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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.

  •  Build-to-shelve Prototyping

    Build-to-shelve Prototyping

    Lt Col Donald “Bud” Vazquez, USAF
    The lag between the fielding of systems and the development of conflict-winning employment tactics and doctrine is a historical fact we dare not neglect. Yet, DOD acquisition strategy appears to be on the path to-do just that. Foregoing the expense of producing weapon systems— an understandable expedient in the budget crunch— has been widely criticized because of its effects on the defense industrial base. Former Secretary of Defense Les Aspin’s new approach, called “rollover plus,” recognizes the need for operational testing. What’s been missing from the debate about these alternatives is how any approach that severely limits the numbers of end items fielded also adversely impacts our ability to develop conflict-winning employment doctrine. [Lt Col Donald “Bud” Vazquez, USAF / 1997 / 63 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Centralized Control of Space

    Centralized Control of Space

    Maj Ricky B. Kelly, USAF
    The purpose of this paper is to determine to what extent and how the joint forces commander (JFC) should control support from space forces. Current Air Force doctrine, as delineated in Air Force Manual (AFM) 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, identifies the joint force air component commander (JFACC) as being responsible for both air and space for the theater. This statement follows the Air Force notion that air and space are an indivisible medium of warfare. On the other hand, Joint Publication (JP) 3-14, “Joint Doctrine; Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) for Space Operations,” states the Operations Directorate, J-3, on the supported commander’s (the JFC’s) staff functions in this role. Centralized control, similar to air, may have beneficial effects that allow joint commanders to take better advantage of space forces’ full potential. This study concludes by offering recommendations. [Maj Ricky B. Kelly, USAF / 1993 / 40 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Charting the Nation’s Course

    Charting the Nation’s Course

    Maj Patrick M. Condray, USAF
    This study analyzes how the processes used in the national security planning influence the results. It begins by discussing the nature of strategic planning for national security, eventually defining it as a disciplined effort involving the allocation of resources to programmed activities aimed at achieving a set of objectives by integrating major goals, policies, and action sequences into a cohesive whole. Two examples (the New Look of 1953 and the Quadrennial Defense Review [QDR] of 1997) are selected for comparison due to the many parallels of their respective historical situations. The next step in this study defines several alternative methods for conducting strategic planning, including how using those methods could influence the outcome. These differences are used to analyze both the New Look and the QDR. The New Look provides an example of a primarily sequential, top-down process while the QDR demonstrated the advantages and drawbacks of a primarily parallel process which had both top-down and bottom-up aspects. The final section discusses the implications of the different approaches, including the recommendation that any review contemplating major changes in national security policy follow a more sequential and top-down process with clear guidance given to participants. [Maj Patrick M. Condray, USAF / 1999 / 64 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: ]
  •  Coalition Warfare

    Coalition Warfare

    Maj Peter C. Hunt, USAF
    Political circumstances often dictate that we employ military force as part of a coalition. The youngest military instrument, airpower, has been integrated into coalition forces during several major conflicts of the twentieth century. No historical evidence or current strategies indicate that the likelihood of working within a coalition will diminish. A fundamental question, then, is how air component commanders should be trained to understand and appreciate the nuances of coalition warfare. This thesis focuses on operational-level coalition air force interactions in three conflicts: the Korean War (1950–53), the Persian Gulf War (1990–91), and the Balkan Air Campaign (1992–95). [Maj Peter C. Hunt, USAF / 1998 / 73 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Coercive Air Strategy

