restricted access XI. Conclusions
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XI CONCLUSIONS The development of air power has forced a complete reorganization of all the arrangements for national defense. The rapidity and sureness of electrical communication all over the world make it possible to combine the use of all the elements entering into national defense in a l11anner inlpossible of acconlplishnlent heretofore. The influence of air power on the ability of one nation to inlpress its will on another in an armed contest will be decisive. Aircraft of certain classes are now able to traverse the air all over the world no matter whether they be over the sea or over the land. Consequent upon this, the mission of each branch of the national defense must be clearly stated and its powers and limitations thoroughly understood in order to combine its action with the other branches to insure the maximum effect. Before the coming of air power, the national defense elements consisted of land po\ver and sea po\ver. At that time, all operations over the sea were assigned to the Navy. Everything on or over the land was 214 Conclusions 21 5 assigned to the Army. There was a little overlapping of duties between these services immediately along the coasts, but this was not a serious proposition. Now, however, air forces operating from land bases can control the surface of the sea and the air over it up to their operating distance from the coast. . Within that distance a navy no longer has the paramount interest . Therefore the Navy's mission so far as coast defense is concerned, has ceased to exist and its mission must be beyond the zone of aircraft activity. The land organization of a navy for coast defense and the land establishments incident to it can be dispensed with. The money and effort heretofore put into these should now be placed in air defense organization . The mission of land power and the army will remain very much the same. The modifications necessary will consist largely in concentrating gun power around the major units of infantry and giving them their maximum mobility. Coast artillery, except at points that can be affected by gun fire from submarines, has become superfluous and the money and effort put into this should be transferred to air power. Air power, however, must be assigned a definite n1ission in its particular sphere of activity. This mission should be the responsibility for the complete air defense of the nation. Without a mission of this kind being specifically prescribed, the aeronautical effort of the country will be dissipated between the land, water, and other services, so that maximum efficiency cannot be obtained. 216 Winged Defense All of the great countries of the world are now organizing their air power for striking their adversaries as far away from their own countries as possible, whether the enemy be in the air, on the water, or on the land. This policy is adopted so as to make the home country free from the interference of hostile forces by keeping the fighting at a distance from the frontiers or coasts. The underlying principle in the organization of air power is the creation of an air force capable of the greatest radius of action practicable under the conditions limited by personnel, material, and armament. Next in the air force in order of importance is the organization of certain local air units destined for the protection of extremely important centers of po\ver. The City of New York serves as an example of a locality of this kind. Such local defense units should combine all means and methods used for defense against aircraft, both in the air and on the ground. Third, in order of importance, are the auxiliary air units assigned to military organizations in the air, on the water, and on the land. This class of air unit, ordinarily, is called observation aviation. Like all auxiliaries, it should be cut down to the lowest point commensurate with the efficiency. Therefore, in the organization of our air power we should consider: I. The air force. 2. Local air defense units. 3. Auxiliary air units. Conclusions 2 17 Two and THREE, in addition to their other duties, should be trained to assume the offensive. The system of command of military air power should consist in having the greatest centralization practicable. An air force now can move from one to two thousand miles within twenty-four hours. Military elements on the land or water can move only a fraction of...