Paying the Premium: A Military Insurance Policy for Peace and Freedom

By Walter Hahn; H. Joachim Maitre | Go to book overview

9 The Pivotal Elements: Airlift and Sealift

Gen. Duane Cassidy, USAF (Ret.), and vice Adm. Albert Herberger, USN (Ret.)

In the afterglow of victory in the Gulf War, a number of confident assertions were made about the military stature of the United States in the world. A popular one is that the United States now remains "the only superpower." This verdict reflects not only the demonstration of strength in Desert Storm, but also the perception of the economic and political difficulties afflicting the Russian Federation. The latter's status as a "former superpower" seemed confirmed by its essentially passive stance in the Gulf crisis.

Whether or not the verdict is premature, it begs a definition of "superpower." Basically, that term has been used in the past four decades to denote military power with two credentials: (1) massiveness and (2) effective global reach. In the popular mind, the term has been associated primarily with nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery. The Gulf War, however, is a reminder that much more complex factors are at work. Indeed, only by looking back to what is now alluded to as the "Cold War era" can we gain a clearer understanding of the military posture and strategy of the United States as they have evolved over the past four decades, and of the newly emerging challenges to that posture and strategy.

The Soviet Union emerged from World War II as the dominant power in Eurasia--the region the geopolitical thinker Halford MacKinder designated as the "heartland" of global power competition. Although weakened by the conflict, the Soviet Union, under Joseph Stalin, stood poised to exploit its geopolitical position toward the conquest of, or at least hegemonic sway over, the Eurasian landmass as a whole, particularly the rich industrial prize represented by Western Europe. In pursuit of this goal, the Soviet Union could look not only to the

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Paying the Premium: A Military Insurance Policy for Peace and Freedom
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: In Search of an American "Defense Insurance Policy" 1
  • Notes 11
  • 2: Risks and Uncertainties in a Changing World 13
  • Note 31
  • 3: Army Forces for the Future 33
  • 4: Naval Forces for the Future 55
  • 5: Tactical Air Forces for the Future 71
  • 6: Marine Forces for the Future 93
  • Notes 109
  • 7: Strategic Forces for the Future 111
  • Notes 122
  • 8: Coping with Global Missile Proliferation 123
  • 9: The Pivotal Elements: Airlift and Sealift 141
  • 10: The Need for Forward Prepositioning 159
  • 11: The U.S. Defense- Industrial Base 173
  • Notes 184
  • 12: Conclusion: How the Challenges and Dangers of the Post-Containment Era Can Be Mastered 185
  • Notes 189
  • Index 191
  • About the Editors and Contributors 197
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