Kamps, Charles Tustin, Air & Space Power Journal
THE JOINT FORCES Command Glossary defines effects-based operations (EBO) as "a process for obtaining a desired strategic outcome or 'effect' on the enemy, through the synergistic, multiplicative, and cumulative application of the full range of military and nonmilitary capabilities at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels" (http:// wwwjfcom.mil/about/glossary.htm). As such, all types of armed forces have performed EBO for centuries-albeit without the same dynamics as have appeared since the beginning of practical airpower in the early twentieth century.
During World War I, ground forces proved adept at killing the enemy in large numbers but equally unable to achieve a decision. Postwar air theorists, including Italy's Giulio Douhet, Britain's Hugh Trenchard, and America's William "Billy" Mitchell, championed an alternative to attrition in the form of what we now call EBO. Using "strategical" bombardment, they envisioned achieving the "effect" of destroying the enemy's army by attacking his population centers, critical industries, or logistical infrastructure.
These ideas, developed during the 1930s by the US Army's Air Corps Tactical School and the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command, formed the basis for the Combined Bomber Offensive of World War II. EBO conducted by "strategic" air arms in that war received mixed reviews but undoubtedly affected the outcome of the conflict. In truth, although the theory was sound, interdiction by tactical aviation and submarines may have proved the concept more convincingly than did heavy bombers.
Nevertheless, EBO and the ability to strike directly at enemy centers of gravity were instrumental in securing an independent US Air Force in the postwar era. After an institutional hiatus in strategic thinking during the nuclear-dominated Cold War, the application of airpower in a conventional EBO role reemerged in the 1980s in the writings of John Warden and later under his protege, David Deptula. …