Operation Instant Thunder By John Warden Essay

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John Warden developed a theory of warfare concerning air campaigns which focuses on targeting centers of gravity using a systems-based approach. Warden drew on past theorists to develop his theory, combining and refining key aspects to form a new approach to air campaigns. The Air Force successfully applied his theory during Operation Instant Thunder, the successful air campaign for Operation Desert Storm. The Air Force incorporated Warden’s theory into doctrine where it continues to influence air operations and planning. Warden’s combination of education and experience contributed to the development of his theory. Warden graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1966, obtained a master’s degree from Texas Tech in 1975, and completed the National War College in 1986. These academic experiences provided a solid basis for theoretical thinking. He flew 266 missions as an OV-10 pilot during the Vietnam War, and later served as the commander of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing. These experiences enabled Warden to understand how theory and plans affect actual units. He also served as the Deputy Director for Strategy, Doctrine, and Warfighting at Headquarters, US Air Force, where his office assisted in planning Operation Instant Thunder. He finished his career as the Commandant of the Air Command and…show more content…
Warden channels Douhet’s statement “to have command of the air is to have victory,” when he re-writes it as “air superiority is a prerequisite for victory and even survival.” Mitchell stated that “the influence of air power on the ability of one nation to impress its will on another in armed conflict will be decisive,” which Warden re-stated as “war can be won from the air.” There are other continuities between Warden and previous theorists. However, Warden’s Five Ring Model and its particular treatment of the enemy as a system makes his theory unique in relation to its

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