Title: Achieving and Ensuring Air Dominance
Subject: An examination of the entire air dominance spectrum, using historical analysis with a focus on Desert Storm, with a look towards future requirements and challenges.
Author(s): Craig A. Hughes; Matthew B. Caffrey (Faculty Advisor)
DTIC Keywords: AIR DEFENSE, AIR SUPERIORITY FIGHTERS, ATTRITION, COMBAT EFFECTIVENESS, COMBAT FORCES, GUN AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS, SURFACE TO AIR MISSILES
Abstract: What the concepts of air superiority and supremacy lack is the consideration of the effectiveness of airpower to achieve objectives after an air force attains either. An enemy which has been defeated in the air may still prevent air dominance through a variety of means ranging from ground-to-air attacks to attacks on friendly airbases. The domestic procurement budget may also prevent air dominance due to a lack of understanding, hence funding, for any of the links of the air dominance chain. This research project develops an appreciation for air dominance by defining the issues and relevance, deriving tentative conclusions from a historical analysis, testing those conclusions in Operation Desert Storm while deriving additional tentative conclusions, analyzing the "thinking enemy" and their efforts to exploit gaps in air dominance, examining what budget shortfalls may be contributing to these gaps, and finally, discussing challenges and recommendations designed to determine the extent to which future air dominance requirements are being adequately addressed. In the end, the research paper will show the potentially grave error of under-funding a SEAD replacement and air base defense, and the danger of proposed future cuts to the F-22. Methodology includes an analysis of books, magazines, unclassified security assessments and threat estimates, and recently declassified publications from the Air Force Historical Research Agency.