Air University Review, July-August 1984

Project Control

creative strategic thinking at Air University

Lieutenant Colonel David J. Dean

THROUGH the years, professional military education (PME) has been the primary task of Air University. While Air University also strives to be a center within the Air Force for creative thought about air warfare, its study of doctrine, concepts, and strategy has been simply one aspect of its larger PME curricula. Establishing an atmosphere for innovative thinking is difficult, even within Air University, especially when the aim is to study such ethereal topics as strategy and doctrine. Several examples of attempts to do so dot the history of Air University: some have been successful; others, much less so. The criteria for evaluating the success of such efforts are imprecise, particularly when compared to the specific parameters we can use to assess the effectiveness of professional military education. Moreover, we must often overcome bureaucratic inertia, group think, and established ways of doing things. That is a situation that has always existed, as evidenced by the motto of the Air Corps Tactical School: Proficimus More Irretenti (We Progress Unhindered by Tradition). In some situations, a less formal effort may be more conducive to creativity. One individual (or even a small group) may generate enough interest in an idea that an ad hoc organization will form to analyze that concept in depth.

Air University's Project Control is a premier example of creative strategic thinking in the Air Force. It had its beginning as an informal, ad hoc effort to pursue the ideas of one man, Colonel Raymond S. Sleeper. While a member of the Air War College faculty, Sleeper was able to gather a group of people into an organization to study, test, and project his ideas on how a strategic concept of air power could be meshed with the political goals of the United States. He was most concerned with developing a strategy of using our air power to control or modify the behavior of a potential aggressor, especially the Soviet Union.

Inspiration for
Project Control

Colonel Sleeper became interested initially in the concept of air control in 1948 when he attended an Air Force briefing on identifying strategic targets in the Soviet Union. This briefing, addressed to key officials in the State Department, stressed the importance of destroying large Soviet cities that were strategic military, industrial, and political centers. However, George Kennan and Charles Bohlen, two of the State Department's leading Sovietologists and two of the most influential foreign policy advisers in the Truman administration, expressed strong dissent about a strategy of atomic bomb attacks on Soviet population centers.1

The reaction of Kennan and Bohlen convinced Colonel Sleeper that a serious gap existed between U.S. military thinking and planning and the goals that were being set by political leaders. He began to consider how the Air Force could use the air power of the United States to protect and advance our national interests in ways other than by the atomic devastation of Soviet cities. Soon he was challenging the prevailing post-World War II Air Force doctrine that the chief value of U.S. air power was as a powerful retaliatory force that could crush the Communist monolith when, or if, the Soviet Union attacked Western Europe. Sleeper wanted to find new means of using the deterrence value of our overwhelming strategic air power in combination with economic, political, conventional military, and psychological warfare pressures to force the Soviet Union to acquiesce to strong U.S. policy initiatives and national interests. The rhetoric of Eisenhower's first presidential campaign--to roll back communism and to undertake bold new initiatives--provided added impetus to Colonel Sleeper's thinking.

Background of
"Control by Air"

Colonel Sleeper first encountered the idea of control by air while studying the techniques used by the British to control obstreperous tribes in the Middle East during the 1920s and 1930s. The British found that the use of air power to enforce their will in colonial areas was cheaper, more effective, and more politically appealing than the use of land forces. Basically, the focus of British air control doctrine was coercion with minimum force. By the end of the 1930s, air control had become a recognized method of achieving political ends with the minimum use of force.2

Elements of Air Control

From his analysis of British air control doctrine, Sleeper identified five factors that were critical to establishing effective air control. The United States would need to have air superiority; detailed military, economic, political, and psychological intelligence about the target population and nation; clearly stated and communicated objectives (which must be compatible with our military capabilities); and continuous overt and covert communications with the enemy's leaders. In addition, there would have to be an indigenous political structure or group in effective control that could be persuaded to accept our terms. It might be necessary to replace the group in power with another organization more amenable to U.S. terms. Under these conditions, air power could be used in incremental steps to serve as a tool of persuasion, to apply direct pressure or force, and to aid in administering or policing the target country if direct occupation became necessary.3

Building the Project
Control Organization

After his arrival at Air War College, Sleeper's thoughts began to coalesce into his central thesis: control of the air, supported by all facets of national power, could enable the United States to modify the actions of a potential aggressor before a situation deteriorated and actual conflict or full-scale war became necessary. Colonel Sleeper dubbed his concept "control by air and other means." Others at Air University grew interested in his ideas and gradually an ad hoc group formed to analyze the concept of air control. Sleeper labeled this growing research effort "Project Control."

