Vietnam War

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By Donald J. Mrozek

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The need was to decide where victory would occur and what would constitute it. Whatever else may be said, for good or ill, prosecution of the ground war did not enjoy consistent priority . Rivalries suggest that efforts to fight the war stumbled over confusion as to what the war really was ; and without a common vision, the services were left to their own competing goals . INTERSERVICE DIFFERENCES, COMMAND AND CONTROL Interservice Differences in the Post-World War II Context In their rivalry over the organization and use of air power in Vietnam, the services continued their long dispute over roles and missions .

10. William Mitchell, Our Air Force (New York : Dutton, 1921), 106 . In this instance, Mitchell specifically meant lighter-than-air aircraft, whose decline he did not anticipate. 11 . Quoted in Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine, 2. and Policy (New AIR POWER THEORIES, AIR FORCE THINKING 12 . This may help to explain why a clear statement of doctrine seems almost impossible to obtain in any given period . The capability for a strategic offensive effectively became the dominant concern that made all other roles secondary .

Other Air Force spokesmen likewise claimed a powerful role for strategic forces in deterring even low-level conflicts . Maj Gen David A. Burchinal, Air Force director of plans, defended the strengthening of strategic forces by arguing that superiority in this area would dissuade an enemy from engaging in a smaller war. "If you have a strategic capability which is clearly superior . . ," he argued, "then you have established your ability to control . . " An enemy would presumably be unwilling to let a war expand when faced with the likelihood of defeat at the higher level of conflict.

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