AIRPOWER ADVANTAGE: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign 1989-1991

By Bailey, Christopher E. | Military Review, July/August 2005 | Go to article overview

AIRPOWER ADVANTAGE: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign 1989-1991


Bailey, Christopher E., Military Review


AIRPOWER ADVANTAGE: Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign 1989-1991, Diane T. Putney, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, Air Force History and Museums Program, 2005, 362 pages, $19.95.

Airpower Advantage is an excellent history of planning for the Persian Gulf War air campaign during 1989 and 1990. Diane T. Putney, a professional historian with 20 years experience with the U.S. Air Force, draws extensively from archival documentation, interviews with air planners, and postwar reports to produce a thorough, well-researched book that might well be a definitive history.

Putney reviews the planning process from the prewar operations plan through the initial plan prepared by the Air Staff's Deputy Directorate for Warfighting Concepts (also called Checkmate), through Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm planning, through the integration of Army ground campaign planning, through the merging of the four phases, to the execution of the campaign. Of note is that the book focuses on planning for the air campaign but spends only about 20 pages on execution and, despite the title, does end with the war in 1990.

The book details the role of the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC); the roles and relationships between the joint staff and the combatant commander; the roles and relationships between the JFACC and his staff and units; and the professional complexities of national intelligence support, imagery dissemination, battle damage assessment, and the use of a master attack plan (MAP) to help in producing the air tasking order (ATO). …

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