Emerging Threats, Force Structures, and the Role of Air Power in Korea

By Natalie W. Crawford | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
THE ROLE OF AIR POWER GOING INTO THE 21ST
CENTURY
Benjamin S. Lambeth

INTRODUCTION

Air power took a quantum leap in credibility and perceived importance after the opening days of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The convergence of high technology with intensive training and determined strategy that was attested by the allied coalition's successful air campaign against Saddam Hussein's Iraq bespoke a breakthrough in the strategic effectiveness of the air weapon after a promising start in World War II and more than three years of misuse in the Rolling Thunder bombing campaign against North Vietnam from 1965 to 1968. Indeed, the speedy attainment of allied air control over Iraq and what that allowed allied air and space assets to accomplish afterwards by way of enabling the prompt achievement of the coalition's military objectives on the ground marked, in the view of many, the final coming of age of air power.

There was no denying the effect that initial air operations had in shaping the subsequent course of the war. The opening coalition attacks against Iraq's command and control facilities and integrated air defenses proved uniformly successful, with some 800 combat sorties

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