Strategic Bombing Forever:

  • 2012

Strategic Bombing Forever:

How the Concept of Strategic Bombing Came to Dominate American Airpower Doctrine
Author:
Benjamin Jamison
Abstract:

This essay demonstrates that the concept of strategic bombing remained fundamental to the evolution of American airpower, starting with Giulio Douhet and continuing through John Warden. The essay begins with an examination of classic airpower theory, as presented in the works of Giulio Douhet and the teachings of the Air Corps Tactical School, followed by a discussion of the modern airpower theories of John Warden and John Boyd. The essay then discusses the employment of American airpower in the 20th century, along with the evolution of strategic bombing.

The historiography of American airpower illuminates the ongoing debate regarding the effectiveness and merit of strategic bombing. The essay argues that classic American airpower theory remains valid, not through a revolution in technology, but rather through the evolution of military intelligence and targeting. Through all of its iterations, from “operational bombing” to “strategic interdiction,” American airpower remained committed to the idea of strategic bombing.