Ten Propositions Regarding Air Power

We conver a lot of publications on the matter of air power on this blog, mostly because the U.S. Air Force has made a respectable library on the topic available to the world for free.

But the other reason is that while I believe in the importance of air power as an instrument of both warfare and statecraft, I believe that its application outside of the envelope of conventional war has been misguided for decades for a lot of bad reasons, starting with bad doctrine. The resulting waste of national treasure, tactical opportunity and strategic advantage is nothing short of tragic.

The coverage in this blog is designed to provide an entree into the thinking behind all of that, as well as some of the thinking that is trying to guide air power back onto track.

What makes Ten Propositions Regarding Air Power so interesting is that the book enumerates some of the core assumptions that guide current air power doctrine. It is a fascinating read, if for no other reason than it offers a back door into the collective mind of the U.S. Air Force.

For the record, the ten propositions (all of which are expounded at length) are:

  1. Whoever controls the air generally controls the surface.
  2. Air Power is an inherently strategic force.
  3. Air Power is primarily and offensive weapon.
  4. In essence, Air Power is targeting, targeting is intelligence, and intelligence is analyzing the effects of air operations.
  5. Air Power produces physical and psychological shock by dominating the fourth dimension – time.
  6. Air Power can conduct parallel operations at all levels of war, simultaneously.
  7. Precision air weapons have redefined the meaning of mass.
  8. Air Powers unique characteristics necessitate that it be centrally controlled by airmen.
  9. Technology and air power are integrally and synergistically related.
  10. Air Power includes not only military assets, but an aerospace industry and commercial aviation.

I would love nothing more than to debate each of these in detail, but I leave it to you to make your own call on reading this compact book. And best of all, like so much on The Peking Review, it is free.

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