The goal of Project Control was to study, test, and plan ways to support U.S. political goals with a strategy based on air control. Then, as now, the main target of such a strategy was to be the Soviet Union. By examining the experiences of World War II in terms of the political, social, and military histories of Japan and Germany between 1930 and 1950, Colonel Sleeper hoped to determine whether the United States and its Western allies could have controlled the aggressiveness and prewar development of those two nations (or, failing that, shortened and made the war less costly) by applying a strategy of "control by air and other means." From these historical analyses, Sleeper expected that we could then develop a policy toward the Soviet Union for the mid- 1950s and beyond that was based on a strategy of control by air.

Colonel Sleeper recognized that this project would require a large, dedicated team to do the necessary research and analysis. He also realized that Air University lacked the organizational resources to undertake such a large-scale effort. Thus, he turned to Headquarters USAF with hopes of obtaining the necessary resources and support from the Air Staff. After a 5 January 1953 meeting at the Pentagon, Brigadier General Hunter Harris, Air Force Director of War Plans, was quick to give his strong support to Project Control. In a letter to Sleeper, General Harris stated that a study on air control would prove worthwhile to the Air Force; he further stated that correspondence from the Air Staff to Air University requesting such a study would be forthcoming.4

On 10 June, Sleeper was back at the Pentagon to brief the Air Force operations staff on his progress on Project Control. He outlined the expected scope of the research: Project Control would consist of six major studies--the Concept of Air Control, the Air Control of Japan, the Air Control of Germany, and a three-volume work, The Persuasion, Pressure, and Administration of Russia by Air.

Colonel Sleeper's briefing brought quick results. Lieutenant General Thomas D. White, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, in a letter to Air University's commander, Lieutenant General Laurence S. Kuter, said that the Air Force considered Project Control as "unusually significant." General White directed that

every practicable effort be made to expedite a full and complete development of the subject matter [and] that the study should be regarded as a high priority charge against the resources available to the Air University . . . . Any assistance you may require from other agencies of the Air Force will be accorded high priority by this headquarters.5

In July, Air War College was given the responsibility for Project Control and the initial operating requirements were set.

Initially, the Project Control team consisted of four officers from Air University, six officers on temporary duty from other Air Force commands, six professional civilian employees of Air University, and seven clerk-typists. In late July, Colonel Sleeper outlined requirements for additional staff to carry out the work of Project Control. He asked for ten more officers from Headquarters USAF, two more from Air University, and three from both the Army and Navy; thirty-seven professional civilians from Headquarters USAF, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, and civilian universities; and twenty-one additional typists from Air University. Sleeper's further request for funds to hire twenty university scholars as consultants pushed Project Control's estimated budget to nearly $220,000 and a projected staff of almost 100 people. His requests were ambitious and would have caused any manager to gasp in dismay. The Air Staff, in fact, did just that; in a 30 July 1953 message, the Air Force stated that the project was an "additional requirement" to be achieved within the current resources of Air University.6

The message seemed to spell a quick end to Colonel Sleeper's daring enterprise. Not even Major General Roscoe Wilson, Air War College commandant and a strong advocate of Proj ect Control, could afford to support the effort at these levels without undercutting the ability of his school to fulfill its mission. Colonel Sleeper was faced with a serious challenge of finding ways of keeping Project Control alive. However, Major General Franklin O. Carroll, commander of the Human Resources Research Institute (HRRI), a tenant unit at Maxwell Air Force Base, came to the rescue; he offered $100,000 from the HRRI budget to hire the academic consultants. In the meantime, Colonel Sleeper had briefed Brigadier General Lloyd P. Hopwood, commandant of the Air Command and Staff School (ACSS), on the project. General Hopwood offered to provide eighteen officers from the Field Officers Course to work part-time on Project Control. The ACSS students were to be organized into special study groups and would fill gaps not filled by the Air Staff or Air University. The civilian scholars hired as consultants would critically review and guide the work done by these ACSS study groups, as well as contribute their own original material to the effort.7 In time, more than 100 students became involved in the Project Control studies.

