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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.

  •  The Airship’s Potential for Intertheater and Intratheater Airlift

    The Airship’s Potential for Intertheater and Intratheater Airlift

    Lt Col Donald E. Ryan Jr., USAF
    The airship is recommended as a suitable solution to the mid-term strategic transportation dilemma. The fundamentals of airship operation are described, its history in both war and peace discussed, and some current private and military airship activities mentioned. Recent technological breakthroughs in materials technology are discussed and the potential for government-sponsored research and development yielding equally great propulsion and cargo capacity dividends explored. A discussion of the potential threat environment of the early twenty-first century shows the airship, properly constructed and used, would likely be no more vulnerable than jet air lifters while offering transportation capabilities currently unavailable. [Lt Col Donald E. Ryan Jr., USAF / 1992 / 89 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code:]
  •  The Counterair Companion

    The Counterair Companion

    Maj James M. Holmes, USAF
    This paper is designed to provide future joint force commanders a basic understanding of counterair doctrine, strategy, forces, and issues by demonstrating the continuing importance of rapid air supremacy, identifying problem areas that may limit future counterair effectiveness, and recommending solutions. To accomplish this goal, the author analyzes service and joint counterair doctrine, examines the counterair strategy process, discusses counterair force options, describes current interservice issues that affect counterair forces, and uses service visions of war to show why counterair forces will continue to play a critical role in American joint operations. [Maj James M. Holmes, USAF / 1995 / 78 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Diffusion of Military Technologies to Foreign Nations

    The Diffusion of Military Technologies to Foreign Nations

    Maj William J. Delgrego, USAF
    The purpose of this paper is to recommend that the United States government maintain the defense technological and industrial base (DTIB) by aggressively supporting the US defense industry in the arms transfer process. Ironically, this recommendation is contrary to the position held at the onset of this research and analysis effort. It is written for the microlevel reader (the young pilot, tank operator, etc.), the macrolevel reader (US government staffers and above in the State and Defense departments), and senior government officials (generals, congressmen, and senators) to inform and enhance their ability to understand the DTIB and how arms transfers can help in its preservation. [Maj William J. Delgrego, USAF / 1996 / 43 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The DOD Operational Requirement and Systems Concepts Generation Processes

    The DOD Operational Requirement and Systems Concepts Generation Processes

    Maj Robert D. Dillman, USAF
    Operational requirements generation and system concepts generation are the crucial processes by which the US decides what weapon systems it needs to develop and acquire to sustain the military national instrument of power for the sake of achieving national security objectives. This paper asserts that the current operational requirements and system concept generation processes can and should be significantly improved. To develop that assertion, the paper examines the evolution of the processes since the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (the "Packard Commission") made its recommendations in 1986. [Maj Robert D. Dillman, USAF / 1992 / 67 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Failure of Third World Air Power

    The Failure of Third World Air Power

    Maj Douglas A. Kupersmith, USAF
    The Iraqi Air Force failed to live up to its prewar billing during Operation Desert Storm. Touted by many sources as an experienced, aggressive power before the war, Saddam’s air force turned out to be quite the opposite. This paper explains why the Iraqi performance in Desert Storm was predictable: Nonindustrialized, third world nations are incapable of fielding a decisive, conventional air force. To illustrate the point, this essay studies Iraq’s performance in the war against Iran. During the conflict, the Iraqi air force obtained all the equipment and training money could buy, but after eight years of combat experience it still made only minor contributions in a war effort against an equal foe. Each country is unique, but the same vulnerabilities that restrained Iraq’s forces affect every other nonindustrialized nation. The inability of third world nations to independently organize, train, and equip air forces to decisive levels is inevitable. Avoiding large, wasted sums of money fielding a force of questionable value should lead these countries to alternative forms of aerial warfare. [Maj Douglas A. Kupersmith, USAF / 1993 / 61 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Future of NATO’s Tactical Air Doctrine

