Air defense in the nuclear age: the post-war development of American and Soviet strategic defensive systems.
Eglin, James Meikle
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Part I of this study will examine the evolution of the U.S. active air defense posture between 1946-1966. Active defense shall be defined as those military programs designed to destroy attacking aircraft and missiles after being launched from their bases, plus the associated warning, command, control and communication equipments and organizations. The specific examination of this evolution in Section C of Chapters 1-3 will consider, in turn, the roles and mission aspect (i.e. the organization and definition of air defense responsibilities among the services); the research, development and procurement of the systems themselves; and finally, the deployment of the systems and the operational capability of the overall posture. Accordingly, only minimal attention will be paid therein to other "damage-limiting" programs such as: counterforce offense to destroy pro-launched enemy forces; passive defense measures to reduce the vulnerability of population or property to the effects of delivered weapons; national intelligence programs, and theater force defense. As background for this discussion, Section A of Chapters 1-3 will be a review of the "signals" of strategic offensive capability and intent received from the Soviet Union, e.g., authoritative statements, studies disclosure of new weapons, redeployment of forces, and other less self-conscious improvements in Soviet strategic weapons systems. Section B will then discuss how those signals were perceived in the U.S. and the apparent effect of these perceptions on the developing defensive posture. The principal questions which Part I seeks to answer are (1) to what degree is the evolution of the U.S. air defense explained as a series of actions/reactions in a strategic "dialogue" with the USSR, (2) were there other U.S. factors, biases, and influences which operated to muffle or amplify significantly the reception of those Soviet signals and distort their feedback upon the defensive systems development, (3) to what extent was the evolving U.S. air defense posture be explained as a series of purely domestic bureaucratic decision which bore no perceptible relation to the changing Soviet threat, and (4) what were the values of air defense perceived to be within the context of America's overall strategic deterrence policy. Part II will consist of a similar undertaking -- but in somewhat less detail-- for the evolution of air defense in the Soviet Union between 1946-60/
This thesis document was issued under the authority of another institution, not NPS. At the time it was written, a copy was added to the NPS Library collection for reasons not now known. It has been included in the digital archive for its historical value to NPS. Not believed to be a CIVINS (Civilian Institutions) title.
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