Project Control finally got off the ground in August 1953 with a staff of two officers from Air University, four civilians, and a stenographer. General Kuter authorized hiring three additional stenographers and promised to assign twelve military clerks. He also promised to have a building ready to house Project Control by 30 September. The Air Force directors of intelligence and strategic plans had provided specialists on temporary duty to help analyze Japanese, German, Soviet, and U.S. military capabilities. Nonetheless, it was clear that Project Control was to be an Air University effort. Colonel Sleeper would need to rely on imagination and dynamism to beg, borrow, and "steal" the personnel and resources to stay in business.

In December 1953, Project Control faced another crisis. It came just as the air control hypothesis was being analyzed and tested in detail against the German and Japanese experiences in World War II. Major General Donald N. Yates, director of research and development at Headquarters USAF, challenged the continued use of civilian scholars as consultants. Apparently, he was reacting to comments from a U.S. senator who had criticized the Air Force for doing social science research.8

On 21 December, Colonel Sleeper briefed General Yates and others on the objectives of Project Control and the progress made to date.9 Although he agreed that the project was important, General Yates did not relent on his decision to cancel the contracts of the consulting scholars. The critical input of high-quality scholarship seemed doomed. Colonel Sleeper engaged in desperate discussions with the Air Staff to try to find some way of continuing the contracts to hire academic consultants. But no immediate solution was forthcoming. Thus, the consultants' visits for early January 1954 had to be canceled.

The new year began with frantic attempts to keep Project Control viable. Finally, through his personal intervention, General Kuter was able to convince General Yates to extend the contracts for another thirty days.10 Air University hired back fourteen of the consultants immediately. The consultants' critical reviews of the analyses done by Project Control added immeasurably to the quality of the final reports and ensured that the work could withstand the test of academic scrutiny.

At the end of January, Project Control had only six weeks left to complete the analytic substance of the project. These six weeks were a critical phase in the success of the effort. Colonel Sleeper now found that he had to juggle his time between working with the Project Control study groups and trying to obtain adequate professional editorial help. The latter task proved to be as difficult as getting money for the academic consultants. During this time, the remaining Project Control staff (four fulltime officers from Air University, fifteen ACSS students who had stayed for ninety days' TDY after graduation, four full-time civilians, one full-time ACSS officer, one part-time employee, and nineteen clerical employees) worked at full speed to put the studies into final form before the end of March, when the last of the ACSS students would leave. The research and analysis phase of Project Control was completed on 10 March. Largely due to Sleeper's personal energy, Project Control was able to get both the continued consultant support and the professional editing that were necessary to the success of the project. But these administrative headaches required much perseverance and fortitude by everyone. A handful of remaining officers and civilians continued working to complete the editing and publishing of the study as the end of March 1954 approached. All involved in the project were relieved to see Project Control finally wind down. Or so they thought.

A Bombshell out of the Blue

On 31 March, a bombshell message (also sent to the commanders of the Far East Air Forces and the Tactical Air Command) from the Vice Chief of Staff, General Nathan F. Twining, was received at Air University . The Vice Chief was disturbed about the doubts being raised in the "New Look" debates regarding the capability of the Air Force to "do anything other than [take] massive retaliatory action in the event of a major war." General Twining noted that: "Most of the doubts expressed and many of the outright charges made concerning the limitations of [Air Force's role in the] 'New Look' contain a fundamental implication that surface forces are more capable of dealing with localized aggressions than are air forces." The Vice Chief did not believe that the Air Force had projected a capacity to combat local aggression. Therefore, the Air Force did not "appear capable of justifying increased air power to meet the military threats [of] anything short of major war." He wanted to know: "What can air forces do to resolve the military problem in Indochina?" General Twining tasked his commanders to explore possible solutions to the Indochina problem. One option he mentioned specifically was air control.11

Here was a new challenge for Air University: a real-world problem that touched on a weakness in Air Force doctrine and capability. The mention of air control made Sleeper the obvious choice to organize and direct the Air University effort to analyze the situation in Indochina and propose an Air Force role in arriving at a military solution to that problem. Because of the high-level interest, support from all agencies at Air University abounded. The team concept used so successfully in the original Project Control was tailored for a high-intensity effort on Indochina. Again, Colonel Sleeper spearheaded the effort; he led a coordinating team that supervised the work of the eleven study teams that analyzed narrow segments of the overall problem in Indochina. Fifty-one officers from throughout Air University were tapped to participate in the Indochina Project Control. Only one day after receiving General Twining's message, Sleeper had the new project well under way. Six senior officers from Washington, D.C., Air Training Command headquarters, and Tactical Air Command arrived to assist the study teams.

