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Wright Flyers

Wright Flyers are occasional papers sponsored by the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). The ACSC prints and distributes a limited run of each paper. AU Press does not stock any titles in the Wright Flyers series and they are available in PDF only.

  •  A Game of Simon Says

    A Game of Simon Says

    LCDR J. Lee Bennett, USN
    A little over 200,000 votes in Mexico’s 2006 presidential election determined whether or not the United States might soon share a border with a potentially communist country. A closer look reveals Mexico was nearly another domino in a rash of leftism that is sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). In fact, there are as many leftist countries in the LAC region today as there were in Eastern Europe at the height of the Cold War. This research will determine why leftism is on the rise and whether US national security is being threatened. The causes are a combination of extreme inequality with regards to income per capita, an increased awareness among the populace as to its unequal situation, a poor display of US foreign policy, and an increase in education levels throughout the region. In short, Latin Americans are smarter, poorer, and angrier with the United States for its inattentiveness since the end of the Cold War. [LCDR J. Lee Bennett, USN / 2008 / 37 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-31]
  •  A Joint Task Force Staff Structure for the New Millennium

    A Joint Task Force Staff Structure for the New Millennium

    MAJ Lisa A. Row, USMC
    Our military future will likely be radically different from our past. Consequently, military personnel can prepare for this future by investigating ways to adapt to novel challenges posed by new weapons, new theories, or new organizations. This study explores the problem of how joint task force staffs should reorganize to improve future command and control to meet demands of the most likely future environment. The research methodology consisted of a literature search from a broad body of evidence. Sources included business literature, studies by organizations such as the Center for Naval Analyses, and research papers produced by other students. Several key changes envisioned for the military provide a foundation for the project and introduce future operational and environmental complexities. These changes include emerging international and national trends such as increased military operations other than war and growing military pressures to shrink but remain effective. [MAJ Lisa A. Row, USMC / 1998 / 47 pages ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-4]
  •  Air Force Smart Operations for the Twenty-first Century

    Air Force Smart Operations for the Twenty-first Century

    Maj Harold W. Linnean, III, USAFR
    In this paper, Maj Harold Linnean explores how Air Force leadership may avoid potential failure points in its implementation of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO 21), the Air Force’s initiative to recapitalize funds by maximizing value and minimizing waste in operations. The author addresses three potential failure points: (1) focusing only on culture and thus creating an unbalanced system or organization, (2) the inflexibility of the Air Force structure, and (3) the Air Force’s human resource management systems. Major Linnean proposes that a culture of continuous process improvement will take root only when Air Force leadership fully commits to AFSO 21. [Maj Harold W. Linnean, III, USAFR / 2008 / 40 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-33]
  •  Armageddon's Lost Lessons

    Armageddon's Lost Lessons

    MAJ Gregory A. Daddis, USA
    In September 1918, the EEF concluded its campaign in Palestine by routing the Turkish forces at the battle of Megiddo. Under command of British general Allenby, the EEF successfully executed one of the most decisive engagements in any theater of World War I. Ably employing and synchronizing infantry, cavalry, and air forces, Allenby provided future military professionals and historians with a shining illustration of the efficacy of combined arms operations. In terms of surprise, concentration, and operational balance of forces, the culmination of the Palestine campaign was a foreshadowing of the German blitzkrieg used in World War II. Unfortunately, the true lessons of Allenby’s campaign were lost for future generations of military officers. Focusing on the culture and romanticism of the horse cavalry, students of the Palestine battles garnered little instruction on the emerging trends of combined arms operations that integrated air and ground mobility into a decisive operational level weapon. This paper analyzes the reasons those in the profession of arms missed the lessons of airpower and its role in combined arms operations. It examines the context of the Middle Eastern theater of World War I, describing how “western front myopia” added to the overshadowing of operations conducted in Palestine. The paper also delves into the role of airpower in the Middle East and how Allenby integrated a relatively new weapon system into his force structure and operational planning and execution. Though largely unexplored by military professionals and historians, Allenby’s final campaign in Palestine proved to be a momentous step in the evolution of combined arms operations. [MAJ Gregory A. Daddis, USA/ 2005 / 54 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-20]
  •  Autonomous Warplanes

    Autonomous Warplanes

    Maj Michael R. Schroer, ANG
    Military use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) has grown dramatically. RPAs are quickly becoming indispensable parts of military operations and assets greatly valued by commanders. These systems offer many benefits, including a reduced risk to human life, increased efficiency, improved time on station, and reduced cost. Current systems are limited by the need for direct human control due to the inherent slowness of human decision making and the physical delay of satellite communications. This paper identifies aspects of NASA’s rover autonomy research that may apply to military RPA development. Using NASA’s research could allow the United States to take advantage of decades of development effort and maintain the technological advantage it currently enjoys in this rapidly evolving area of competition. [Maj Michael R. Schroer, ANG / 2016 / 51 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-54]
  •  Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    Maj Arthur D. Davis, USAF
    This study focuses on the current global war on terrorism as a conflict against insurgents who attack US power through asymmetric means. Of late, these individuals have selected as a primary target the military and civilian convoy operations in Iraq and, to some extent, Afghanistan. By examining past examples of the use of airpower in counterinsurgent warfare, this study sheds light on the United States’ current failings in both equipment and doctrine as it wages this type of war. The French used low-technology aircraft—World War II–vintage A-1 and T-6 fighters—in Algeria to attack insurgent forces and defend ground troops. Well adapted to the environment as well as effectively deployed and employed, these aircraft helped contain and defeat the insurgents. In Vietnam, the United States employed A-1s and T-28s—aircraft with a proven track record in this type of war and ideally suited to training the South Vietnamese air force. The United States should rethink its inventory of aircraft devoted to counterinsurgent war by considering possible replacements for the A-1. It should also reevaluate the manner of employing these assets by locating them with the ground forces they support. [Maj Arthur D. Davis, USAF / 2005 / 34 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-23]
  •  C-130 Programmed Depot Maintenance

    C-130 Programmed Depot Maintenance

    Maj John A. Daniels, USAF
    The current USAF process for establishing C-130 programmed depot maintenance (PDM) intervals does not account for the wide range of aircraft variables within each aircraft MDS. This paper develops an analytical model that C-130 maintainers can use to forecast when a C-130 aircraft requires PDM. The model is based on five unique aircraft variables: (1) aircraft age, (2) total flying hours, (3) average yearly flying hours, (4) mission profile (expressed as a severity factor), and (5) operating location of the aircraft. Interviews with C-130 SPO personnel, combined with use of the C-130 Service Life Data Base, provided the required data for developing the C-130 PDM interval model. The C-130 PDM interval model developed in this paper allows maintainers and operators to predict the optimum time between C-130 PDM activities. It eliminates the requirement to base PDM intervals on aircraft MDS. As a result, there is a potential for significant savings by deferring PDM for a portion of the C-130 fleet. Finally, the PDM interval model developed in this paper may be applicable for other Department of Defense aircraft for which MDS is used as the determinant of PDM intervals. [Maj John A. Daniels, USAF 1998 / 33 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: WF-1]
  •  Center of Gravity Analysis and Operational Design

    Center of Gravity Analysis and Operational Design

    Maj Jacob Barfoed, Royal Danish Air Force
    Center of Gravity Analysis and Operational Design: Ensuring a Logical Linkage among National Strategic Objectives; Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic Instruments of Power; and the Military Campaign Combatant commanders already use the center of gravity (COG) concept when analyzing their operational environment; however, this analysis is normally performed after the president has established the strategic objectives for the US government agencies. This defies the purpose of analyzing the strategic COGs: determining the adversary’s vulnerabilities to available instruments of power. This paper recommends that strategic COG analysis be done at the National Security Council level. [Maj Jacob Barfoed, Royal Danish Air Force / 2009 / 31 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-38]
  •  Center of Gravity or Center of Confusion

    Center of Gravity or Center of Confusion

    Maj Seow Hiang Lee, Republic of Singapore Air Force
    Despite its crucial role in campaign planning, the center of gravity (COG) concept remains poorly understood and inconsistently applied. This research paper seeks to understand the common sources of confusion that can occur when the COG concept is employed. It investigates the extent to which these inconsistencies can be resolved and the implications for the employment of the concept when these inconsistencies persist. To address these core questions, the paper first highlights the confusions that are caused by an incomplete reading of Clausewitz`s theoretical framework that underpins his magnum opus On War. The analysis then proceeds to distill the additional sources of confusion that can lead to disagreements during the employment of the concept. This paper discusses the contentious issues of inconsistency in definitions, misunderstandings regarding the nature of the COG concept, divergent services` perceptions, and finally, inconsistencies that are caused by the inherent unpredictability of war. The ideas are then applied historically to help understand the anomalies that arose during the Persian Gulf War. Unlike previous studies which purport that much of the confusion can be easily removed by having clearer and more unambiguous definitions, the findings suggest otherwise; the sources of confusion are multifarious, and some may not even be amenable to complete resolution. The implication of having these enduring inconsistencies is neither to jettison the concept nor to return to a reductionist concept of the COG but to confront nonlinearities by applying the principles of systems thinking, superior leadership, and decisive action that is supported by a flexible feedback system. [Maj Seow Hiang Lee, Republic of Singapore Air Force / 1999, 43 pages ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-10]
  •  Cleared to Engage

    Cleared to Engage

    Major Michael H. Johnson, USMC
    The importance of close air support (CAS) has markedly increased over the last five years in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Ground forces have increasingly relied on the effects that airpower provides and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. This has occurred while CAS doctrine and execution have undergone radical changes. While the fundamentals of a serviceperson with a radio calling in air support have remained relatively constant since World War II, the level of mission complexity has steadily increased. Digital communications, precision-guided munitions, collateral damage considerations, effects-based operations, and a “joint” battlefield have placed increased requirements on terminal attack controllers and CAS aircrew. CAS has been a heavily debated topic within the services for decades. CAS doctrine and training issues have affected aircraft procurement, interservice relationships, and the application and effectiveness of airpower on the battlefield. This has produced numerous Congressional inquiries and service introspection on how to “get it right.” While much progress has been made since 2001, the services must continue to make CAS more effective. On the modern battlefield, the joint application of firepower is a reality, not a concept. It is time to “engage” the doctrinal and training challenges facing our services in order to increase the effectiveness of our aviation forces in the CAS arena. [Major Michael H. Johnson, USMC / 2012 / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-36]
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