    Coercive Air Strategy

    Maj John I. Pray, USAF
    The purpose of this work is to provide the air planner with an air strategy that may, under certain defined conditions, be more likely to yield success than current air power theories. Our current stock of strategic ideas tend to rely on a unitary, rational actor assumption to describe the decision-making environments of our potential adversaries. We believe reliance on this simplistic assumption may skew the counterstrategy development process. We propose an alternate decision framework that identifies the importance of consensus decision making and the central role organizations often play in this complex process. This characteristically divisive environment presents many new opportunities to apply military force selectively in a compellent situation. To take advantage of the vulnerabilities created by these internal divisions, we propose a strategy that uses air power to surprise policy advocates in an opponent’s domestic coalition and force a bureaucratic shift. By targeting key organizations during windows of coercive opportunity, air power may be able to shape a new consensus and produce a policy change that furthers our interests. Central to our effort is the use of the Czechoslovakian crisis that gripped Europe in the summer and fall of 1938 for it highlights many of the same situational characteristics we see today and can expect to see in the future. Britain’s failure to know their opponent resulted in a missed opportunity to take advantage of a split in the German internal consensus that left them vulnerable to a coercive effort. [Maj John I. Pray, USAF / 1995 / 43 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Command Dysfunction

    Command Dysfunction

    Maj Arden B. Dahl, USAF
    This thesis analyzes the factors and conditions of command dysfunction from the cognitive, or mental, perspective of command and control warfare (C2W). The author examines the limitations of rational decision making and the tension that exists between rational and intuitive processes. Next, this thesis examines the vulnerabilities of rational and intuitive processes in order to build a cognitive warfare framework. The framework consists of three categories: the command baseline, stressors, and deception. The stressor and deception categories act on the command baseline. The analysis also suggests that there are a number of possible interactions that exist between the stressor and deception categories. This thesis uses the framework to analyze evidence of command dysfunction in three historical campaigns. The historical analyses study the German command during the Normandy Invasion, the Allied command during the first week of the Battle of the Bulge, and the Israeli command during the first half of the Arab-Israeli October 1973 War. In addition to showing that there are interactions between stressors and deception, the analyses highlight the importance of understanding the adversary’s command baseline. This thesis concludes that effective C2W is not so much what is done to an adversary’s command, but rather what he does to himself, perhaps with a little help. [Maj Arden B. Dahl, USAF / 1998 / 120 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Comparative Analysis of Internal and External Solutions to Provide Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Functionality

    Comparative Analysis of Internal and External Solutions to Provide Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Functionality

    Maj Michael T. Panarisi, USAF
    Major Panarisi summarizes the development of current and proposed family of Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) systems-considered the gold standard of training mission enhancements-and presents the capabilities each system provides. He uses the Kadena Interim Training System as a suitable case study to compare requirements of current ACMI features to the capabilities available using internal components. He contends that internal systems can be installed long before the next generation system will be operational. Thus, Major Panarisi proposes alternatives that offer the potential to save millions of dollars in operating costs and which allow ACMI training on every mission independent of ground-based equipment and external stores. [Maj Michael T. Panarisi, USAF/ 2001 / 92 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-30]
  •  Concepts of Operations for a Reusable Launch Vehicle

    Concepts of Operations for a Reusable Launch Vehicle

    Maj Michael A. Rampino, USAF
    The United States is embarked on a journey toward maturity as a spacefaring nation. One key step along the way is development of a reusable launch vehicle (RLV). The most recent National Space Transportation Policy (August 1994)assigned improvement and evolution of current expendable launch vehicles to the Department of Defense while National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for working with industry on demonstrating RLV technology. The purpose of this study is to help ensure the US military, especially the USAF, is prepared to take advantage of RLVs should the NASA-led effort to develop an RLV demonstrator prove successful. The focus of this study is an explanation of how the US military could use RLVs, by describing and analyzing two concepts of operations. Four major conclusions resulted from the analysis. First, RLVs have military potential. They can perform a variety of missions including responsive spacelift, reconnaissance, and strike. However, the economic feasibility of using RLVs for earth-to-earth transportation is questionable. Second, design choices for an operational RLV will have effects on risk, cost, capability, and operations efficiency. Trade-offs will have to be made between NASA, commercial, and military requirements if all three parties are to use the same fleet of RLVs. Third, increased investment in propulsion technology development is warranted to ensure success. Fourth, the top priority for the RLV program, even from the military’s perspective, should remain cheap and responsive access to space. [Maj Michael A. Rampino, USAF / 1997 / 61 pages ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-24]
  •  Crony Attack