By 3 April a rough draft of a proposal for action in Indochina was completed. The study was considered "hot" enough to send directly to Headquarters USAF without editorial refinement. It was received at the Pentagon on 11 April, just twelve days after the Vice Chief had issued his directive to Air University. Meanwhile, Air University had decided to initiate study on the air control of Communist China relative to the Indochina conflict. The team completed this aspect of the study on 21 April, and Sleeper briefed senior Air University officials on the findings.

The Indochina team crammed into its studies several proposals and observations about the ability of the United States to intervene in that conflict. In general terms, the Indochina studies concluded that:

The teams also provided specific recommendations on command structures, force structure requirements, logistics requirements, and related subjects. All in all, they produced impressive results for only a twelve-day effort. The studies showed clearly that intensive analyses done in small, specialized research groups modeled after the Project Control study could produce results quickly and efficiently. After the crash effort of the Indochina study, the air control team got back to its chief business: selling a new strategy to cope with the Soviet Union.

Impossible Dream?

Born as it was during the era when the new Eisenhower administration still talked of rolling back communism, Project Control had rather ambitious goals for a U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. Project Control produced three major works on air control of the Soviet Union. The factors and concepts analyzed in these three works grew out of the research and analysis that the teams had done on Japan and Germany.

The first book presented a detailed analysis of Russian history from early czarist days up to 1953 and concluded with essays on perceived U.S. national objectives toward the Soviet Union and perceived Soviet objectives toward the West and other areas of the world. The attempt to determine the primary goals of the Soviets generated much controversy. The view that Moscow's first priority was to perpetuate the Communist regime and internal security of Mother Russia won out over the belief that world conquest was the raison d'Ítre of the Kremlin.

Book two was an in-depth examination of those factors that were critical to developing an air control plan for the Soviet Union. This volume analyzed such areas of central concern as the social structure of Russia and the communications capabilities and facilities between the West and the Soviet Union. The central hypothesis underlying the effort to develop the air control plan was:

If the U.S. could adequately analyze the social structure of Russia, it would be possible through control of the air .  . . to exploit the vulnerabilities of Soviet society, disintegrate the iron curtain and assist and develop a new government in Russia, and achieve a stable world peace through persuasive measures.13

An aspect of the Project Control analysis was to identify indigenous power groups that potentially could replace the ruling Communists. Thus, this second book analyzed the size, composition, psychological characteristics, and vulnerabilities of the major elements in Soviet society: the armed forces, the Communist party, the Soviet elite, internal security apparatus, bureaucracy, labor force, peasantry, and regional nationality groups. Studying these elements was a significant departure from the norm for Air Force officers more accustomed to examining straightforward military methods for dealing with the Soviet Union.

The third part of the Soviet study described in general terms the types of operations that the West might take against the Soviets during the persuasion, pressure, and administration phases of an air control plan. While stressing that the goal was to coerce the Soviet Union to change its actions and policies, Project Control officers nonetheless recommended some ambitious methods of persuasion: forward air patrols, an air reconnaissance offensive, dismantling of the iron curtain, and the unification of Germany. The key to the success of a strategy of persuasion stemmed from the underlying belief among the control teams that the superior atomic power of the United States gave it a decisive psychological edge over the Soviets. Thus, the United States should be able to use this advantage, along with diplomatic actions, to attain our national objectives, given that the United States also had a definite economic and moral superiority over its adversary. But this rationale assumed that the United States would maintain its superiority over the Soviet Union in both nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles until at least 1957. Once the Soviets achieved nuclear parity, then the ability of the United States to coerce the Soviet Union through control techniques would be ended.

