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Maxwell Papers

The Maxwell Papers are the Air War College’s (AWC) selection of the best professional studies papers from its graduates. These works, meant to highlight topics of importance to senior leaders and support discussion and further investigation, demonstrate the excellent research and analytical capabilities of AWC students. The Maxwell Papers are an outstanding example of the research work done at AWC as students hone their critical thinking skills while tackling real-world problems facing the Air Force in the twenty-first century. 

  •  Building Castles on Sand?

    Building Castles on Sand?

    Lt Col Carla D Bass, USAF
    In this compelling study, Lt Col Carla D. Bass argues that the American military, underestimating vulnerabilities of the US information infrastructure, has based its strategic policy not on a firm foundation, but rather has built castles on sand. Such documents as Joint Vision 2010 and United States Air Force Global Engagement assume the United States will have unimpeded access to information on our own forces and on the enemy’s forces as well, due largely to our technological sophistication. They propose application of a downsized US military in a still very deadly world, based on the premise of information superiority. [Lt. Col Carla D Bass, USAF / 1998 / 52 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-15]
  •  Bureaucracy versus Bioterrorism

    Bureaucracy versus Bioterrorism

    Lt Col Stephen G. Hoffman, USAF
    Two things are certain—death and taxes! Or maybe just taxes. Scientists are attempting to cheat death with rapidly progressing technologies capable of constructing and manipulating life synthetically from basic chemical elements. While the advancing rates of capability in computing speed, genomics, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology have the potential to improve and lengthen life for all humans, they also enable biological weapons that can destroy wide swaths of humanity or attack specific groups of individuals. This confluence of technology is advancing at exponential rates and seems to have the advantage over the limited detection, protection, and treatment capabilities offered by a lumbering bureaucracy. [Lt Col Stephen G. Hoffman, USAF / 2012 / 31 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-69]
  •  China as Peer Competitor?

    China as Peer Competitor?

    Lieutenant Colonel Kathryn L. Gauthier, USAF
    In China as Peer Competitor? Trends in Nuclear Weapons, Space, and Information Warfare Lt Col Kathryn L. Gauthier analyzes the potential for China to emerge as a peer competitor of the United States in the coming decades. First, she examines two traditional pillars of national strength— China’s status as a nuclear weapons state and as a space power. Second, she then explores China’s growing focus on information warfare (IW) as a means to wage asymmetric warfare against a technologically advanced adversary. Third, the author carefully examines the status of the three pro grams, highlights areas of concern and potential conflict with the United States, and analyzes the implications of these issues for the United States. The author concludes that China does have the potential to become a peer competitor, based on a number of factors. The United States’s military advantages over China are narrowing in the critical areas of nuclear weapons, space technology, and information warfare. China is developing nuclear weapons with increased accuracy, mobility, and range. Beijing’s growing prowess in space—including a possible manned presence within the decade—will also provide it significant benefits in the military realm. In selected areas, Beijing has demonstrated its ability to "leapfrog" over more rudimentary stages of technological development. Finally, China’s previously rapid economic growth has supported technological modernization and an improved defense posture. Colonel Gauthier emphasizes that Beijing does not— either philosophically or militarily—have to approach US levels of capability or proficiency to pose a threat to the United States or to US interests in the region. [Lieutenant Colonel Kathryn L. Gauthier, USAF / 1999 / 44 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-18]
  •  China in Space

    China in Space

    Colonel David J. Thompson, USAF, and Lieutenant Colonel William R. Morris, USAF
    On 8 October 1956, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, presided over by Mao Tse-tung, established the Fifth Re-search Academy of the Ministry of National Defense to develop a space effort. This was the official beginning of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) space program. Just four years later, on 5 November 1960, China launched its first rocket becoming the fourth country be-hind Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union, to enter space. The Chinese space program has survived periods of traumatic up-heaval during its 44-year history. Today, space is the cornerstone of China’s national science and technology development effort.3 Beijing is advancing China’s space program on a number of fronts hoping to become a recognized international space power. The Chinese leadership under Jiang Zemin wants China to become a strong, modern, and ultimately wealthy nation, in short a great power. Given its natural resources, manpower, nuclear forces, seat on the UN Security Council, and growing economy, China wants parity with other great powers. To do this Beijing has crafted a national de-velopment strategy led by certain sectors. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how China’s space program aids the government in reaching for great power. [Colonel David J. Thompson, USAF, and Lieutenant Colonel William R. Morris, USAF / 2001 / 33 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-24]
  •  Continued Optical Sensor Operations

    Continued Optical Sensor Operations

    Cdr William J. Diehl, USN
    The United States and other nations are developing laser (i.e., "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation") applications, including high-energy lasers (HEL) and low-energy lasers (LEL). While HELs will likely have military applications in ballistic missile defense (BMD), counter-air, counter-space, and counter-intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); HEL applications will be slow to proliferate to many potential adversaries due to high cost and technical complexity. However, LELs will be developed as technological byproducts of HELs and commercial applications, and will rapidly proliferate, even to resource-constrained actors, due to low cost and reduced technical complexity. [Cdr William J. Diehl, USN / 2012 / 36 pages ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-64]
  •  Core Values

