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SAASS Theses

These SAASS theses were selected for publication from among those submitted to the faculty of SAASS, as one of the requirements for completion of a master’s degree in air and space power art and science. AU Press no longer publishes this series, but award-winning SAASS theses are now published in the Drew Papers series.

  •  Theater Airlift Management and Control

    Theater Airlift Management and Control

    Lt Col Richard T. Devereaux, USAF
    This study analyzes current theater airlift organization and control principles for supporting a large contingency or conventional war. It segregates theater airlift management issues into three organizing categories: 1) organizational relationships and responsibilities, 2) theater command and control networks and supporting personnel, and 3) theater airlift management procedures. The study analyzes historical evidence from the Vietnam and Gulf Wars to derive theater airlift management lessons. By comparing this evidence to current policy trends it attempts to determine how well current doctrine reflects past lessons. In addition, the author evaluates how well-equipped current doctrine is to handle three future influences on the theater airlift system: divestiture of the C-130 fleet, growing uncertainty in the international security arena, and the fielding of the new C-17 transport aircraft. [Lt Col Richard T. Devereaux, USAF / 1993 / 85 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Third World Traps and Pitfalls

    Third World Traps and Pitfalls

    Maj William C. Story, JR., USAF
    Two examples from twentieth-century conflicts demonstrate the potential that missiles possess to disrupt an opponent’s land-based airpower and achieve significant political consequences. Iraq’s use of Scud ballistic missiles in the 1991 Persian Gulf War produced nearly instantaneous political effects. The Scuds did not threaten the coalition military forces opposing Saddam Hussein, but instead threatened the existence of the coalition itself by nearly bringing Israel into the war. Negating this threat demanded an urgent response from land-based airpower, and large numbers of coalition aircraft were forced to perform a new mission: Scud Hunting. Almost 50years before Desert Storm, the Allies in World War II had faced a similar threat from the V-1 and V-2. Thousands of sorties were diverted to bomb missiles that were chiefly fired at London and Antwerp. In both conflicts, coalition and Allied forces possessed enough airpower that the diversion did not prevent them from performing other necessary missions. Yet, in the future, as the United States Air Force (USAF) dwindles in numbers, the ability of land-based airpower to deal with the missile threat becomes problematic. In addition, the improved capabilities of ballistic and cruise missiles threaten airpower’s ability to achieve the staple of modern combat operations—air superiority. The increased range and refined accuracy of missiles offers third world nations a chance to develop airpower on the cheap, and the missile forces created may well stymie America’s ability to apply “conventional” airpower in a crisis. Because of the lack of success in thwarting the missile threat in the past, combined with the projected capability of future missiles and the continued “downsizing” of the Air Force, American leaders must carefully consider whether they possess the wherewithal to commit airpower on a truly global scale. [Maj William C. Story, JR., USAF / 1995 / 81 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Time-Critical Targeting

    Time-Critical Targeting

    Maj Gregory S. Marzolf, USAF
    Experiences in Operations Desert Storm and Allied Force have highlighted a significant weakness in the USAF's ability to engage time-critical targets. Major Marzolf introduces and investigates two methods-reactive and preemptive-and determines how they might solve the problem in 2010. Evidence suggests that the USAF is attempting to solve the problem by using the reactive approach, which first detects a target with an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform and tasks a loitering-strike platform to kill it. While this is a cost-effective approach from a weapons-employment perspective, it is not efficient for weapons delivery aircraft. Major Marzolf found that even though this approach has long-term advantages, it would not likely be ready for implementation circa 2020, which would be 10 years too late. Evidence suggests that the USAF should pursue persistent area dominance munitions as an answer to the time-critical targeting problem. [Maj Gregory S. Marzolf, USAF / 2004 / 78 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-55]
  •  To War on Tubing and Canvas