Project Control suggested that through forward air patrols, the United States could defend against Soviet air attacks and provide intelligence on the northern air operations of the Soviet Union by extending U.S. air defenses across the Arctic Circle to the periphery of the Soviet Union. The control officers recommended that we use RC-121 aircraft for this mission--a primitive form of airborne warning and control for early warning only. (Later, this idea was adopted by the North American Defense Command; it represented a new direction in air defense thinking--putting the line of defense as close to the enemy as possible.)14

The air reconnaissance offensive proposed by Project Control involved our initiating a program of shallow and deep overflight penetrations of the Soviet Union. The control analysts argued that such flights would demonstrate to the Soviets that the United States had shifted from a purely defensive posture of striking back only if attacked to adopting a more offensive posture of using U.S. air power in a dynamic role. Moreover, a reconnaissance offensive would give the United States intelligence about the location, disposition, and operations of Soviet air forces. To carry out such an offensive the Air Force would need aircraft designed specifically for strategic reconnaissance rather than modified fighters and bombers.

Colonel Sleeper's briefing on this aspect of the air control concept to then-Colonel Bernard Schriever (later a full general) may have been the first step in developing the U-2 spy plane.15 This briefing also may have had some impact on President Eisenhower's 1955 "Open Skies" speech, in which the President proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union voluntarily allow reconnaissance overflights of their territories to preclude any possibility of surprise attacks.16 The proposal never received much acceptance, but that did not stop the United States from overflying the Soviet Union and China once the U-2 became available.

Project Control analysts also foresaw the advent of reconnaissance satellites that would fulfill the intelligence functions in later reconnaissance offensives. Should all such "persuasive" tactics fail, however, they believed that the United States could initiate a campaign of direct pressure to force the Soviets to submit to our will while we were still in a position of strategic superiority.

Several interesting concepts emerged from the Soviet phase of Project Control. First, Project Control analysts saw the use of strategic air power as clearly the cheapest way to achieve national objectives. Second, although a strategic atomic offensive was the main feature of the pressure phase, they advocated that it be directed primarily at military targets, especially the long-range elements of the Soviet air forces. Project Control proposed a dramatic shift away from city busting and massive retaliation to a concept of gradually increased pressure, which would lead to early negotiations that would be favorable to the United States. This proposal had much in common with the doctrine of graduated response of the early 1960s. Project Control also strongly recommended that an aggressive act be redefined as clear indications of aggressive preparations by the Soviets that would require a preemptive strike. Most of the operations proposed in Project Control were radically different from initiatives then contemplated by the military. Therefore, control analysts urged that their scenarios be war-gamed, that the intelligence needed to implement an air control plan be gathered and evaluated, and that the concept of control by air be studied further.

The Impact of Project Control:
The Briefings

The research analyses developed during Project Control, even after careful editing, filled several thousand pages. Dumping this highly classified and monumental study on potential users would have ensured that it received little attention. Few people would have the time, inclination, and security clearance to read and digest it. To solve this problem, the control team prepared a summary volume. Colonel Sleeper recognized also that to get his ideas circulated widely at the top, he would have to synthesize the major findings and proposals of Project Control into a concise, polished oral briefing. Beginning in the spring of 1954, he was busied with a cycle of briefings.

After a series of briefings in Washington, Sleeper was called to brief the Air Force World Wide Commanders Conference at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on 24 May 1954. This meeting brought together the commanders of all Air Force major commands and key members of the Air Staff; the elite of the Air Force leadership was present--Generals LeMay, Norstadt, White, Partridge, Twining, and Weyland. In a memorandum to Sleeper, General Kuter reported that the Secretary of the Air Force wanted to get this briefing to the White House immediately. He also wrote that the conferees were quite reassured to know "that the Air University is not planning to fight World War III 1/2 . . ., but that it is apparently doing as well in planning for World War III as the Air Corps Tactical School for World War II."13

In June, Colonel Sleeper was assigned to temporary duty on the Air Staff, where he began an exhaustive briefing cycle to many of the nation's top leaders, including Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, Robert Cutler (Executive Director of the National Security Council), Allen Dulles (Director of the Central Intelligence Agency), and Admiral Arthur W. Radford (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff). Many of the senior staff officers in the armed forces also attended the briefings.

