Turning the Vertical Flank
Airpower as a Maneuver Force in the Theater Campaign
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Colonel Givens examines three battles—1973 Yom Kippur War, 1972 Easter offensive, and1944 Normandy campaign—to test the validity of airpower operating as a maneuver force. He avoids wringing the concept through to the Persian Gulf War because of the heated feelings that arose during the analysis of that path-breaking campaign some 12 years ago. What is unique and instructive about this study is its examination of historical warfare to illustrate current maneuver force concepts. Through the experiences of Kosovo and Afghanistan, the Air Force advocates with greater urgency that airpower can operate as a major force and is not endemically oriented to a supporting role. The contention is that exercising airpower in this role will enhance the future campaigns of the American military might. Where once there were fronts, flanks, and rears, there is now the vertical dimension. The Air Force attempts to control this element and, that along with the ground forces controlling the fronts and flanks, military operations commanded by a joint force commander point to the superior American military force. Colonel Givens concludes that, at the very least, the principle of economy of force demands airpower be seen as a viable maneuver force. He shows that in the conduct of warfare, we missed lessons in the past that we need to apply today.