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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.

  •  The Acme of Skill

    The Acme of Skill

    Maj Cheng Hang Teo, Republic of Singapore Air Force
    Nonkinetic warfare, conflict that does not involve using force to inflict physical damage, is rapidly gaining in importance. Scholars of war even from the time of Sun Tzu have articulated that the enemy’s destruction is neither essential nor necessarily the best route to ultimate victory. The insurgency attributes that have characterized many wars since World War II suggest that the objective of warfare has shifted from the kinetic destruction of military forces to the nonkinetic impairment of the enemy’s will to fight. Four global trends identified in this paper—economic prosperity, freedom of information, the rise of nationalism, and globalization and interdependence—are possible causes for this shift because they make war a less attractive option than ever. As the last major conflict between major powers, the Cold War was won with barely a single kinetic conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union—an excellent model of nonkinetic conflict and perhaps a sign of things to come. In the Cold War, the military largely played a supporting role. In an age characterized by the information revolution and globalization, the information and diplomatic instruments of power will rise in importance. Even in a supporting role, the military instrument nonetheless remains relevant, not least because kinetic conflict can never be ruled out. However, the military’s nonkinetic potential needs to be developed in order for it to be more effective in today’s world. Three ways to achieve this end are to develop an interagency approach to the military, assign a supporting diplomatic role to the military, and develop a comprehensive and coherent information strategy not only for the military, but for all levels of government. [Maj Cheng Hang Teo, Republic of Singapore Air Force / 2008 / 42 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-30]
  •  The Better Blitzkrieg

    The Better Blitzkrieg

    Maj Ainsworth M. O’Reilly, USAF
    Historians have debated for decades the reasons for the spectacular failure of the Luftwaffe during the last three years of World War II. As the Luftwaffe went down in flames, the United States Army Air Forces arose to conquer the airspace on the Western Front of Europe. Before its downfall, Luftwaffe tactical airpower was key to Gen Heinz Guderian’s surprise attack through the Ardennes to the English Channel in 1940. Similarly, in 1944, as Gen George S. Patton broke out of the Normandy beachhead by unleashing Operation Cobra, tactical airpower proved vital to his ability to march to the German border in only six weeks. This paper analyzes a host of primary sources authored by the main players in those campaigns (Guderian, Patton, and Weyland) and focuses on the key differences between the Luftwaffe support to Guderian and XIX Tactical Air Command support to Patton during their historic campaigns on the Western Front of Europe in World War II. [Maj Ainsworth M. O’Reilly, USAF / 2010 / 34 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-43]
  •  The Better Mind of Space

    The Better Mind of Space

    Maj Matthew L. Lohmeier
    This paper explores space and space culture from two distinct perspectives. The traditional mind of space believes that air and space are indivisible and is limited from the surface of the Earth to geosynchronous Earth orbit. This mind, Maj Lohmeier argues, can limit the effectiveness of the Air Force and the now-formed US Space Force. The emergent mind of space is one that understands the delineation between air and space and views the domain of the military as reaching as far as the moon. This mind, the author says, should be adopted by all space professionals to aid the joint fight and establish the United States’ interests in an ever-expanding military and geopolitical landscape. [Maj Matthew L. Lohmeier / 2020 / 43 pages / ISSN 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-79]
  •  THE CASE FOR SPACE: A Legislative Framework for an Independent United States Space Force

    THE CASE FOR SPACE: A Legislative Framework for an Independent United States Space Force

    Maj Dustin L. Grant and Maj Matthew J. Neil
    This paper examines the United States Air Force’s role in managing space and provides recommendations for the future of space in the US military. Though it echoes specific recommendations made elsewhere by previous authors, the primary purpose of this paper is to consider the legislative framework required to sever space from Air Force oversight and establish a separate United States space force (USSF) under the Department of Defense. The paper begins by examining the historical evolution and fractured history of space in the US government’s bureaucratic machine. Next, this paper looks at multiple reports calling for changes in space leadership and oversight, the inability to effect meaningful change, and an evaluation of the need for an independent space force. It then discusses the various roles and missions an independent space force would assume. Finally, it discusses the legal framework necessary to establish a USSF and analyzes a legislative proposal. Though this paper advocates for “standing up” a separate USSF, the actual value of this paper is in the legislation proposed in Appendix 2, and the analysis of that proposal. Merely considering the specific recommendations in that enabling legislation is beneficial should the United States move toward establishing a USSF. [Maj Dustin L. Grant and Maj Matthew J. Neil / 2020 / 84 pages / ISSN 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-73]
  •  The Cheshire Jet