The concept of control by air proved controversial; many argued against its feasibility, while others said that it had great potential. Admiral Radford believed that Project Control's proposals should be pushed all the way to the White House even though he was uncertain about the reception that they would receive in the top echelons of government or from our allies. He believed that only unanimous agreement with our allies would make control of the Soviet Union practical. Yet Admiral Radford himself felt that the United States had, at the time, the military capability to implement the concept of air control; and he was enthusiastic about the potential applications of Project Control.18

But control concepts were certainly not in the mainstream of the Air Force thought in 1953-54: this was a time when massive application of atomic weapons was considered to be the best deterrent against the Soviet Union. Such a radical departure from mainstream thinking would prove difficult to sell to the civilian leadership and established bureaucracies. Thus, in 1954, Colonel Sleeper returned to an operational bomb wing. Project Control had lost its prime spokesman, and the aggressive control proposals that the project had produced faded quickly from the scene.

So What?

Why dredge up an ancient research effort from the archives of Air University? The example of Project Control is worthwhile for many reasons. Project Control points up a critical role that Air University can play in the Air Force: to generate new ideas without being burdened by the special operational requirements of a major air command, the daily crises of staff work, or the fiscal constraints and joint agreement requirements that are inherent in Air Staff planning. The project also showed that it is difficult to obtain resources--to justify people and money--for an effort that does not have a clearly defined output at its inception. And without a dynamic, committed spokesman, a new concept will certainly fail to survive if faced with opposition and inertia within the bureaucracy.

Furthermore, Project Control was a valuable learning experience for the Air University students, officers, and civilian employees who took part. They were given the chance to analyze, test, and evaluate a concept in an attempt to influence current Air Force operational doctrine and current national policy. The "realworld" application of their work drove these participants to a level of effort rarely seen in a bureaucratic or academic setting.

Project Control was a richly satisfying experience but lacked a basic sense of political realities, at least in the eyes of Morris Janowitz.19 He is perhaps correct; it is difficult to imagine such an aggressive, single-minded policy being adopted as a national strategy in our open and diverse society. The fundamental problem is one that Clausewitz identified: soldiers and policymakers must understand one another's basic capabilities if military power is to be used effectively for political ends.20 Colonel Sleeper perceived that our military and political leaders were not communicating well with one another. On the one hand, top policymakers in 1948 were saying that the military's strategic war plan could not be implemented; on the other hand, as the Eisenhower administration settled into office, it gradually embraced a policy of massive retaliation. Military planners were left with the apparent dilemma of developing a strategy that they could never employ. At least in Colonel Sleeper's eyes, this was a classic situation in which the policymaker did not understand the fundamentals of war in the atomic age, while the military commanders did not have a clear grasp of national policy.

Today, no less than in the early 1950s, the Air Force needs to recognize individuals with ideas worth pursuing and to encourage them to analyze, test, refine, and present their conclusions. Similarly today, the military must be able to articulate its capabilities, limitations, and potential to political leaders. In fact, bridging the gap between military and civilian perceptions may be a problem with which military leaders will have to contend more diligently than ever before. Developers of the concept of air control believed that it would be valid only as long as the United States retained its strategic air power advantage over the Soviets. Once the Soviet Union attained a credible strategic missile force, the possibility of applying Project Control's strategic plans evaporated. But what happens in the contemporary world if a technological breakthrough were to give the United States a significant, temporary strategic advantage? The possibility of space-based lasers capable of effectively countering the Soviet's strategic offensive force may be such a breakthrough. Who in the Air Force is considering ways to exploit this advantage if it occurs, and who can effectively communicate such ideas to the top echelons of government? Or, conversely, do our adversaries understand concepts such as Project Control, and are they willing to seek political advantages based on a strategy of superiority? These matters and questions certainly merit our serious consideration within the Air Force.

Center for Aerospace Doctrine,
Research, and Education
Maxwell A FB, Alabama


1. Keenan: If you drop atomic bombs in Moscow, Leningrad, and the rest, you will simply convince the Russians you are barbarians trying to destroy their very society and they will rise up and wage an indeterminate war against the West.

Bohlen: The negative psychological results of such an atomic attack might endanger postwar peace for 100 years.

