restricted access VI. The Effect of Air Power on the Modification and Limitation of International Armaments [Includes Image Plates]
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VI THE EFFECT OF AIR POWER ON THE MODIFICATION AND LIMITATION OF INTERNATIONAL ARMAMENTS THE rapidly increasing efficiency of the airplane and the submarine gives Us the opportunity to move towards a new limitation of armaments. Both of these implements of national defense are essentially defensive in their nature as distinguished from offensive military arrangements designed for aggression across and beyond the seas. They will cause new economies in national expenditures . For example, more than 1000 airplanes can be built and maintained for the outlay required for a single battleship. Airplanes have a great application in time of peace in useful civil and commercial pursuits. The same airplanes can do this work that are suitable for duty in war and for national defense. In fact all aircraft developments, the factories that make them, the airways that are established for civil aviation and the civilian pilots and crews, are distinct military assets, and can bring in a return in time of peace, thereby re120 Effect of Air Power on Arm.aments 121 ducing the national expenditure necessary in their maintenance if they were kept solely and exclusively for war. In the case of the submarine, the cost of construction , ton for ton, is about equal to that of other vessels. Their size, however, ranges from I 500 tons to 2500, or less than one-tenth of that of battleships and cruisers. Their efficiency in offensive operations on the sea against any other vessel, either on the surface of the water or below its surface, is constantly increasing. The best defense against submarines is other submarines. In case of war at the present day, submarines would be the greatest controlling element on the water of the sea lanes of communication, while aircraft above the water would control communication within their radius of operations. The theory of battleship sea power is becoming obsolescent and should be discarded at an early date. Leaving out of consideration civil, commercial and economic methods of carrying on competitions be.. tween the nations and viewing the military side of international disputes alone, it is entirely practical to make up-to-date appraisal of what modern military forces consist of and what they are actually worth. As long as it was a question of land power and sea power., that is, armies and navies, the matter was well understood because they had been continued and applied for centuries. The variation in their use has been very small and has consisted almost entirely in improving instruments and equipment but not methods. 122 Winged Defense The action of armies and navies on one plane or dimension -that is, on the surface of the ground or the surface of the water-is slow in execution as con1pared to operations in the air. They also require tremendous and expensive organizations for their maintenance and upkeep on account of the great number of men and the vast amount of equipment which they need. The advent of air power has completely changed this. The relations of armies to navies and navies to arnlies are now very different from what they were, while both bear an entirely new relation to air power frotn that which they formerly bore to each other. Even if hostile artnies and navies come into contact with each other, they are helpless now unless they can obtain and hold military supremacy in the air. Air power holds out the hope to the nations that, in the future, air battles taking place miles away from th~ frontiers will be so decisive and of such far-reaching effect that the nation losing them will be willing to capitulate without resorting to a further contest on land or water on account of the degree of destruction which would be sustained by the country subjected to unrestricted air attack. Air power carries out its military missions, con1pctes in battles in the air and attacks ground and water establishments without participation in its conflicts by either armies or navies. A striking thing about air power, also, is that in time of peace military air power n1ay be employed for useful purposes such as n1apping the country, carrying the mails, patrolling again~t forest fires, aids to agriculture in elitninating insect Effect of Air Power on Armaments 123 pests such as locusts and boll weevils, farm surveying', life saving, and an infinite number of other things. No other military formations which the countries possess have such an economic application. From a military standpoint, air power is the only...