Air University Press

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.

Wright Flyer Papers

  •  AFD-171204-394-008.PDF

    The Head Side of the Coin

    Lt Col Araus Robert F. Musico, Philippine Air Force
    This paper examines the counterterrorist strategy employed on the Island of Basilan during Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF–P) and discusses its potential applicability in the current Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) insurgency. The strategy used the principles found in the Diamond Model, the counterinsurgency (COIN) model that Dr. Gordon McCormick developed. The Diamond Model establishes the interactions of four key players in an insurgency environment, pinpoints the “people” as the center of gravity, and demonstrates how either the insurgent or the counterinsurgent can take actions as each competes to win the people’s support. The US forces dispatched to the island province used it as a framework to advise and assist the armed forces of the Philippines in building up its capability and to launch civic action initiatives aimed at isolating the local people from the influence of the local terror group, the Abu Sayyaf. [Lt Col Araus Robert F. Musico, Philippine Air Force / 2010 / 46 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-42]

    The Hydra: The Strategic Paradox of Human Security in Mexico

    Maj Zachary Martin
    This paper explores the social climate and circumstances in Mexico that have led to increased cartel activity over the past twenty years. Analysis of these circumstances shows that both Mexico and the United States have failed in their efforts to eradicate cartels and curb violent crime and illicit drug trafficking on both sides of the border. An examination of the Mexican administrations over two decades highlights the efforts and missteps the governments have made that contribute to the rising violent crime rates throughout the country. This paper also discusses potential solutions to those problems and the difficulties both countries face in implementing them. [Maj Zachary Martin / 2020 / 42 pages / ISSN 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-78]
  •  AFD-171204-188-023.PDF

    The Innate Insurgent Advantage

    Gary W. Boyd, DAFC
    The role of training, planning, and technological change is examined in helping turn around coalition and American efforts in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Despite the wealth of historical, doctrinal, and experiential knowledge available to help mitigate casualties and restore security in these operations, the United States and its coalition partners failed to adequately plan or to train and equip their individual forces until years after the start of the conflict. The evidence suggests that these forces made great strides in reversing what had been virtual lost causes to effect meaningful victories and gradual withdrawal throughout the region. Boyd reviews methods, training, and decisions that helped make moderate successes possible after particularly dark days. [Gary W. Boyd, DAFC / 2016 / 46 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-57]
  •  AFD-200309-495-022.PDF

    The Laird-Packard Way: Unpacking Defense Acquisition Policy

    Maj Brian M. Fredrickson
    This paper contends that the study of David Packard, the co-founder of electronics firm giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) and one of the founding fathers of Silicon Valley, is essential for those who seek to understand better the realm of defense acquisition (the battles before the battle). David Packard served as deputy secretary of defense between January 1969 and December 1971, significantly influencing modern defense acquisition policy and playing a critical role in the birth of fourth-generation airpower. This research focuses on the lessons learned from Packard’s experience, some developmental programs in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the impact of those programs on Packard’s acquisition reform movement. Specific programs visited include the C-5, F-111, F-14, B-1, the A-X Competition, the Lightweight Fighter (LWF) Competition (YF-16, YF-17), and the Advanced Medium Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) Transport (AMST) Competition (YC-14, YC-15). Packard’s three prototyping competitions, the A-X, AMST, and LWF, resulted in the rise of the A-10, F-16, F/A-18, and C-17. Within the realm of defense acquisition, lessons learned from these developmental programs are analogous to lessons learned from battles and operational campaigns, while the evolution of acquisition policy is analogous to the evolution of war-fighting doctrine. Packard’s approach to acquisition, not the platforms themselves, is at the center of this study. [Maj. Brian M. Frederickson / 2020 / 139 pages / ISSN 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-74]
  •  AFD-171201-835-022.PDF

    The Last Manned Fighter

    Maj Robert B. Trsek, USAF
    In this paper, Lt Col Robert B. Trsek addresses the question, can and should the Air Force pursue an unmanned multirole fighter to replace manned systems? Unmanned aircraft systems have demonstrated enormous intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in both flexibility and persistence. Current and emerging technology may permit unmanned fighters to replace conventional multirole aircraft in the face of high-endurance missions, evolving threat systems, and political pressure to preserve human life. [Maj Robert B. Trsek, USAF / 2008 / 46 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-32 ]
  •  AFD-171201-473-012.PDF