In A History of Project Control, Vol. II, Supporting Documents, Tab 1. Unpublished document in Air University Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center (AFSHRC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

2. For specifics on how British air control worked, see Lieutenant Colonel David J. Dean, "Air Power in Small Wars: The British Air Control Experience," Air University Review, July-August 1983, and Colonel Kenneth J. Alnwick,"Perspectives on Air Power at the Low End of the Conflict Spectrum," Air University Review, March-April 1984.

3. A History of Project Control, Vol. I, Narrative, pp. xii-xiv, in the USAF Historical Collection, AFSHRC.

4. Brigadier General Hunter Harris (Chief War Plans Division, USAF) to Colonel Raymond Sleeper (AU/AWC), 6 February 1953.

5. Lieutenant General Thomas D. White (DCS/Operations, USAF) to Commander Air University, 22 June 1953. Emphasis added.

6. Chief of Staff USAF message, date time group 301351Z July 1953.

7. Dr. Clyde Kluckhohn, director of the Russian Research Center, Harvard University, began working on the project in September 1953. Other academicians who participated as consultants on Project Control included Professor Frederick Barghoorn of Yale, Dr. Robert Butow and Professor William Ebstein of Princeton, Drs. Merle Fainsod and Edwin Reischauer of Harvard, Dr. Morris Janowitz of Michigan, Dr. Walt Rostow of MIT, and Drs. Louis Nemzer, Harold Zink, and Kuzuo Kawai of Ohio State. The scholars were chosen for their expertise in relevant are as to ensure a critical evaluation of every aspect of the project. Other distinguished people who provided advice and assistance on the project included Dr. A. A. Berle, Assistant Secretary of State; Major General O. A. Anderson, USAF; Sir John Slessor, RAF; General Carl Spaatz, USAF; and Major Alexander de Seversky. In A History of Project Control, Vol. I, Narrative, AFSHRC, pp. xv, 94-95.

8. Ibid., pp. 82-85.

9. Ibid., p. 83.

10. Ibid., pp. 89-90.

11. Chief of Staff message date time group 302128Z March 1954

12. Project Control Research Memorandum 4.5: Resolution of the Indo-China Conflict through Control by air and Other Means, AFSHRC.

13. Project Control Report 4.2, Book 2, the Control of Russia by Air and Other Means, AFSHRC, p. 354.

14. General Kuter told Colonel Sleeper years later that Air Defense Command had been very impressed with the control briefing, which stimulated thinking for forward air defense using the RC-121s.

15. As reported by Colonel Sleeper in a 17 June 1982 letter to Lieutenant Colonel Dean.

16. Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-1956 (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1963), pp. 520-22. In addition, Time, in its 1 August 1955 issue (p. 17), reported that Open Skies "got its start a year ago among a group of young Air Force officers, who were bemoaning the thinness of US intelligence about Russia. . . . Eisenhower's adopting it and forming it into a specific proposal, was a secret he shared with barely half a dozen men. The final "I-dotting and T-crossing," said one of them, "was done on the shores of Lake Geneva, with two Eisenhower military colleagues: NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General A. M. Gruenther, and CJCS Admiral Radford." The timing of the Air Force officers concerned with intelligence on the Soviet Union corresponds closely with the postproject briefings on Project Control, which so impressed Admiral Radford that he became one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Project Control. Many Air Force intelligence officers, including then-Major George Keegan, later USAF DCS/Intelligence, worked on Project Control.

17. Memorandum by Lieutenant General Kuter to Commandant, Air War College. 26 May 1954.

18. Memorandum for Record dated 13 September 1954 by Colonel G. V. Davis, DCS/Plans/USAF, on Presentation of Project Control to Chairman, JCS (25 August 1954).

19. Morris Janowitz, The Professional Soldier (New York: Glencoe Free Press, 1971), p. 284. Janowitz was one of the consultants hired for work on Project Control.

20. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 607.


Lieutenant Colonel David J. Dean (B.S.F.S., Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; M.A., Florida State University) is a Research Fellow at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education and a Military Concepts Analyst for Aerospace Research Institute, Air University. He served in Vietnam and has held various positions in Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Pacific Air Forces. Colonel Dean is a Distinguished Graduate of Squadron Officer School and Defense Intelligence School, as well as a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has contributed previously to the Review.


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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