    To War on Tubing and Canvas

    Lt Col Jonathan C. Noetzel, USAF
    The combat glider was effectively used by German, British and US forces in World War II (WWII). Each country had unique doctrines of development, pilot training, and force employment. Germany, restricted by the Treaty of Versailles, saw the glider as an effective means of training future Luftwaffe pilots and only in the mid-1930s realized the gilder’s combat potential. The British and American military did not embrace gliders until Germany’s dramatic early WWII successes in Poland and the European Low Country. British doctrine closely resembled Germany’s by using gliders in commando raids of limited size. The US used gliders primarily as “air-trailers” for resupply missions. The study reviews each force’s combat glider experience and analyzes it in light of the glider doctrine, or lack thereof, with which each began the war. While military cargo gliders have seen their day, recent technological advances in gliders make them a viable platform for certain missions requiring stealth and silence. [Lt Col Jonathan C. Noetzel, USAF / 1992 / 81 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Transport Bombers

    Transport Bombers

    Maj Bryan J. Benson, USAF
    In this study, Major Benson addresses the shortfall in bomber and transport capabilities necessary to execute the two major regional contingencies called for in the president's national security strategy. He examines in depth the development of transport bombers as one option in the search for a solution to this shortfall. Major Benson focuses on operational utility, technological assessment, and budgetary and operational considerations involved with the transport-bomber option. [Maj Bryan J. Benson, USAF / 1996 / 58 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-4]
  •  United States Air Force Precision Engagement against Mobile Targets

    United States Air Force Precision Engagement against Mobile Targets

    Maj Keith J. Kosan, USAF
    Major Kosan discusses the deficiency in the US Air Force's ability to precisely attack mobile targets at standoff ranges with minimal collateral damage as revealed by recent airpower operations. He addresses the technological as well as the international, national, and military strategic environmental issues that may affect technology. Major Kosan focuses on USAF munition precision engagement capabilities; thus, he does not perform an in-depth analysis of aerial platform precision engagement capabilities. He focuses on only USAF's research, development, and acquisition strategy in regards to precision conventional strike capabilities against mobile targets. Major Kosan predicts that future airpower operations will be executed in politically sensitive strategic environments and will require the ability to precisely destroy mobile targets that may have been strategically placed by an adversary in areas with high risk of collateral damage. [Maj Keith J. Kosan, USAF / 2001 / 90 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-45]
  •  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Maj Jeffrey N. Renehan, USAF
    This study analyzes the characteristics and capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to determine their capability to carry weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The author presents an overview of the various forms of WMD—chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. The objective is to review the characteristics of both UAVs and WMD to determine if they are capable of being used together as an effective weapon. The result indicates that there is great potential for the use of UAVs as delivery systems for WMD, particularly by developing nations and nonstate actors such as terrorist groups who may not have the technical capability to employ other means. The potential exists for the proliferation of both UAVs and WMD to become widespread and thus a major security concern. There is no clear solution to this problem; however, actions including bringing the issue to the forefront, strengthening export and arms controls, deterrence, and defense will have a synergistic effect that will help mitigate this threat. [Maj Jeffrey N. Renehan, USAF / 1997 / 49 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  US Air Force lessons in Counterinsurgency

    US Air Force lessons in Counterinsurgency

    Maj John W. Doucette, USAF
    As it has so often in the past, the United States military and the Air Force will undoubtedly provide support across the globe to countries combating insurgents in the future. The host nation political and military organization and command and control structure governing the deployment and employment of air forces in these wars will have a large impact on the success or failure of air operations, and perhaps the national counterinsurgency effort overall. Because of the delicate political nature of wars of insurgency, US involvement in these counterinsurgency operations may be indirect or direct, and may include actual combat operations. Whichever the case, US airmen may be asked to step into either an existing structure, or help develop a counterinsurgency air operations architecture and strategy to direct the actions of host nation and/or US air assets. To help educate airmen about the realities of counterinsurgency, this study addresses how insurgent warfare is fundamentally different from conventional wars, develops lessons from two case studies, highlights the challenges that US airmen face, and examines the adequacy of Air Force and Joint doctrine for counterinsurgency operations. [Maj John W. Doucette, USAF / 1999 / 92 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Vital Interests, Virtual Threats

