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Aerial Humanitarian Operations: Delivering Strategic Effects
SCOTT V. DETHOMAS
|Dewey Subject Code:||355|
Full Title: Critical Examination of C-130 Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) Induction Methodology: Determining PDM Intervals
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Aerial delivery of humanitarian relief dates back to 1919 when Army Air Forces delivered aid to flood victims in Texas. Since then, the delivery of aid has become a major element of American military strategy. Historical review of humanitarian operations in Berlin, Iraq, and Afghanistan provides a foundation for understanding the influence of these operations on the attainment of strategic objectives. Through detailed comparison and contrast, the author assesses the strategic effects of humanitarian operations on the overall strategic objectives. The Berlin analysis finds the two closely linked and dependent. Initially used a stopgap measure, the Berlin Airlift evolved into a political tool that contributed to the peaceful negotiation of a potentially volatile situation. Successful delivery of aid allowed more time for other instruments of national power to take effect. In Iraq, the delivery of aid was an afterthought. By the conclusion of hostilities in the Gulf War, thousands of Iraqi Kurds had left their villages seeking shelter along the Iraqi-Turkey border. The American response to a United Nations Resolution authorizing relief for the Kurds was Operation Provide Comfort. Immediate military action included the airdrop of food to refugees along the mountain ranges in northern Iraq. Eventually, the United States strategy shifted to establishing safe havens and the returning of refugees to their original homes. Aerial delivery of aid provided some relief to Iraqi Kurds, but was overshadowed by the successful use of safe havens and the protection provided by the enforcement of no-fly zones in northern Iraq. vii Humanitarian aid delivered in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom presented a unique case of integrated use of instruments of power. Unlike the other examples, American military action in Afghanistan commenced with the simultaneous delivery of aid and bombs. No longer a stopgap measure or afterthought, delivery of humanitarian aid was an integral factor in the overall strategy to defeat the Taliban and win international support for America's global war on terrorism.
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