The Cold War : The Strategic Air Command ( Sac ) Strategy

1780 Words8 Pages
Detailed histories of each of the established nuclear powers are always welcome. They add to the sparse scholarly record that has depended on a relatively small number of books drawing on declassified documentary records. Edward Kaplan is an associate professor at the US Air Force Academy, and his expertise on US nuclear (atomic) strategy reflects the views of the US Air Force’s (USAF) strategists and their predisposition to air power. Kaplan is reasonably explicit regarding this predisposition. The roles of the USAF, the Strategic Air Command (SAC), and nuclear bombardment in US strategy in the early to mid-Cold War years are discussed early in the book. The USAF and SAC had an actionable strategy for “winning” a war (so long as the other side did not have nuclear capability of its own and a means to deliver it), which is a reflection of the time. Still, I would have liked to see this book set aerial nuclear bombardment debates within the context of what would become ideas of battlefield nuclear weapons as an adjunct to air power—as they developed under President Dwight Eisenhower’s “New Look” strategy of the early 1950s. Interservice rivalry certainly played a part in overall national strategy, both declaratory and operational, as it did in other states, such as Britain and France, but strategic culture also played a part both at the interservice level, within government and treasury debates, and at the foreign policy level. While this complex interplay is present in

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