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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.

  •  Regime Change and the Role of Airpower

    Regime Change and the Role of Airpower

    Maj David T. Fahrenkrug, USAF
    Drawing from the vision of airpower theorists and building on insights gained from studies on various regime changes, this thesis advances a theory of regime change and outlines a strategy for the use of airpower. It also furthers the hypothesis that adversely affecting these goods will create policy failure, increase dissatisfaction among the winning coalition, and cause members to seek out a new coalition and regime to provide the lost goods. [Maj David T. Fahrenkrug, USAF / 2006 / 70 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-31]
  •  Rethinking the Air Operations Center

    Rethinking the Air Operations Center

    Maj J. Taylor Sink, USAF
    The Air Operations Center (AOC) is the centerpiece of the Air Force’s new command and control (C2) system for prosecuting theater conventional war. The AOC is a direct outgrowth of the Tactical Air Control Center (TACC). In Vietnam, the TACC mirrored the divided command structure of the U. S. military establishment in Southeast Asia. This resulted in a C2 system that allowed air power to be responsive to the needs of traditional land campaigns, and yet require extensive planning time for deep interdiction and strategic attacks. Additionally, since a land strategy dictated targeting priorities in South Vietnam, the Air Force’s measure of effectiveness in the South was its ability to strike targets requested by ground commanders efficiently. Similarly, agencies other than the Air Force selected and approved deep interdiction and strategic targets during Rolling Thunder. Thus, the Air Force’s measure of effectiveness in the North likewise became its efficiency of attacking targets there. Assessment thereby became disconnected from the political and military objectives. Following the Vietnam War, the Air Force did not conduct a reassessment of the fundamental purposes or theoretical foundations of tactical command and control. Thus, although technology had improved the efficiency of the TACC, the Air Force entered Desert Storm with a C2 system that doctrinally was little changed from Vietnam. There are two implications. First, the air commander cannot execute responsive strategic conventional air war without disrupting the mission planning process, or without sacrificing his attack plan. [Maj J. Taylor Sink, USAF / 1993 / 64 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Safe Heavens

    Safe Heavens

    National leaders are debating the merits of American weapons in space. A decision to operationally deploy such weapons would reverse the United States’s long-standing commitment to space as a sanctuary. That sanctuary—the idea that space should remain relatively unthreatened by weapons—has been challenged in the past but for the most part still exists today. Further weaponizing space, though, could change that and introduces important issues. The political, military, social, economic, and diplomatic ramifications of American space weapons demand that strategists carefully consider all sides of this critical debate. Current defense literature, however, indicates analysts and leaders have been slow to develop the arguments supporting a space sanctuary. This omission could undermine the military community’s appreciation for all aspects of both problem and solution. In turn the quality of the space strategy eventually pursued might suffer. This study attempts to understand the argument against weapons in space. It asks the question: Could pursuing a space sanctuary policy in the immediate future benefit the national interest? [DAVID W. ZIEGLER, Major, USAF / 1998 / 57 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Seeking Shadows in the Sky

    Seeking Shadows in the Sky

    Maj Patricia D. Hoffman, USAF
    Major Hoffman analyzes the feasibility of guerrilla warfare as the basis for a strategy of airpower employment for a weak air force confronting an opponent with a stronger air force. She compares the ground combat environment of the traditional guerrilla with the airpower environment of the potential air guerrilla. Major Hoffman focuses on the weak force's air platforms because it appears that aircraft employment is the more difficult problem to solve. She concludes that air guerrilla warfare is a credible threat to a stronger opponent. Major Hoffman recommends that the United States reexamine its conflict intervention strategy and reinforce its peacetime engagement posture. [Maj Patricia D. Hoffman, USAF / 2001 / 70 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-20]
  •  Special Operations Forces and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    Special Operations Forces and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    Maj Stephen P. Howard, USAF
    This study analyzes whether special operations forces (SOF) should use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to support intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, and resupply capability deficiencies. The author’s objective is to review the missions and requirements of the United States Special Operations Command, examine current and future unmanned aerial vehicle technologies, and analyze whether unmanned aircraft technologies are mature enough to meet the demanding special operations mission. The result of the analysis is that unmanned aerial vehicles have tremendous potential. But, due to the technological limitations and a lack of systems maturity, unmanned aerial vehicles lack the range, reliability, datalink capability, and size to meet SOF needs at this time. However, in the future, UAVs should be able to fulfill several SOF capability deficiencies. [Maj Stephen P. Howard, USAF / 1996 / 43 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Strategic Attack of National Electrical Systems

