The New Calculus: Analyzing Airpower's Changing Role in Joint Theater Campaigns

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The New Calculus: Analyzing Airpower's Changing Role in Joint Theater Campaigns

By Christopher Bowie, Fred Frostic, Kevin Lewis, John Lunch, Da
RAND, 1993
85 pp. $15.00
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An example of contemporary systems analysis, as useful for what it shows about that methodology as it is for substance. The bottom line-that air power can help defeat one regional opponent while holding another-has received considerable public attention. Replete with graphs, charts and figures, this study has a curiously dated air, most notably in its focus on a regional contingency involving an enemy who attacks Saudi Arabia with 4,000 tanks and 500 to 1,000 aircraft. Readers will have to take some of the deployment models and other frameworks on faith. The human and organizational elements of war are missing. The "new calculus" replicates the kind of work done throughout the Cold War-the creation of elaborately detailed campaign scenarios for computer analysis, but all very conventional, predictable and subject to confounding accidents of surprise and technological change. A useful and interesting study, to be sure, but one suspects that analysts, no less than generals, may have a penchant for preparing for the last war.

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