Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this book by the U.S. Army examines the use of history by the American armed forces during three distinct periods: the defense reorganization of the late 1940s, the Reagan military buildup of the 1980s, and the years following the decisive American-led victory in Desert Storm. It shows how the services have increasingly considered history as an effective way to shape perceptions of their past accomplishments and influence future decisions regarding roles, missions, and budgets.
After the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the Department of Defense presented the United States Congress with an official, joint account of Desert Storm. At the same time, each of the military services offered its own version of events to the American people through official histories and in collaboration with non-military authors. While these histories all described the same war, however, they frequently contradicted one another regarding the contributions of the various services to the defeat of the Iraqi Army.
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION * Importance of the Issue * Assumptions * Mapping the Argument * CHAPTER 2 - AN ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK OF ANALYSIS * The Framework of Organizational Politics * The Politics of Military Bureaucracy * The Practice of Historical Distortion * CHAPTER 3 - SERVICE STRATEGIES IN THE EARLY COLD WAR YEARS * The Air Force: Seizing (and Creating) Opportunities * The Marine Corps: Quick Learners * The Navy: Queensbury Rules in a Street Fight * The Army: Hoping for the Best, Accepting the Worst * History and Organizational Strategy, 1945-1950 * CHAPTER 4 - HISTORY AND THE REAGAN BUILDUP * Defense Spending in the Reagan Years * The Air Force and Linebacker II * The Marines Recall Their Glory Days * Strategies Without History * Trends in the Reagan Years * CHAPTER 5 - ONE WAR, MANY WAR STORIES * Establishing a Baseline: The "Official" Version of the Gulf War * Airpower Won the War * Vanquishing the Past, Battling for the Future * Just the Facts * Too Little, Too Late * Summary of Findings * CHAPTER 6 - TO WHAT END MILITARY HISTORY * The Question of Effectiveness: A Topic for Further Study * Specific Recommendations for the United States Army * BIBLIOGRAPHY * ACRONYMS * DSSG Desert Storm Study Group * GWAPS Gulf War Airpower Survey
In reading Army accounts of the 1991 Gulf War, one could reasonably come away with the impression that despite some forty days of aerial bombardment, the Republican Guard represented a significant threat that only carefully synchronized ground actions would finally subdue. Review statements and histories from the Air Force, however, and you leave with a much different interpretation, in which the elite Iraqi armored formations are a beaten foe, yearning for the Army to appear so they could throw down their arms and surrender. Consult the Marines, and the vaunted "left hook" of the Army fades into the background while the liberation of Kuwait City takes on the character of the main effort. Depending on which history of Desert Storm a reader happens to consult, three very different versions of a single war emerge from three professional military organizations trusted to provide sound advice and analysis to our elected civilian leaders. It is this phenomenon that sits at the heart of this study.
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