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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. 

  •  The Air Superiority Fighter and Defense Transformation

    The Air Superiority Fighter and Defense Transformation

    Lt Col Devin Cate, USAF
    Col Cate tackles the question of whether an air superiority fighter is relevant to warfare in the twenty-first century. Critics of the F/A-22, the US Air Force’s next generation air superiority fighter, have identified it as a cold war relic—unjustifiably expensive and out of step with the Department of Defense (DOD) transformation. Colonel Cate argues that the six operational goals of the DOD transformation, as defined in the Quadrennial Defense Review Report (QDR) of 2001, actually demand a highly capable air superiority fighter. He shows how achieving these transformational operational goals requires performance of the four offensive counterair functions of surface attack, fighter sweep, escort, and suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), as well as defensive counterair. He demonstrates that only an air superiority fighter can efficiently and effectively atisfy all these functions. [Lt Col Devin Cate, USAF / 2003 / 34 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-30]
  •  The Command or Control Dilemma

    The Command or Control Dilemma

    Gregory A. Roman, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
    In this well-researched and insightful study, Lt Col Gregory A. Roman examines the relationships between military organizational hierarchies and the impact of battle-space information. Drawing on a sophisticated range of studies and data and using numerous illustrations, the author contends that the outmoded effects of traditionally centralized (and technologically proliferating) command and control orientations preclude the US military (and particularly the Air Force) from effectively applying and acting upon the benefits of information-age technologies in an age of information warfare. The author sees future warfare characterized by faster decision making, faster operational tempos, and a torrent of tactical battlefield information. These new realities necessitate greater decentralization of control, more flexible information gathering, and creative, nontraditional military organizational arrangements. Of particular relevance to the Air Force is the joint force air component commander (JFACC) structure and air tasking order (ATO) process. [Gregory A. Roman, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF 1997 / 39 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-8]
  •  The Decline of the Military Ethos and Profession of Arms

    The Decline of the Military Ethos and Profession of Arms

    Lt Col Michael R. Contratto, USAF
    Throughout history many new weapon technologies have been introduced into combat prior to a full evaluation or understanding of the doctrinal, legal, and ethical implications of their use.1 Similarly, today’s battlespace is witnessing the introduction of numerous robotic systems to conduct many military missions. Thus far these robots still operate with humans directly "in the loop" of the decision process—especially when that loop is part of an offensive kill chain.2 The future battlespace, if we allow it, will be quite different. While the exact year is still in doubt, the capability for robotic autonomous lethal engagements will eventually exist and possibly much sooner than many may think.3 Placing worries of "Skynet" achieving consciousness and bands of "Terminators" running amok aside, as military science and sociology fuse, we truly find ourselves on the cusp of a "brave new world" in warfare.4 [Lt Col Michael R. Contratto, USAF / 2012 / 40 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-62]
  •  The F-22: The Right Fighter for the Twenty-first Century?

    The F-22: The Right Fighter for the Twenty-first Century?

    Michael J. Costigan
    The Quadrennial Defense Review of 1997 may have reaf - firmed the need for all three major aircraft modernization programs—the F-22, F/A-18E/F, and Joint Strike Fighter— but the debate is far from over. The F-22, the most expensive of the three programs, stands out as a lucrative target for budget cutters. Critics are quick to point out that the F-22 was designed during the cold war to defend the North Atlan - tic Treaty Organization airspace against the Warsaw Pact’s numerical superiority. With the cold war long over and the Soviet Union relegated to history, many experts question whether the F-22 is still necessary. They point to the United States’s overwhelming dominance in the Persian Gulf War using F-15Cs as evidence. F-22 proponents counter that the world is still a very dangerous place, and the United States needs the F-22 to ensure air superiority. In this study Lt Col Michael J. Costigan, USAF, takes a critical look at the F-22 and its role in our military strategy in the twenty-first century. Although the Soviet Union is gone, the United States may well face regional adversaries who will enjoy numerical superiority while the United States deploys its forces. Use of chemical or biological weapons could slow our deployment considerably while forcing other friendly as - sets in theater to disperse, further limiting their effectiveness. [Michael J. Costigan / 1997 / 18 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-9]
  •  The National Guard Citizen-soldier

    The National Guard Citizen-soldier

    Mark P. Meyer, Colonel, ANG
    It is my distinct pleasure to sign the foreword to the first Air War College paper to win the General Ronald R. Fogleman Award. As we move into the next century we must appreciate the fact that the United States is a militia nation, and the large standing military of the last 50 years is an aberration. The significance of the militia nation culture cannot be underestimated, and it must be ingrained into the force designers and force maintainers of the future as tomorrow’s Air Force continues to play an important role in supporting our national security policy. In "The National Guard Citizen-Soldier," Col Mark P. Meyer provides an excellent examination of the linkage between responsible national security policy and the will of the people. He argues that for our democratic government to act responsibly, it is imperative that national policy reflects the will of the people. It is especially important when the policy involves the use of the armed forces. In the United States, the National Guard and its citizen-soldiers are an essential part of the linkage. [Mark P. Meyer, Colonel, ANG / 1996 / 38 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-6]
  •  The Perils of Bipolarity