    The Operational and Tactical Nexus

    Maj M. Shane Riza, USAF
    The literature on effects-based operations (EBO) seems to row each day. Myriad definitions have appeared in service and joint doctrine writings as well as in other writings. Most are too far reaching for current capabilities, and they may be too far reaching for future capabilities. Both the United States Air Force (USAF) and the United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) EBO definitions encompass all facets of national policy, including strategic outcomes. USAF and USJFCOM are attempting a quantum leap when smaller, more manageable steps are indicated to enable and embed an EBO culture in the planning community. Making the effort more difficult, service and joint doctrine writings often convey a sense of multipolarity when it comes to explaining EBO methodology. [Maj M. Shane Riza, USAF / 2006 / 46 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-22]
  •  AFD-171130-315-342.PDF

    The Role of Airpower in Urban Warfare

    Timothy L. Saffold
    This research project addresses how I believe airpower should be employed in urban warfare to achieve operational and strategic results. I chose this topic because there is an apparent disconnection between how military planners and operators view urban combat and their aware-ness of airpower’s unique and potentially decisive contributions in this environment. This disconnect could prove disastrous for military forces operating on urban terrain. Urban warfare has been given considerable attention by the United States Army and Marine Corps. Although their concerns are soundly based on changes in the strategic environment, I believe their focus is misplaced at the tactical level of warfare. Airmen from all services need to reorient their thinking towards employing airpower to achieve “war-winning” operational and strategic results in this difficult environment. I sincerely hope this paper generates new thought and debate on how urban warfare should be planned and executed. I wish to thank all of my Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force war-fighting peers attending the Air Command and Staff College who patiently listened to my ideas and graciously offered their suggestions. I especially want to thank Maj Ed “K-9” Kostelnik, one of the few Air Force officers who has seriously been involved in studying urban warfare, for his candid insight and arguments on the subject. [Timothy L. Saffold / 1998 / 37 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-6]
  •  AFD-191105-055-024.PDF

    The Ultimate Challenge: Attribution for Cyber Operations

    Maj Amanda G. Hill
    The inherent nature of cyberspace has created an opportunity for adversaries to exploit vulnerabilities of victim state’s cyberinfrastructures anonymously for a myriad of reasons. States and nonstate actors can use multiple avenues and techniques to route malicious malware with relative ease and safety. Further, states can utilize nonstate actors in their efforts to achieve political goals with the ability to deny involvement in the act. This is due to both the nature of cyberspace, deficiencies in international law, and the limitations of technical attribution. Therefore, this paper explores what factors, under international law, could be considered in holding nation-states or nonstate actors accountable for malicious cyber acts. The problem/solution method is used to review the relevant deficiencies in international law, general problems associated with attribution in the cyber domain, and other variables that could produce a more comprehensive assessment of whether a particular entity should be held accountable for a cyber action. Instituting and utilizing a multi-dimensional approach to attribution can provide the information necessary to determine responsibility for malicious cyber acts and provide victim states the confidence to respond appropriately. [Maj Amanda G. Hill / 2019 / 41 pages / ISSN: 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-70]
  •  AFD-171130-485-333.PDF

    They Too Served

    Maj David H. Kelley, USAF
    In-theater combat crew replacement centers (CCRC) represented a brief but important stop for aircrews training as replacements for personnel lost in the European theater during World War II. The Eighth Air Force’s 496th Fighter Training Group operated a fighter CCRC at Goxhill, England, and illustrated the unique challenges and successes of the CCRC mission. The 496th Fighter Training Group overcame maintenance shortfalls, aircraft shortages, and persistent morale issues to train more than 2,400 fighter pilots for combat duty in the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and North American P-51 Mustang. [Maj David H. Kelley, USAF / 2001 / 54 pages / ISBN: / AU Press Code: WF-13]

    Thwarting Antiquation: Efficient Decisions and Effective Systems for the US Air Force

    Tristan A. Caruso
    This paper evaluates the need for less cumbersome procedures for updating and maintaining weapon system readiness. United States weapon systems tend to fall into a cycle of antiquation and stagnation during the operations and support phase of their life cycles. Armed forces regulatory and financial policies, as written, restrict efforts to upgrade or update weapon systems on an ongoing basis; instead, they force these systems into obsolescence by inhibiting any design changes that intentionally provide appreciable performance increases. Current regulations contend that permanent weapon systems modifications must be treated as an acquisition, not an update; as such, they are subject to a byzantine process of bureaucratic approval and restrictive appropriations. The paper presents potential solutions to this issue, evaluated in terms of warfighter merit, feasibility, and potential risks. [Tristan A. Caruso / 2021 / 32 pages / ISSN 2687-7260 / AU Press Code: WF-81]
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