    Crony Attack

    Maj Julian H. Tolbert, USAF
    Major Tolbert details how a nation can use crony attack to disrupt, if not destroy, “key elite supporters of an enemy leader to effect policy change in the attacker’s favor.” He defines crony attack, discusses its methodology, and outlines ways in which its effectiveness can be measured by offering the Slobodan Milosevic regime as a case study. [Maj Julian H. Tolbert, USAF / 2006 / 62 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-32]
  •  Dead on Arrival?

    Dead on Arrival?

    Maj Stephen M. Rothstein, USAF
    Major Rothstein traces the historical development of the aerospace concept, from its initial inception in 1944 as it was embodied in the far-reaching vision of Gen Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, until its public appearance in 1958. He uncovers reasons why airmen came to see their primary area of responsibility differently than the rest of the nation and why their aerospace concept failed to win bureaucratic support. By tracing the aerospace concept’s technological and intellectual development against a contextual backdrop of geopolitics, national security strategy, national space policy, interservice competition, and internal tensions within the Air Force, Major Rothstein offers historical lessons learned for today’s planners seeking to move the Air Force toward an aerospace force. [Maj Stephen M. Rothstein, USAF / 2000 / 102 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-25]
  •  Defense Suppression

    Defense Suppression

    Maj Stanley J. Dougherty, USAF
    What operational principles and concepts should be used to defeat a highly capable ground-based, strategic air defense system? This study examines the theories of Carl von Clausewitz, Basil H. Liddell Hart, Giulio Douhet, and Col John A. Warden III, and reviews United States, British, and Israeli Air Force doctrines for concepts and principles to overcome defensive strength. A historical analysis of Linebacker II, the Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Bekaa Valley Operation, and Operation Desert Storm shows the value of maneuver, surprise, and mass in sustaining offensive airpower. Four operational concepts are presented: the indirect approach (maneuver), the stealth approach (surprise), the mass simultaneous attack (mass), and a balanced concept (mass and surprise). A 28-day war game examines their operational effectiveness. The war game demonstrated the high survivability of stealth aircraft at the expense of approximately 50 percent fewer targets destroyed. The mass concept illustrated the significant damage possible when a large-scale simultaneous attack saturates an air defense system. The balanced approach proved most robust, approaching the productivity of the mass concept (number of targets destroyed) and the efficiency of the stealth concept (cost of target destroyed). This study suggests the USAF should pursue stealth, stand-off weapons, real-time intelligence, drones, Wild Weasels, and electronic warfare technologies—while balancing them with a large inventory of relatively “inexpensive” multirole aircraft. [Maj Stanley J. Dougherty, USAF / 1992 / 66 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  De-Ranged


    Robert A. Colella
    Colonel Colella examines global power from its origins as Strategic Air Command built a fleet of bombers and tankers to meet the needs of the global nuclear-deterrent policy of the Cold War. He traces this evolution through the studies and commissions of the 1990s established to determine the force structure for the twenty-first century. Next, he establishes assumptions made to develop a force focused on expeditionary short-range airpower to project global power are established, and then Colonel Colella evaluates four case studies—Operation Nickel Grass, Vulcan Black Buck missions, Operation Eldorado Canyon, and Operation Desert Strike—in the application of airpower over long range. The studies are used to provide evidence to support and refute the assumptions made during the 1990s to model the USAF force structure around short-range expeditionary forces with the intention of forward deploying them in a crisis. Colonel Colella offers recommendations for methods to equip those future forces with a sturdy in-flight refueling force capable of supporting long-range missions free from the entanglements of foreign support and reliance on forward basing. [Robert A. Colella / 2002 / 102 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-17]
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