    Vital Interests, Virtual Threats

    Maj Karl J. Shawhan, USAF
    The dominance of the United States (US) military means that traditional threats, short of weapons of mass destruction, currently pose little risk to US sovereignty. Nontraditional threats, however, pose asymmetric dilemmas for the United States. The increased US military and economic reliance on information systems introduces new vulnerabilities not adequately protected by traditional kinetic force arms. Additionally, international law does not adequately provide response mechanisms for the United States in case of a computer network at-tack. The United States needs to establish policy directives and diplomatic initiatives to secure its information sovereignty for the future. This study examines the history of technology and sovereignty, which reveals a model for the evolution of international law. Specifically, the history of sea, air, and space provides examples on past issues of sovereignty. A three-stage pat-tern of international law emerges. Under the assumption that sovereignty issues related to information warfare will follow the same path, the current state of sovereignty regarding information is established. To focus the study, a functional outline for international convention, the International Regime for Information Security (IRIS), is advanced. IRIS balances US domestic privacy needs with US national security demands. Specifically, technology issues regarding digital identification and encryption are weighed against civil liberties and intelligence needs. After examining the advantages and disadvantages of the IRIS regime, this study recommends its use as a model for a future international convention on information warfare. Within an IRIS-type regime, compromise between civil liberty advocates and intelligence service organizations are necessary. Through digital identification and universally strong encryption, privacy and security concerns will be satisfied. [Maj Karl J. Shawhan, USAF / 2001 / 57 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-14]
  •  Warden and the Air Corps Tactical School

    Warden and the Air Corps Tactical School

    Maj Scott D. West, USAF
    In this study Major West answers the following questions: Is John Warden's "The Enemy as a System" analogous to the Air Corps Tactical School's (ACTS) industrial web theory of airpower employment? If so, why (given the 50 plus years between development of these theories)? If not, what are the prime sources of divergence? The author first describes both theories using an outline from which they are compared on an "apples to apples" basis. From this analysis, similarities and differences are presented. Next, the author discusses contextual factors affecting development of both theories. A baseline is developed from which factors from both eras are compared. After linking relevant contextual factors of the 1920s–1930s and 1980s–1990s, the author explains why the theories of ACTS and Warden are more similar than different. Finally, implications are drawn from the preceding analysis to address the issue of how airpower theory should be developed. [Maj Scott D. West, USAF / 1999 / 47 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-49]
  •  What Will Douhet Think of Next?

    What Will Douhet Think of Next?

    Lt Col Silvanus T. Gilbert, III, USAF
    This paper analyzes the evolution of strategic bombing doctrine in order to identify the basic doctrinal tenets and then evaluate their compatibility with emerging stealth technologies. Current doctrine is an evolution of existing doctrine, theory, and experience. Therefore, to comprehend fully the meaning of doctrine, it is necessary to trace its lineage. As airpower arrived only recently in the doctrinal arena, no previous doctrine existed. Therefore, this analysis begins with the early airpower theories which provided the roots of evolution. Giulio Douhet is the most famous of the early theorists and his work provided a basis upon which to build. Following World War II (WWII), Bernard Brodie modified Douhet’s theory to incorporate atomic weapons and the experience to date. As theory evolved, so did early Air Corps "unsanctioned" doctrine. Despite a lack of approval at the Department of the Army, the Air Corps Tactical School developed and taught strategic bombing concepts which later provided the basis of WWII aerial planning and execution. The Korean and Vietnamese conflicts provided impetus for slow and gradual change to the basic tenets of strategic bombing doctrine. The USAF reinforced the validity of these basic tenets when it promulgated the 1992 version of Basic Aerospace Doctrine. By testing each tenet against the demands of emerging stealth technologies, the paper finds that existing doctrine is basically sound, but incomplete. Therefore, the paper proposes and tests additional tenets to accommodate stealth and the increasing rate of technical advancement. [Lt Col Silvanus T. Gilbert, III, USAF / 1992 / 66 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
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