    Strategic Attack of National Electrical Systems

    Maj Thomas E. Griffith, Jr., USAF
    This study seeks to answer the question, “How can airpower help resolve time-induced tensions between political and military imperatives in the conduct of modern warfare?” To answer this question, the study begins by exploring time in the theory of war with an emphasis on time as a fourth dimension that provides a distinct perspective on warfare. With concepts gleaned from theory, this study analyzes the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, the Falklands War, and the Gulf War to determine the role airpower played in overcoming time conflicts and achieving political-military congruence. The study concludes that a time-based strategy was the mechanism through which airpower worked to resolve time-induced tensions between political and military imperatives. A time-based strategy is defined as one in which time is a paramount or extremely significant consideration. Such a strategy seeks to overcome time-induced tensions and achieve political-military congruence by employing forces and forms of military power with an appreciation of their abilities to contribute to this resolution and congruence. A time-based strategy also weighs operational risks and benefits with the goal of balancing them to achieve the greatest time benefit at the lowest risk. In addition to revealing a time-based strategy as the mechanism for overcoming time conflicts between political and military imperatives, the evidence also points to the prominence of airpower’s role in that strategy. This link between time-based strategies and airpower has important implications for both the airpower theorist and the airpower strategist. [Maj Thomas E. Griffith, Jr., USAF / 1994 / 68 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Strategic Paralysis

    Strategic Paralysis

    Maj Jason B. Barlow, USAF
    The method or objective of Strategic Paralysis is to selectively attack or threaten those strategic or national level targets that most directly support the enemy’s war-making efforts and will to continue with his current behavior. Strategic Paralysis warfare should result in a change in the enemy’s behavior at a lesser cost to both sides as Airpower assets are the primary weapons --not ground troops. Why Airpower? It is the only weapon that can provide the near simultaneous shock to the enemy’s central nervous system necessary to induce paralysis. To achieve success Strategic Paralysis requires four key ingredients: 1) Correctly identifying the enemy’s National Elements of Value, 2) High technology, 3) An enemy dependent upon a well developed, modern and vulnerable infrastructure, and 4) Aerospace Control. The bulk of this study is devoted to defining this strategy and bettering our understanding of the first ingredient, that of choosing the best targets for attack. [Maj Jason B. Barlow, USAF / 1992 / 133 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: ]
  •  Sustained Coercive Air Presence

    Sustained Coercive Air Presence

    Maj George D. Kramlinger
    Major Kramlinger examines the theoretical, historical, operational, and technological aspects of Sustained Coercive Air Presence (SCAP) and illustrates how air operations over Iraq and Bosnia demonstrated the problems associated with long-term air presence and suggest the need for doctrine that adapts combat airpower to the SCAP mission. He focuses on the determination of the mechanisms, strengths, and limitations of how combat airpower can persuade determined belligerents to stop fighting and then maintain a secure environment to facilitate the continuing diplomatic process. [Maj George D. Kramlinger / 2000 / 78 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-26]
  •  Taking Down Telecommunications

    Taking Down Telecommunications

    Maj Gerald R. Hust, USAF
    Information is one of the most, if not the most, essential elements of combat capability. Because telecommunications affects every aspect of a society, and is probably the most important medium which military information is exchanged, this thesis provides an understanding of the telecommunications system and how best to exploit it across the spectrum of conflict. I examine the system’s vulnerabilities to both lethal and nonlethal attack mechanisms. While the ability to employ nonlethal technologies are currently limited, I recommend pursuing a strong research and development program to acquire this capability. The reason is that they provide additional policy options to deal with conflict, they are cheap, and because research may not only discover unanticipated capabilities for the US, but also identify countermeasures to protect our own systems. This thesis concludes by offering guidelines to help determine whether to exploit telecommunications with either lethal or nonlethal attack strategies. [Maj Gerald R. Hust, USAF / 1993 / 88 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: ]
  •  Targeting for Effect

    Targeting for Effect

    Maj Scott G. Walker, USAF
    This study analyzes the use of airpower against enemy ground forces including the author’s counterland analysis framework. [Maj Scott G. Walker, USAF / 1998 / 84 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  Targeting Organizations

    Targeting Organizations

    Maj Edward B. Schmidt, USAF
    Major Schmidt analyzes the evolution of targeting organizations to identify their strengths and evaluate their impact on future organizations. He discusses both strategic and tactical targeting with primary emphasis on strategic targeting. Because Desert Shield/Desert Storm revealed that centralized targeting of a conventional war from the United States could also work well, Major Schmidt proposes creation of a centralized targeting organization. He indicates that a centralized strategic-targeting agency could ensure ready access to strategic target lists, thus allowing the United States to strike at the heart of the enemy at a moment's notice. [Maj Edward B. Schmidt, USAF / 1993 / 48 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-33]
  •  The Air Refueling Receiver that Does Not Complain

    The Air Refueling Receiver that Does Not Complain

    Maj Jeffrey L. Stephenson, USAF
    This study focuses on the development of aerial refueling methods and procedures for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The author states the need for UAVs, lists assumptions, and gives a brief background on them. His discussion of the three current Air Force UAV systems (Predator, DarkStar, and Global Hawk) is followed by some proposed methods and procedures for rendezvous and aerial refueling of these UAV platforms. The author rounds out his discussion by comparing and analyzing both the current UAV systems and the methods of air refueling. After proposing the UAV system best suited for air refueling, the most effective type of rendezvous for this UAV system, and the best method for con-trolling the UAV during the air refueling, the author concludes with a brief review of the implications for the Air Force and airpower enthusiasts. [Maj Jeffrey L. Stephenson, USAF / 1999 / 48 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code:]
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