Former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and Army leadership disagreed on programs he viewed as self-serving, particularly those organic to each service. [...] Secretary Rumsfeld perceived the Army as retaining the same organizational structure as divisions fighting during World War II- centered squarely on heavy armor.
Book Reviews rowed from other like-minded European airmen, into doctrine for precision strategic bombing especially Hugh Trenchard—wartime and post- during daylight. Although flawed as used during war chief of the Royal Air Force (the only sepa- World War II because of the available technology, rate air force to emerge from the war)—were its implementation ultimately led to the creation well in advance not only of most of his fellow of the US Air Force in September 1947. Finally, Army and Navy officers but also of contempo- we can still readily see the influence of Mitchell’s rary aviation technology and the views of the ideas in current Air Force doctrine and air opera- American public. For the rest of his life, Mitchell tions concerning the use of precision-guided mu- would face similar problems as he continually nitions. The issue, as Hurley notes, was Mitchell’s refined his ideas on the proper and effective use erroneous belief that “the realization of his vi- of airpower and propounded these evolving ideas sion would justify the tactics” (p. 139). to different audiences through different means. Despite the age of Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Other people have seen as sensationalism Air Power, it is still compelling and should be and deliberate controversy Mitchell’s efforts to read by the general public, students, military persuade superiors, fellow officers, Congress, historians, and Airmen alike. My only criticism and the American public on the need for a mod- concerns the appendix, added to the 1975 edi- ern and independent air service that could make tion to bring the biography up to date. I would a distinctive and vital contribution to national defense. By focusing on the origins and continual have preferred that the author integrate its con- evolution of Mitchell’s airpower ideas, however, tents into appropriate chapters of the book Hurley sees them as tactics. For example, the rather than include it as a separate section. bombing trials of 1921 were not just a demon- Dr. Robert B. Kane stration of the ability of airplanes to sink major Eglin AFB, Florida warships. They were also a means to publicize to the postwar, budget-conscious, “moralistic” Con- gress and American public one way airpower could contribute to national defense, as opposed The Army after Next: The First Postindustrial to demonstrating a purely offensive air force. Army by Thomas K. Adams. Praeger Security Moving forward to 1924, the book shows that International (http://psi.praeger.com), Green- the American public, Congress, and new presi- wood Publishing Group, 88 Post West Road, dent Calvin Coolidge were even more focused on P.O. Box 5007, Westport, Connecticut 06881- “normalcy,” isolationism, and budget cutting 5007, 2006, 336 pages, $49.95 (hardcover). than they were in 1921. Now lacking an issue to drive home his airpower ideas, Mitchell resorted The fall of the Soviet Union was a watershed to public accusations and attacks on the failure for the US military. The inexorable shift from of senior military officials to provide an ade- set-piece warfare through a period of global en- quate national defense and then made “progres- gagement into an era of international counter- sively more reckless statements” to keep his terrorism and counterinsurgency wrought seri- name in the headlines (p. 97). According to ous debate within the Department of Defense. Hurley, “Mitchell, instead of recognizing this The history of defense transformation is com- new state of affairs and modifying what he was doing, kept swinging harder until he himself dra- plex. Particularly enigmatic is the chronicle of matized his case w
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