    The Future of NATO’s Tactical Air Doctrine

    Linda E. Torrens
    This study analyzes the need for changes to NATO airpower doctrine to reflect current Post–Cold War realities. NATO air doctrine does not yet reflect the actuality of today’s operations, nor does it anticipate the probable future employment of NATO’s airpower. Out–of–area operations and PFP participation in NATO operations will have profound effects on combined doctrine, training, organizational structures, exercises and employment of forces. NATO’s tactical doctrine revision process served the alliance well during the Cold War. But today, the international environment has drastically changed: both the nature of the threat and the use of NATO airpower during conflict have changed. The current doctrinal revision process has proven too slow and cumbersome to provide adequate direction for air strategists during ongoing operations. There are many new doctrinal areas that must be thoroughly addressed so that NATO can chart a course for the future that in the end provides the best, most effective mix of forces. [Linda E. Torrens / 1996 / 77 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-21]
  •  The Links between Science, Philosophy, and Military Theory

    The Links between Science, Philosophy, and Military Theory

    LTC Robert P. Pellegrini, USA
    This study examines the links between science, philosophy, and military theory. The author uses two case studies to demonstrate the links between these disciplines. He presents an overview on the rise of Newtonian science, and he examines how the key frameworks and concepts of that science became interwoven into Western civilization to affect its philosophy with an emphasis on its interpretation by the German Romanticist philosopher Immanuel Kant. He then shows how Newtonian science and Kant’s philosophy affected the military theory of Carl von Clausewitz. His second case study concerns the theory and philosophy of evolution developed by British philosopher Herbert Spencer and its influence on the military theory of J. F. C. Fuller. The author compares these two case studies to find commonalities between them that suggest a mechanism which explains how and why scientific theory and their philosophical interpretations eventually influence military theory. The author then uses this mechanism as a tool with which “new” sciences such as quantum mechanics, relativity, and complexity theory can be evaluated to see if and in what manner they will affect future military theories. The main concept of this mechanism is that science and philosophy, both consciously and unconsciously, provide frameworks for investigation and systems of knowledge for the military theorist. Finally, this study suggests that new definitions of the concepts of force, space, time, and knowledge will have an influence on future military theory. The shift from the Newtonian framework of cause and effect determinism to the new science concept of probabilities and trends—as well as the shift from the force of heavy mechanics to the new particle wave theories of force—will change man’s concept of the battlefield, emphasizing the capability for rapid observation and action. [LTC Robert P. Pellegrini, USA / 1997 / 65 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Long Road to Desert Storm and Beyond

    The Long Road to Desert Storm and Beyond

    Maj Donald I. Blackwelder, USAF
    This paper examines the long development of precision guided bombs to show that the accuracy attained in Desert Storm was an evolution not a revolution in aerial warfare. This evolution continues and gives offensive airpower the advantage over the defense. Guided bomb development started during World War One with the .aerial torpedo.. During World War Two the German Fritz X and Hs-293 were visually guided bombs and both experienced success against allied shipping. The Army Air Corps also developed a wide variety of TV, heat, radar, and visually guided bombs. The visually guided AZON was successful in Burma and the radar guided Bat was successful against Japanese ships. During The Korean War visually guided RAZON and TARZON bombs had some success. In Vietnam the Paveway I laser-guided bombs and Walleye TV-guided bombs were successful on a much broader scale. Paveway II and III, Walleye II, and GBU-15s were developed and successfully combat tested throughout the 1970.s and 1980.s. When Desert Storm initiated in 1991 there were very few guided weapons that had not been extensively tested on training ranges and in combat. The precision demonstrated to the World during Desert Storm started evolving when airpower was first envisioned as a new dimension for conducting war, and was far from a revolution. Now, the continued development of imaging infrared, laser radar, synthetic aperture radar, and millimeter wave radar autonomous seekers further increases the flexibility, range, and effectiveness of guided bombs. [Maj Donald I. Blackwelder, USAF / 1992 / 68 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code:]
  •  The Mechanism for Strategic Coercion

