Air Power versus Ground Forces

Phil Haun

in Cross-Domain Deterrence

Published in print April 2019 | ISBN: 9780190908645
Published online July 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190909604 | DOI:
Air Power versus Ground Forces

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Classical deterrence concepts were developed to prevent nuclear war, for obvious reasons, and thus tend to focus on high-stakes crisis bargaining, or “chicken” games, to both threaten and avoid Armageddon. Yet deterrence may operate in many different settings (i.e., different games) and with repeated interactions by the players. Indeed, deterrence is prevalent, if underappreciated, at the operational level of war, even when a state is attacking at the strategic level. Drawing on a number of historical examples, this chapter argues that command of the air over the battlefield is operationally valuable because it deters ground forces from massing and maneuvering, which can benefit either offensive and defensive operations. The degree to which an air force can deter in war depends on various operational factors, including the degree of air superiority achieved over the battlefield, the capability of the air force to locate and target enemy ground forces, the composition of enemy forces, the presence of friendly ground forces, and permissive environmental conditions.

Keywords: air power; deterrence; military operations; cross-domain deterrence; intrawar deterrence; close-air support

Chapter.  8647 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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