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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 New Terrorism

    The New Terrorism

    Maj Michael W. Kometer, USAF
    This study defines the nature of the war on terrorism by assessing the changing nature of terrorism itself and develops an analytical framework within which to assess the strategies of terrorist groups. It compares the strategies of old terrorist groups—Red Army Faction, Palestinian Liberation Organization, and Irish Republican Army—to the new terrorism, the militant Islamic movement. This study concludes that there is a “new terrorism” that is not merely terrorism but a global insurgency. The strategy of this new movement requires an aggressive war on terrorism as a counterstrategy but not necessarily the war that the United States is trying to fight. This study develops guidelines for military strategy against the insurgents by using the same analytical framework to assess the insurgents’ strategy. [Maj Michael W. Kometer, USAF / 2004 / 85 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-15]
  •  The Organization and Training of Joint Task Forces

    The Organization and Training of Joint Task Forces

    Maj Daniel R. Walker, USAF
    The United States continues to challenge its military forces to provide maximum capability with minimum resources. In order to meet that challenge effectively, the US must take full advantage of the synergy provided by the unified action of joint forces. Those forces are employed in a wide variety of missions that change during development and execution. Formation of the joint task force (JTF) is one of several options to organize our military forces. This thesis examines the organization, training, doctrine, and experience of joint task forces within each of the five geographically tasked unified commands. This thesis compares JTF operations in Somalia, Haiti, Panama, Northern Iraq, and Hawaii along with current unified command plans for organizing and training JTFs. US Atlantic Command plans are described in detail because of this command’s role as a joint force integrator. This thesis notes that most commands build a JTF core from a subordinate component headquarters augmented by joint specialists from the unified command headquarters and other service component resources. Unified commands choose the core headquarters based on ability to perform the specific mission and augment from other services appropriately. [Maj Daniel R. Walker, USAF / 1996 / 50 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Quick Response Air Force

    The Quick Response Air Force

    Maj G. Larry Thompson, USAF
    Major Thompson examines the question: How should the US military structure its forces to provide the National Command Authorities an on-call, sustainable, and responsive airpower force worldwide? He provides an in-depth background, discusses the problem and its importance, related problems, past attempts at solutions, and offers a framework to reorganize existing forces into a Quick Response Airpower Force (QRAF). Major Thompson gives recommendations for further study; but he contends that this QRAF concept involves a force structure that can help by replacing forward presence with a credible continental United States-based, quick response deterrent force, which can be tailored to the unpredictable challenges of the future. [Maj G. Larry Thompson, USAF / 2001 / 52 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-36]
  •  The Role of United States Air Power in Peacekeeping

    The Role of United States Air Power in Peacekeeping

    Maj Brooks L. Bash, USAF
    In the aftermath of the cold war, the world is witnessing a dramatic increase in regional conflict and associated United Nations peacekeeping operations. Recognizing this trend and the fact that peacekeeping can serve US national security interests, US policymakers have earmarked military peacekeeping involvement, the employment of air power will be a natural consideration. Unfortunately, there is little practical or doctrinal guidance outlining the benefits and limitations of airpower within the peacekeeping paradigm. To remedy this situation, this study first provides a general discussion of peacekeeping and constructs a comprehensive framework to categorize and analyze the role of air power in peacekeeping. Next, several recommendations are presented concerning command and control, doctrine, and organizational issues. In the end, this study concludes that the role of air power in peacekeeping is primarily auxiliary. Nevertheless, among the potential US contributions to UN peacekeeping, air power may be the best medium as it offers capabilities different from those currently available to UN forces. Moreover, the use of airpower, as opposed to ground peacekeeping forces, will reduce the risk to American lives. Finally, the expanded use of air power in UN peacekeeping presents an opportunity to demonstrate US leadership and resolve while avoiding the perception of dominating the show. [Maj Brooks L. Bash, USAF / 1994 / 51 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code:]
  •  The Rules of Defeat

    The Rules of Defeat

    Maj Ricky J. Drake, USAF
    During the Vietnam War, many American air commanders were convinced that rigid Rules of Engagement (ROEs) prevented an American aerial victory over North Vietnam during the Rolling Thunder air campaign from 1965-1968. ROEs were directives issued by civilian authority to guide the conduct of all US aerial operations in Southeast Asia. To the men "in the field" these rules provided detailed guidance to be followed by all commanders, air planners, control personnel, and combat crew members in the actual planning and flying of combat missions. [Maj Ricky J. Drake, USAF / 1992 / 56 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Secret Air War over France

