Storm over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War

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An incisive account of the Persian Gulf War, Storm Over Iraq shows how the success of Operation Desert Storm was the product of two decades of profound changes in the American approach to defense, military doctrine, and combat operations. The first detailed analysis of why the Gulf War could be fought the way it was, the book examines the planning and preparation for war. Richard P. Hallion argues that the ascendancy of precision air power in warfare—which fulfilled the promise that air power had held for more than seventy-five years—reflects the revolutionary adaptation of a war strategy that targets things rather than people, allowing one to control an opposing nation without destroying it.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Authoritative and absorbing. . . . Hallion’s argument is provocative and challenges many current perceptions of military power projection. Well written, timely and incisive . . . . A rare find.”—Military Review

“An important study. . . . Hallion traces the evolution of air power doctrine from World War I to [the Gulf War]. It is a story of aspirations and expectations that for many years exceeded the reach of available technology, giving rise to a widespread skepticism about the potential of strategic bombardment.”—Journal of Military History

“Superb . . . [Storm over Iraq] may be the benchmark by which we measure understanding of the debate over the revolution in warfare that was heralded by Operation Desert Storm.”—Airpower Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hallion, a former professor at the Army War College, argues persuasively that the Gulf war confirmed a major transformation in the nature of combat: the dominance of air power. Tracing the history of air power through its effective application in WW II and its misuse in Vietnam, he discusses the development of superfighters and air-to-air missiles in the post-Vietnam decade, analyzes the impact of the Army's AirLand Battle doctrine, then explains why the Air Force's 1990 white paper Global Reach-Global Power provoked an intense debate between air-power modernists and seapower traditionalists. Finally, he describes the whirlwind of destruction sent forth by U.S. air contingents during Desert Storm, leaving no doubt that on those rare occasions when American ground forces made contact with the Iraqi army, the U.S. weapon was almost invariably an air weapon: plane, helicopter or missile. Groundforce traditionalists and advocates of naval power-projection will take issue with Hallion's work, but he demonstrates authoritatively that air power was the decisive factor in the Gulf war. Illustrated. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Military historian Hallion has written the definitive text on the role of air power in the Gulf War. His access to recently declassified materials and to current postwar analyses has significantly dated both Norman Friedman's Desert Victory (Naval Inst. Press, 1991) and U.S. News & World Report's Triumph Without Victory (Random House, 1992). The early chapters detail the role of air power from World War I through Noriega's capture in Panama. The main body of the text describes the air war in the Persian Gulf and shows how U.S. Air Force planning and modern technology drastically shortened the final land phase of combat. The most interesting sections are the conclusion and appendixes, which offer much new information from personal sources and military studies not readily available to the public. Though Bert Kinzey's Fury of Desert Storm: The Air Campaign (TAB, 1991) offers additional statistical information and much better photographic coverage, this solid work defines the thesis that ``air power alone can win any war'' and is recommended for all Gulf War and all military collections.-- Richard Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo, N.Y.
An incisive account of the Persian Gulf War, which marked the ascendancy of air power in warfare. Hallion traces the history of air power up to the planning, preparation, and conduct of the war, and also outlines the significance the war holds for national security planning. Detailed appendices further examine specific issues, while the entire volume is meticulously documented and thoroughly illustrated. Accessible to a broad audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560987239
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Pages: 383
  • Sales rank: 421,314
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard P. Hallion, Air Force Historian, directs the worldwide Air Force historical and museum programs. An internationally recognized aerospace historian, he has written or edited many other books.
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