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Short of War

Short of War

Air Power in the 1980s

(p.99) 5 Short of War
The Air Force Way of War
Brian D. Laslie
University Press of Kentucky

Chapter 5 looks for what, if any, impact real-world operations occurred as a result of changes to air force doctrine during the “small wars” of the 1980s. In other words, were there results seen in the Libyan and Panamanian conflicts? By focusing on real-world events, including Operation El Dorado Canyon, this chapter demonstrates that tactical exercises had a direct impact in Libya but not so much in Panama or Grenada. Furthermore, the relationship between the army and air force was strengthened through the meetings held between the Tactical Air Command and the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. These meetings resulted in the adoption of the “31 initiatives.” These initiatives greatly increased the focus on close air support and the destruction of enemy air defense as part of combat operations, something the Red Flag exercise was already focusing on.

Keywords:   El Dorado Canyon, Muammar Gaddafi, Panama, TRADOC, TAC

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