    The Perils of Bipolarity

    Lt Col Mark O. Yeisley, USAF
    Intrastate conflicts, ranging from localized rebellions to civil war, increased linearly from 1946 through 1992 and then dramatically decreased in the post-Cold War era. This rise and fall of subnational conflict closely mirrors the “proxy” wars fought by or between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States. Proxy refers to “(g)reat power hostility expressed through client states” and describes superpower use of these states to pursue strategic and ideological goals within the confines of nuclear deterrent postures extant during the Cold War.1 This was done in large part to achieve strategic national interests and other political goals without risking nuclear war. In its waning years, the USSR could no longer afford to fund these wars; America ended support to many of these commitments soon after the Cold War ended.2 The United States emerged from the Cold War as the sole superpower in a unipolar international system. However, evidence suggests this unipolarity could soon change as a new bipolar system emerges with China as the next challenger superpower. Scholars debate the likelihood of future war with a rising China, with each side arguing With resources dried up, former client states and subgroups had little choice but to resolve these conflicts, either via negotiation or decisive victory. [Lt Col Mark O. Yeisley, USAF / 2012 / 36 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-72]
  •  The Ring of Gyges

    The Ring of Gyges

    Lt Col David R. Iverson, USAF
    From the time of Plato, men have pondered how an individual would act if they were unidentifiable or anonymous. In The Republic, Plato used the story of Gyges of Lydia, who found a ring in a cave and put it upon his finger to become invisible to show how a man would act when he believed himself to be anonymous. Gyges used the ring to take over a kingdom becoming the first in a long history of men who altered their actions when they believed themselves to be unidentifiable. [Lt Col David R. Iverson, USAF / 2012 / 70 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-70]
  •  The Stakes Are High

    The Stakes Are High

    Lt Col Beth A. Behn, USA
    A series of high-profile ethical lapses by senior military professionals has generated calls from levels as high as the commander in chief for a renewed emphasis on military ethics. Leaders engaged in professional military education across the joint force have worked to ensure their programs support this call. This paper explores and assesses the ethics education programs at the service senior leader colleges (war colleges) based on three fundamental questions: (1) What are the desired outcomes of ethics education? (2) How should the curriculum be structured to achieve those outcomes? (3) What is the correct faculty composition to develop and employ that curriculum? Analysis reveals that existing ethics education programs at the war colleges compare favorably to the model program structure based on the answers to these questions. However, leaders at these institutions could further strengthen their programs by creating and empowering an “ethics team” that includes trained ethicists and military practitioners and by conducting more robust faculty development programs for nonethicists. [Lt Col Beth A. Behn, USA / Jan 2018 / 35 pages / AU Press Code P-124]
  •  Toward a Fail-Safe Air Force Culture

    Toward a Fail-Safe Air Force Culture

    Lt Col Todd C. Ericson, USAF
    Col Steve Goldfein, commander of the 1st Fighter Wing, summed up his responsibility stating, "In the end, commanders do only two things—provide vision and set the environment. Almost everything you do for the organization falls into one of these categories."1 Unfortunately, it is often in the wake of incidents, tragedies, or failures that shortcomings are exposed. [Lt Col Todd C. Ericson, USAF / 2012 / 29 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-66]
  •  US Military Force and Operations Other Than War

    US Military Force and Operations Other Than War

    R. A. Estilow, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC
    Lt Col R. A. Estilow explores the possibility that much of operations other than war (00TW) may be incompatible with the use of US military force. He believes political leaders may properly focus the diplomatic, political, economic, and informational elements of power on OOTW; but, often place too little regard on the specific object of the military element of power. Colonel Estilow reviews the military missions compiled today under OOTW, and then assesses the acceptability, feasibility, and suitability of using military combat force to pursue those missions. He observes that the decision to commit US military force to OOTW is critically important today. First, future trends of a changing world point toward developing a strategy that demands nontraditional forms and uses of military force. Second, we have already moved in this direction by rejecting the Weinberger Doctrine, which provided traditional criteria for commitment of military force. Most importantly, we have adopted a National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement, which relies heavily upon and even aggressively seeks the more active involvement of the US military in OOTW. Colonel Estilow’s close examination of these issues highlights the purpose and importance of establishing explicit criteria for employment of US military force (combat force in hostile environments). Such a commitment of combat force abroad may present critical differences from the use of (noncombat) military forces in benign environments; for example, military engineers providing disaster relief. Next, he develops specific, qualitative criteria for the strategic decision to commit combat force. [R. A. Estilow, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC / 1996 / 30 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: MP-3]
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