|Abstract: ||Air power has played a major role in unconventional and counterinsurgency campaigns since the advent of the military airplane. How effective is it in these types of campaigns?
I use Pape’s typology of coercive strategic models in conventional war and apply it to
six counterinsurgency campaigns since the Second World War. I then assess each
strategy’s effectiveness in the conflict. Two trends emerge: strategies have shifted over time from those targeting supporting elements (logistics, mobility) to strategies directly targeting insurgents in combat; at the same time, air power has become less
strategically effective. I examine three drivers for these trends: new technology making close air support missions technically feasible, doctrinal changes providing a military logic supporting these missions, and societal factors encouraging the replacement of ground forces with air strikes.|