Mandeles, Hone, and Terry, the primary authors of the U.S. Air Force's Gulf War Air Power Survey volume on "Command and Control," clearly and persuasively chronicle how the "fog" and "friction" of war, and the limitations of large, complex military organizations, hampered the U.S. air campaign. In great, sometimes excruciating, detail, the authors discuss the missing links and lapses in the U.S. air command structure. No Air Force effort was undertaken before the war to determine targets that could force an Iraqi capitulation. No practice was undertaken on assembling and coordinating the 2,000 daily sorties that would characterize the campaign. And senior commanders were not apprised of the difficulties of presenting an accurate picture of the battle or getting a quick response to their orders, they tinkered with air tasking orders at the last minute, and they were unaware of the cascading effects. Many problems were solved or mitigated by fixes on the fly, often due to individual initiative. But the authors caution that while this approach worked against Iraq -- a passive and, truth be told, weak adversary -- the United States may not be so lucky next time.
Enjoy more high-quality articles like this one.
Become a subscriber.
- Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
- Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
- Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions