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Beyond Gunboat Diplomacy : Forceful Applications of Airpower in Peace Enforcement Operations

By Major James O. Tubbs, USAF


Description
The primary conclusion of this study is that airpower, as a pervasive element of combat operations, will have an important impact on any peace enforcement operation. Strong, centrally controlled air forces serve to assert escalation dominance at the higher end of the conflict spectrum. They can also provide a coercive force that can threaten to escalate the fighting beyond peace enforcement on short notice.However, in almost all cases tactical aviation and special operations aircraft will be critical to support or protect ground forces and help control violence at the lower end of the spectrum. Peace enforcement operations are likely to succeed only when airpower is combined with dominant ground forces and strong diplomacy. Finally,peace enforcement is a complicated affair, perhaps even more so than war itself.Intangible political factors such as the cohesion of the coalition, its willingness to maintain a long-term commitment to the mission, and its ability to balance restraint against credibility will be the primary determining factors in the efficacy of airpower and the mission as a whole. Airpower alone will rarely offer the possibility of military intervention with limited liability in a peace enforcement operation.

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION . . . . 1 PEACE OPERATIONS AND THE USE OF FORCE: PEACE ENFORCEMENT . . . . . 5 MILITARY INTERVENTION IN IRAQ: PROVIDE COMFORT . . . . . 15 INTERVENTION IN SOMALIA: UNITAF AND UNOSOM II . . . . 31 THE AIRPOWER CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE ENFORCEMENT . . . . 47 BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . 51

 

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