Colonel Mann undertakes a critical analysis of air and space warfare as planned and waged in Operation Desert Storm. He explores debates about airpower and its uses as they played themselves out before, during, and after the successes of the Gulf War. He compares the debates of the 1970s-1990s with those of the 1920s-1940s and wonders if we will ever sort them out. Colonel Mann explores the underpinnings of successful warfare and observes that the warriors of the future must have a strong knowledge of principles and concepts of war to apply information, training, and technological resources with acumen needed to win future victories.
Such dramatic performance demands much attention. Desert Storm has spawned and will continue to spawn numerous histories, anthologies, and analyses. Few, however, will be as focused and useful to airmen as Thunder and Lightning: Desert Storm and the Airpower Debates. A small team of military analysts, working at Air University's College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education (CADRE), under the initial oversight of Lt Gen Chuck Boyd and—later—Lt Gen Jay Kelley, spent over three years piecing together the conceptual development of the Desert Storm air campaign. Their interest was not specifically historical; rather, their motivation stemmed from the inherent curiosity of airmen who aspire to understand their profession.
INTRODUCTION: The Airpower Debates * 1 Do Concepts Matter * 2 Instant Thunder: Why an Air Staff Plan * 3 How Does Airpower Work? * 4 Knockout Blow? Or Decision on Points? * 5 The Objective * 6 Taking It to the Enemy * 7 Seizing the High Ground: Airpower as a Maneuver Element? * 8 Setup for the Knockout Blow * 9 The First Information War * 10 Conclusions: What Is Air (and Space) Power?
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