Icarus Syndrome/Ppr / Edition 1

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Overview

At the end of the Reagan era, many in the U.S. Air Force began to express their concerns about the health of their institution. They questioned whether the Air Force had lost its sense of direction, its confidence, its values, even its future. For some, these concerns reflected nothing more than the maturation of the most youthful of America's military institutions. For others it was a crisis of spirit that threatened the hard-won independence of the Air Force.

Although the diagnoses for this malaise are as numerous as its symptoms, The Icarus Syndrome points a finger at the abandonment of air power theory sometime in the late 1950s to early 1960s as the single, taproot cause of the problems. That provocative diagnosis is followed by an equally provocative prescription the Air Force must follow to regain its institutional health.

Author Carl H. Builder begins with an overview of this crisis of values within the Air Force, along with a litany of concerns about what seems to have gone wrong within that institution. The history of the U.S. Air Force, along with the role played in it by air power theory, is explored and is used to support Builder's thesis. The remainder of the book is an analysis of what went wrong and when, how these wrongs might be corrected, and the challenges for Air Force leadership in the future. Now available in paperback, The Icarus Syndrome will be of great interest to U.S. Air Force professionals, military and aviation historians, and institutional psychologists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Builder became involved in this study in connection with work he was doing at the RAND Corporation for the USAF Air War College… What is remarkable about The Icarus Syndrome is that the USAF has finally sponsored a self-analysis that is readable in style and provocative in nature. Upper-division undergraduates and above.”

—R. Higham,Choice

"The juxtaposition of theory and the operational principles is superbly managed in the framework of the strategic questions about the future of air power.à This book is strongly recommended for those who think or should think in terms of shaping air and space power for the future."

—Harry H. Almond, Jr., The Friday Review of Defense Literature

"The Icarus Syndrome is an intellectually engaging work and particularly timely.à The author's conclusions are skillfully developed and clearly articulated."

—Jeffrey C. Prater, Military Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765809933
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl H. Builder was a senior staff member at RAND, and specialized in strategy formation and analysis. He is the author of The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis, and wrote extensively on nuclear issues, the military, institutional analysis, and technological and societal futures.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I Taking Bearings 1
1 A View of the Air Force Today 3
2 Is There a Problem? 17
3 The Icarus Syndrome 27
Pt. II Creation 39
4 The Precursors 41
5 The Prophets 49
6 The Theory 59
7 Prophesy 69
Pt. III Exploitation 81
8 The Apostles 83
9 Founding the Church 97
10 The Test of Fire 107
11 The Practitioners 123
12 Breaking Free 133
13 Realization 145
Pt. IV Erosion 153
14 The Technology Janus 155
15 New Dimensions 165
16 Slow Fall from Grace 179
Pt. V Failure Analysis 191
17 Picking Up the Pieces 193
18 Crash Analysis 203
Pt. VI The Weather Ahead 217
19 Making Painful Choices 219
20 A Changing World 233
21 The New Security Environment 247
Pt. VII Setting the Compass 259
22 Mission Desiderata 261
23 From Mission to Vision 269
24 A Theory to Fly By 281
Index 293
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