    Core Values

    Lieutenant Colonel Daniel R. Simmons, USAF
    In this important study, Lt Col Daniel R. Simmons, USAF, argues that the United States Air Force (USAF) officer success in the twenty-first century will depend on a robust ethical and professional foundation based on Air Force core values. The Air Force has widely promulgated the following core values: "Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do." However, recently well-publicized cases of core values failures among some Air Force officers suggest a crisis in character that threatens leadership effectiveness in the Air Force. To attack and resolve this core value deficiency and the related character problems among USAF officers, Colonel Simmons recommends that the Air Force significantly increase its focus on core values in its officer accession schools and professional military education programs. While current USAF initiatives to address the character problems are steps in the right direction, the study argues that the Air Force needs to do more. Referring to the Center for Character Development at the Air Force Academy, and other core value training at Air Force professional military education schools, Colonel Simmons recommends that the Air Force create a center for core value development. This Center for Core Values Development (CCVD) would build a core values architecture that directs integrated training and education across the entire Air Force. The CCVD would be a single, central office in charge of core values education for the Air Force, and would create a close dialogue and better standardization of honor codes and values instruction among the Air Force’s separate schools currently teaching core values. These interesting proposals deserve to be read by a wide Air Force audience. [Lieutenant Colonel Daniel R. Simmons, USAF / 1997 / 37 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-11]
  •  Cultivating National Will

    Cultivating National Will

    Lawrence E. Key, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
    This compelling study by Lt Col Lawrence E. Key examines how national will plays a decisive role during any application of US military power and not just the employment of forces to fight America’s wars. Because of the decisive role national will plays, leaders need to understand what it is and----beyond its definition----the ways in which they can articulate and cultivate it. To gain this understanding, leaders must look at various means by which the American public expresses its collective will; the most important means being public opinion. However, the author argues that only mature collective opinion can represent national will. This nation’s leaders need to understand how this maturation process works; they also need to understand how the media report events because this reporting can have an impact on how opinion evolves. Finally, leaders need to understand how to cultivate public opinion, and this paper presents several guidelines to aid them in this endeavor. Colonel Key illustrates his thesis by discussing the failure of the national leadership during the Somalian military operation to fully understand the nature of national will and how it could have been cultivated. One can only hope that future leaders will have a better understanding of national will as a vital component of national power. [Lawrence E. Key, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF / 1996 / 42 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-5]
  •  Defending the Homeland

    Defending the Homeland

    Lt Col Brent W. Guglielmino
    In the fall of 2009, five al-Qaeda operatives were arrested by federal authorities while in the final stages of separate operational plans to conduct attacks within the United States.1 Clearly, law enforcement was aware of their activities. Others within the US intelligence community were aware of the identity of some of the individuals and their relationships with al-Qaeda but had no knowledge of the specific plots that were underway.2 Alarmingly, the adjutants general (TAG) of the states where the plots unfolded were unaware of these activities until the individuals were arrested and the stories hit the press. [Lt Col Brent W. Guglielmino / 2012 / 30 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-67]
  •  Doctrine (Maybe), Strategy (No)

    Doctrine (Maybe), Strategy (No)

    James L. Lafrenz
    The US Air Force’s response to the bombing of Khobar Towers in June 1996 was to consolidate and remove our forces to a more isolated (bare base) location in the Saudi desert. While a seemingly logical step, removing our forces from Saudi population areas means that determined future terrorists could employ weapons against US forces without the worry of collateral damage to Saudi nationals. There are many other questions that need answering about our organizational preparedness for a chemical or biological event. For example, in the event of such an attack, is the US civil engineering force trained and equipped for the decontamination of the attacked base and other bases? Does Air Force doctrine include recovery of a base from a chemical attack, or will we evacuate to a new toxic-free area and leave the attacked base and its resources behind? Are our airmen protected from building collapse? These kinds of questions prompt larger issues. In this study Mr. James Lafrenz, a civil engineer in t he Department of the Air Force, notes that American global security policy requires expedient responses to war, t o natural disasters, and to problems between these two extremes. The Air Force owns the assets to make these responses, but our response forces are "concrete dependent"— airplanes need hard-surfaced runways from which to operate. And where there is concrete, there are usually buildings. [James L. Lafrenz / 1999 / 30 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-17]
  •  Enabling Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Effects for Effects-Based Operations Conditions

    Enabling Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Effects for Effects-Based Operations Conditions

    Lt Col Daniel R. Johnson, USAF
    Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) is key to the Joint Forces Commander’s (JFC) successful prosecution of contingency operations. Colonel Johnson states that ISR processes are at least as challenging, if not more so, than the targeting process used to place a bomb on a target The JFC cannot continue to ignore this reality if he or she wants to properly employ ISR-intensive effects-based operations (EBO) to achieve overall campaign objectives—that is, to provide unity of ISR effects in support of the campaign plan. Hence the author asserts that there is a requirement for the JFC to establish an ISR “strategy-to-task” methodology to set EBO conditions as they evolve. This will better enable theater and national ISR to provide measurable effects under the strategy, planning, execution, and assessment war-fighting construct in support of the campaign plan. [Lt Col Daniel R. Johnson, USAF / 2005 / 38 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-34]
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