    The Secret Air War over France

    Maj Bernard V. Moore, II,USAF
    This paper presents an historical account of the operations of United States Army Air Forces special operations units in the French campaign of 1944. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it is intended to be a brief history of the creation, development and combat record of these units. Second, it is intended for use as an example of the utility and effectiveness of air force special operations in high intensity conventional warfare. [Maj Bernard V. Moore, II, USAF / 1992 / 81 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Sum of Their Fears

    The Sum of Their Fears

    Maj Michael R. Moeller, USAF
    In the past doctrinal differences between the services over how best to use airpower in joint campaigns have led to disagreements over airpower mission and target priorities. During World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, ground commanders demanded greater influence over airpower employment, while at the same time, the Air Force and the Navy disagreed over the most effective method for command and control of airpower throughout the theater. In all four cases, the joint force commander (JFC) set up a targeting board or an equivalent to address individual service concerns. This thesis follows the history of joint targeting boards since World War II to illustrate the foundations that have led to today’s joint airpower targeting process. Having established the historical background, this thesis explores the current solutions for determining airpower mission and target priorities. Joint doctrine has institutionalized the concept of targeting boards and recommends that a JFC use a Joint Target Coordination Board (JTCB) to eliminate service disagreements over target priorities. In response to joint doctrine, the theater commanders have developed two contrasting models on how the JTCB interacts in the campaign planning process. One model integrates the board into the air component staff while the second model places the JTCB at the theater commander level, separated from component planning. Using the principles of war as a framework for analysis, this thesis compares the relative advantages and disadvantages of each model to determine whether a targeting board is an effective tool for the JFC in future operations. In the end, this thesis finds a Joint Targeting Coordination Board integrated into the air component staff as the greatest potential for providing a future joint commander with an effective process for determining airpower mission priorities and selecting targets. [Maj Michael R. Moeller, USAF / 1995 / 70 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Time Value of Military Force in Modern Warfare

    The Time Value of Military Force in Modern Warfare

    Maj Walter D. Givhan, 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 Walter D. Givhan, USAF / 1996 / 58 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Transformation Trinity

    The Transformation Trinity

    Maj Bruce H. McClintock, USAF
    Major McClintock develops a generalized model for United States military transformations in peacetime. He combines observations made by several historians about recurrent trends in military strategic innovation. He concludes that, after taking into account inevitable uncertainty, there are three identifiable factors that occur in most cases of military transformation. Major McClintock provides recommendations about how to apply the model in the future and possible approaches to the challenge of strategic innovation with regard to space power. [Maj Bruce H. McClintock, USAF / 2002 / 90 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-39]
  •  The Transportation Balance

    The Transportation Balance

    Maj Michael D. Cassidy, USAF
    This study analyzes the way the Department of Defense currently funds the Defense Transportation System. The central question that this study attempts to answer is does the current decentralized, service-centered, budgeting process optimize national mobility capabilities or would centralized budget authority, under United States Transportation Command, offer greater potential for balancing mobility capabilities and requirements? [Maj Michael D. Cassidy, USAF / 1996 / 54 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
  •  The Twelfth US Air Force

    The Twelfth US Air Force

    MAJ Matthew G. St. Clair, USMC
    This paper analyzes the participation of the US Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean theater of operation from 1943 to 1944 and also studies the coalition and joint operations required in the air campaign. [MAJ Matthew G. St. Clair, USMC / 2007 / 88 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: T-43]
  •  The Utility of Targeting the Petroleum-Based Sector of a Nation’s Economic Infrastructure

    The Utility of Targeting the Petroleum-Based Sector of a Nation’s Economic Infrastructure

    Maj Scott E. Wuesthoff, USAF
    It appears as though oil will feed the world’s economies for at least the next 40 years and that consumption will continue to increase slowly. Technology, at the same time, appears to be accelerating the timing and tempo of war. Oil may very well be a critical target in future conflicts and, in an era of “hyperwar,” must be targeted for immediate effect. [Maj Scott E. Wuesthoff, USAF / 1994 / 51 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: ]
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