gen Curtis E. LeMay, quoted in Air Force Manual (AFM) 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, 1984, i.
6. Rebecca Grant, briefing delivered to Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., October 1996.
7. Lt Gen John P. Jumper, Headquarters USAF (Plans and Operations), presentation for the 1996 Joint War-Fighting Symposium of the National Defense University, April 1996.
8. Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations, 14 June 1993, iv, 1-4.
9. David Callahan, Air Power Comes of Age, Technology Review 97 (August/September 1994): 70.
10. Rebecca Grant, Closing the Doctrine Gap, Air Force Magazine 80, no. 1 (January 1997): 4852.
11. Carl H. Builder, The Icarus Syndrome: The Role of Air Power Theory in the Evolution and Fate of the U.S. Air Force (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, c.1994), 5.
12. Harold R. Winton, A Black Hole in the Wild Blue Yonder: The Need for a Comprehensive Theory of Airpower, Airpower History 39, no. 4 (Winter 1992): 32.
13. Maj Gen Charles D. Link, special assistant to the chief of staff of the United States Air Force, briefing to National Defense Review, April 1997.
14. Marine Corps Doctrine Publication (MCDP) 1, Warfighting, 20 June 1997, 58.
15. MCDP 1-1, Campaigning, 20 June 1997, 28.
16. Fleet Marine Forces Manual (FMFM) 1, Warfighting, 6 March 1989, 77.
17. Winton, 33.
18. Jumper briefing, April 1996.
19. Naval Doctrine Publication 1, Naval Warfare, 28 March 1994, 3.
20. Ibid., 9.
21. Winton, 33.
22. Col Phillip S. Meilinger, 10 Propositions Regarding Airpower (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1995), 19.
24. Cohen, 190.
25. Winton, 33.
26. Builder, 215.
27. Jumper briefing, April 1996.
28. Alfred Goldberg, ed., A History of the United States Air Force,19071957 (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1957), 23536.
29. Alan Stephens, Going Solo: The Royal Australian Air Force, 19461971 (Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995), 201.
30. The strategic use of airpower during World War II included the US Army Air Forces resupply missions over the Hump from northeast India into southwest China. It was precisely because of the success of this strategic operation that the Air Force even considered the Berlin airlift. See William H. Tunner, Over the Hump (Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1985).
31. Alan Stephens, Alive and Well: The Air School of Strategic Thought (Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1996), 13.
32. James R. W. Titus, The Battle of Khafji: An Overview and Preliminary Analysis, unpublished research paper (Maxwell AFB, Ala., College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education, September 1996).
34. Quoted in Col Michael E. Haas, USAF, Retired, Apollos Warriors: US Air Force Special Operations during the Cold War (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Press, 1997), vii.
|The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is besides the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.|
Justice Anthony Kennedy
LT COL SAUNDRA J. REINKE, USAF
CHANGE IS FRIGHTENING. In this age of downsizing, reorganization, movement of units, base closures, frequent deployments, outsourcing, and privatization, change is everywhere. Such major changes to the way weve always done business in the Air Force have left many people feeling disoriented and lost.
Major transitions unleash powerful conflicting forces in people. The change invokes simultaneous positive and negative personal feelings of fear and hope, anxiety and relief, pressure and stimulation, leaving the old and accepting a new direction, loss of meaning and new meaning, threat to self-esteem and new sense of value.1
Leading people through such major changes is a difficult task. It calls for leaders with courage and conviction, leaders with the ability to develop a vision of what can be, to mobilize the organization to accept and work toward the new vision, and to institutionalize the changes that must last over time.2 In times like these, it is appropriate to take a few moments to look again at leadership and what it takes to lead in tough times. Unfortunately, scholars who have studied leadership have produced a range of conflicting theories. Leadership theory can now be summarized as follows: Leader characteristics and situational demands interact to determine the extent to which a given leader will provide successfully in a group.3 In other words, there is no single all-purpose leadership style that is universally successful.4
Here is a simpler approach to successful leadership based on research and my experience as a squadron commander.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you should require no explanation. And yet, how many supervisors forget to say good morning to their subordinates? How many leaders chair meetings that lack purpose and structure, wasting everyones time? How many supervisors gossip about their bosses and peers? How many leaders forget to praise in public, reprimand in private? How many leaders chop off the heads of messengers with bad news?
Treating people with respect, dignity, and concern improves performance and morale. In one field study of seven different organizations, the results proved that highly productive employees consistently had supervisors who treated them as people, not as tools to get the job done.5 Good interpersonal relationships between leaders and those they lead improve productivity and unit morale.6
Thou shalt be consistent. Consistency breeds trust. In experimental research involving prisoners dilemma, subjects were more likely to respond to guidance from sources whose behavior and communication were clear and consistent.7 Why? Because they felt the source was more trustworthy. Subordinates react to supervisory behavior and communication based upon consistency between what the supervisor says and what the supervisor does.8 Ask yourself what sort of behavior do you reward? Punish? And then ask yourself, is that really what I want to reward or punish?
THE LEADERS TEN COMMANDMENTS
Thou shalt get out of thy office regularly speaks to the importance of spending time out actually seeing what is happening in your organization. How do you know what is happening if you never go look? Secretaries often unwittingly compound the problem by obligingly scheduling their bosses for days of wall-to-wall meetings. So whos in charge of your life? Your secretary? Your calendar?