    The Mechanism for Strategic Coercion

    Maj Mark P. Sullivan, USAF
    In the post-cold war environment of shrinking budgets and uncertain threats, America can no longer politically, nor economically, afford strategies that rely on our traditional military strategy of annihilation and exhaustion. Furthermore, America’s position as the single remaining superpower virtually guarantees that our vital interests will not be directly challenged. This means that the use of military force is becoming even more politicized. Despite military leaders’ apparent adherence to Clausewitz’s maxim that war is an extension of policy, they usually approach strategic planning as if the application of force can be planned separately from the political effort. The traditional American military brute-force strategy does not always meet our national needs in this new world order. Strategic Coercion offers one alternative to this brute-force approach. Simply stated, strategic coercion is the act of inducing or compelling an adversary to do something to which he is averse. It involves using force and threatening action to compel an adversary to cease his current activity, or coerce him to reverse actions already taken. Two contemporary theories of strategic coercion seem to offer promising alternatives to brute force. Maj Mark P. Sullivan, USAF / 1995 / 69 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Military–Media Clash and the New Principle of War

    The Military–Media Clash and the New Principle of War

    Lt Col Marc D. Felman, USAF
    Principles of war are more than just a checklist for combat success. They are essential considerations that any would-be commander can use as an intellectual point of departure when contemplating combat operations. In the 1960s, a new fundamental principle of war was born in conjunction with the proliferation of television and the growth of television news. For the first time in history, the gruesome reality of warfare was brought into American living rooms on nightly newscasts. This powerful visual medium altered the entire interplay between the news media and government policy making. In particular, it would no longer be possible to wield the military instrument of national power without first considering how it would play in the news media. Whether one views this as a watchdog function or merely a politically distorted propaganda effort of media elites, it is for better or worse a real phenomenon dubbed herein as .media spin. Media spin is the product of a clash between media and military that has existed as long as the Union itself. Finding its roots in the Constitution, the antithetical goals of media and military result in inevitable conflict. While journalists have always been with the soldier, risking the same dangers and living side by side in the trenches, their perception of an absolute right to report the war flies in the face of the soldier’s perception of an absolute necessity to preserve operational security. This paper briefly traces the evolution of the military/media clash and identifies the Vietnam War as the turning point where mutual trust seemed to be permanently damaged. [Lt Col Marc D. Felman, USAF / 1992 / 64 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Moral and Ethical Implications of Precision-Guided Munitions

    The Moral and Ethical Implications of Precision-Guided Munitions

    Scott F. Murray
    This work explores the relationship between one of the most significant military developments to emerge in the past century, namely, aerial precision-guided munitions and their relationship with the just-war tradition. The aim of this study is to encourage moral and ethical reflection by politicians, strategists, and tacticians at all levels. The issues at hand are aerial precision doctrine, the use of the precision-guided munition as the modern aerial weapon of choice, and the influence of the just-war tradition on strategic and tactical decisions. [Scott F. Murray / 2007 / 75 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-6]
  •  The Moral Domain of War

    The Moral Domain of War

    Walter Anthony Grady Jr.
    Major Grady uses original research obtained from surveys—that focus on the Vietnam War—completed by F-105 pilots in an attempt to analytically determine the moral domain of war factors that enable a pilot to fly in combat. He states that the moral domain consists of the motivation forces originating from within a person's heart and soul, viewing motivation in war from the pilot’s perspective. This emphasis shift gives insights that indicate a fundamentally different set of motivation factors operating on the pilot than generally assumed from projecting ground-combatant motivation factors on airmen, further arguing that the combat motivation factors affecting pilot behavior in combat adheres to a pattern emanating from the moral domain of war. Major Grady believes this process will allow the United States to maintain vigilance over likely threats to our national interest, allowing us to keep our superior capabilities by continually analyzing the threat. With the long lead times for fielding new weapon systems and the complex task of developing new processes, he concludes that this important effort should help to minimize surprises and enhance cooperation between coalition forces. [Walter Anthony Grady Jr. / 2002 / 96 pages ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-1]
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