By Maj E. Taylor Francis
/ Published April 17, 2020
The US armed forces today acknowledge the necessity of air superiority, at a minimum, before operations can begin. The ultimate goal is to achieve air supremacy to facilitate freedom of maneuver for US ground and naval forces. Given the importance of the control of the air, this author’s research goal was to determine the degree to which the history, theory, and doctrine of the US Air Force prepare it to obtain air supremacy against a peer or near-peer adversary in a present or near-future conflict. Research results suggest that air supremacy, in this case, should not be anticipated or expected. The Air Force is highly proficient at the tactical level but lacks the historical, theoretical, and doctrinal foundation on which to construct a campaign that guarantees success.
This work uses a qualitative research method to investigate airpower theory and doctrine in the US Air Force since its inception as the US Army Air Corps in 1926. It supplements these examinations with historical case studies and vignettes from significant conflicts involving the US Air Force. More considerable attention is given to those conflicts in which aerial combat played a larger role, and air supremacy was not a given. World War II receives special attention in the monograph because of its unique historical position as the only war in which the United States competed against peer adversaries for air supremacy. It concludes by assessing the present state of the US Air Force with regards to problems that must be considered and addressed before any large-scale conflict. The US Air Force will likely not be able to preserve the current and comfortable state of US air supremacy unless it challenges its status quo assumptions. [Maj E. Taylor Francis, USAF / 47 pages / ISSN: 2575-7539 / AU Press Code: LP-6]