How you allocate your time sends powerful messages to the people you lead about what you think is important.9 If you spend your time doing paperwork, the message you convey to your followers is simple: my paperwork is more important than you are. No wonder researchers have found that supervisors who spend their time on their paperwork have lower-producing work sections than those with supervisors who spend more of their time actually training, communicating, and leading their subordinates.10
Thou shalt avoid snap decisions. Certainly, there are times when rapid decisions must be made; however, those occasions are far fewer than we think. We are most prone to making snap decisions when something has gone wrong. How we deal with mistakes, errors, and failures communicate powerful messages to those we lead.11 As leaders, we rely on information to make decisions. If we shoot the messenger, our subordinates will be more likely to keep vital information from us.
Thou shalt make time for thy people. As mentioned previously, how leaders use their time communicates powerful messages to followers. We often hear that people are our most important assets or take care of the people and theyll take care of the mission. But how much time do we actually spend taking care of the people? To go back to what was said earlier about consistency, followers judge how much their leaders care by what their leaders do. Making time for those who work for you is the most powerful way to convey to them how much you care.
Thou shalt take the time to listen is the sixth leadership commandment, and a very powerful one. Taking the time to listen to the needs and concerns of followers has a major impact on their morale, their productivity, and their perceptions of you as a leader. To improve your listening skills, try applying some of these suggestions. Make eye contact with the speaker; eye contact reassures them that you care about what they have to say. Try to tune out your ideas. Listen to the conceptthe ideabehind what the person is trying to say. Listen to understandnot to refute or question. Take notes. Subordinates will be flattered if you take a few; however, if youre always taking notes, theyre apt to think youre not listening. Keep your feelings positive; try to control any negative feelings you may have about the speaker. And credit the source when youre passing on someone elses good ideas.12 Listening takes timebut its time well spent!
Thou shalt always be in control of thyself. Its commonly said that if we cant control ourselves, we cant control others. Leaders who indulge in temper tantrums, tirades, shouting matches, and abusive language damage their relationships with subordinates, and as a result, damage unit morale and productivity.13
Thou shalt communicate clearly with thy subordinates. How many times have we seen communication get garbledand work done incorrectly or not at all as a result? Taking a few minutes to provide clear direction, goals, and feedback pays off. Researchers have repeatedly shown a connection between clear communication and improved performance.14 Furthermore, subordinates who understand what the goal is are better able to adapt tactics to fit the situation and meet objectives.
There are several things leaders can do to improve communication. First, know what you want. Second, pay attention to the subordinate; eye contact is a good way to check for understanding. Third, use plain English to communicate. Finally, it takes only a few seconds to check for understanding by asking if your listener understands what you want.15
Thou shalt take responsibility for thy actions. If you order something done, take the hit for it if something goes wrong. Accepting responsibility for decisions and actions taken is a crucial leadership skill.16 You can delegate authority, but not responsibility.
Assuming youve mastered the previous nine commandments, the last oneThou shalt LEAD thy peopleshould be automatic. Treat people with respect and dignity, listen to what they say, be consistent, exhibit self-control, communicate clearly, and take responsibility for your decisions sum up the leaders ten commandments; adhering to them ensures that a leader earns the respect of followersand doesnt waste time demanding respect.
Leadership is a challenge, especially during periods of rapid change. Successful leadership calls for leaders who can recognize the mixed emotions people experience as a result of change and can act to mobilize and focus peoples energy on the positive features of change and the actions needed to make change successful. The leaders ten commandments are the essential skills every leader needs. The rapid and intense change the Air Force is undergoing means those basic skills are more urgently needed than ever. The Air Force as an institution will survive. Whether it continues to thrive depends on its leaders. Its up to us to stop focusing on how things used to be, seize the challenge of leadership, and move the Air Force forward to the next century.
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
1. Noel M. Tichy and David O. Ulrich, The Leadership ChallengeA Call for the Transformational Leader, Sloan Management Review 26, no. 1 (1984): 68.
2. Ibid., 59.
3. Bernard M. Bass, Bass & Stogdills Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research and Managerial Applications (New York: Free Press, 1981), 585.
4. Paul Hersey and Peter Blanchard, The Life Cycle Theory of Leadership, Training and Development Journal 23, no. 5 (May 1969): 27.
5. Robert L. Kahn and Daniel Katz, Leadership Practices in Relation to Productivity and Morale, in Classic Readings in Organization Behavior, ed. J. Steven Ott (Pacific Grove, Calif.: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1989), 290.
6. Barry R. Nathan, Alan M. Mohrman Jr., and John Milliman, Interpersonal Relations as a Context for the Effects of Appraisal Interviews on Performance and Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study, Academy of Management Journal 34, no. 2 (June 1991): 353.
7. James L. Hogan, Roger H. Fisher, and Bruce John Morrison, Social Feedback and Cooperative Game Behavior, Psychological Reports 35 (1974): 108081.
8. Rensis Likert, New Patterns of Management (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1961), 5459.
9. Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Leadership as Cultural Expression, in Classic Readings in Organization Behavior, 339.
10. Kahn and Katz, 28789.
11. Mary Parker Follett, The Giving of Orders, in Classic Readings in Organization Behavior, 264.
12. Air Force Handbook (AFH) 37-137, The Tongue and Quill, 31 August 1994, 105.
13. This idea is covered in a wide range of scholarly research including several of the works cited above, such as Kahn and Katz, Hersey and Blanchard, Sergiovanni, and Nathan, Mohrman, and Milliman.
14. This is another idea that has been widely studied and confirmed. For example, see Herbert H. Meyer, Emmanuel Kay, and John R. P. French Jr., Split Roles in Performance Appraisal, Harvard Business Review 43 (JanuaryFebruary 1965): 12329; and Cynthia M. Pavett, Evaluation of the Impact of Feedback on Performance and Motivation, Human Relations 36, no. 7 (1983): 64154.
15. Tongue and Quill, 16.
16. Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1960), 277.
|Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.|
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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