    The Cheshire Jet

    Maj Timothy E. Beers, USAF
    This paper addresses the question, “Will metamaterials facilitate an operationally feasible and significant optical stealth capability for the US Air Force?” To answer this question, the author’s research is directed at the advances and development patterns of optical band metamaterials; specifically, it addresses the leading indicators of frequency, bandwidth, and energy loss. Following that, a backcasting futures technique helps uncover the obstacles of metamaterial durability, suitability, and manufacturability. This paper concludes with a 20-year timeline for optical band metamaterial capabilities and applications. [Maj Timothy E. Beers, USAF / 2010 / 55 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: WF-44]
  •  The Combat Cloud: Enabling Multidomain Command and Control across the Range of Military Operations

    The Combat Cloud: Enabling Multidomain Command and Control across the Range of Military Operations

    Maj Jacob Hess, USAF; et al.,
    While the inherent advantages of the combat cloud are many, the challenges that surround its successful development and incorporation into modern warfare are equally numerous, including interoperability and security issues and ensuring decentralized execution at the tactical and operational levels. Despite these challenges, the ubiquitous nature of data will not allow arbitrary lines to be drawn between domains in the future, and command and control must no longer be confined by such terms. Going forward, information must be generated, synthesized, shared, and accessible by all, for all, and through all domains; the combat cloud is the instrument to do so. [Maj Jacob Hess, USAF; Maj Aaron Kiser, USAF; Maj El Mostafa Bouhafa, Royal Moroccan Air Force; and Shawn Williams, Defense Intelligence Agency / 2019 / 42 pages / ISSN: 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-0065]
  •  The Department of Defense and the Power of Cloud Computing

    The Department of Defense and the Power of Cloud Computing

    Maj Steven C. Dudash
    Cloud computing, a shared pool of computing resources that are readily available to meet the user’s rapidly changing demands, has opened up many new opportunities and risks for society that in many ways are revolutionary. The Department of Defense (DOD), because of its size and mission, faces significant opportunities and security challenges when implementing a cloud computing environment. A cloud based infrastructure can provide extensive savings for the DOD. However, a cloud configuration introduces new potential security risks that DOD IT professionals must weigh when evaluating the potential cost savings associated with cloud computing. [Maj Steven C. Dudash / 2016 / 39 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-52]
  •  The Diplomacy of the Jaguar

    The Diplomacy of the Jaguar

    Lt Col Geraud J. Laborie, French Air Force
    Lieutenant Colonel Laborie examines the role of French airpower in military conflicts in such areas as Mauritania and Chad in the 1970s and 1980s, Rwanda in 1994, Zaire in 2003, and the Central African Republic in 2007. His central thesis is that airpower determined the margin of victory in each instance and that the outcome of events in the Ivory Coast would have been different had there been a greater emphasis on airpower. [Lt Col Geraud J. Laborie, French Air Force / 2009 / 46 pages ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-39]
  •  The Expeditionary Airfield as a Center of Gravity

    The Expeditionary Airfield as a Center of Gravity

    Maj Jeff D. Philippart, USAF
    This study explores the contemporary relevance of the Guadalcanal campaign to current military operations. Specifically, it uses expeditionary joint air operations flown from Henderson Field during the period August 1942 to February 1943 as a case study for the employment of airpower from an austere airfield. Henderson Field provides a historical example of the expeditionary airfield as a center of gravity for joint military operations, and it demonstrates that key force enablers provide critical capabilities for the use of airpower from austere airfields. The joint air forces at Henderson Field, collectively known as the Cactus Air Force, flew defensive counterair and interdiction missions against the Japanese. The Cactus Air Force also provided close air support for US Marines fighting against the Japanese army on Guadalcanal. Air operations from this austere airfield would not have been possible without several key force enablers. Maintenance, logistics, and runway construction and repair were vital to sustaining the outnumbered Cactus Air Force. US Marine and Army ground troops—who fought multiple battles to protect Henderson Field—provided airfield security. In the dramatic course of this seesaw campaign, the tactical capabilities of the Cactus Air Force were key to the eventual victory by the Americans. [Maj Jeff D. Philippart, USAF/ 2004 / 55 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-19]
  •  The Future of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Special Operations

    The Future of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Special Operations

    Capt Jordan Kowalski, USAF
    Unmanned aerial vehicles' support to US special operations forces has grown throughout the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to find, fix, and finish high-value targets in numerous terrorist networks. As conflicts continue to evolve across multiple new theaters in new environments and countries, several limitations with the MQ-9 and its support network generated the question "How might Air Force Special Operations Command MQ-9s be improved to better support special operations teams around the world?" This paper identifies solutions, including several hardware and software upgrades that improve communication, navigation, deconfliction, and weapons employment capabilities of the aircraft. These changes will enhance current and future support to special operations and even conventional US military forces in every theater to come. [Capt Jordan Kowalski, USAF / 2017 / 49 pages / ISBN: AU Press Code: WF-60]
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