Breaking air power into six different mission sets--air superiority, aerial refueling, airlift, close air support, reconnaissance, and coercion & interdiction--Weaver assesses the effectiveness of each of these endeavors from the tactical level of war and adherence to US policy goals. Critically, The Air War in Vietnam perceives of the air campaign as a siege of North Vietnam.
While American air forces completed most of their air campaigns successfully on the tactical, operational, and strategic levels, what resulted was not a failure in air power, but a failure in the waging of war as a whole. The Air War in Vietnam tackles controversies and unearths new evidence, rendering verdicts both critical and positive, arguing that war, however it is waged, is ultimately effective only when it achieves a country’s policy objectives.
“Michael E. Weaver offers a detailed, comprehensive and meticulous re-examination of air power effectiveness during the Vietnam War. His fresh approach, shrewd analysis, and insightful research, including newly declassified evidence, demystifies air power’s contribution to statecraft in a war that defied traditional metrics for measuring success and failure. This book is a work of significance and highly recommended.” --Colonel John Andreas Olsen, author of A History of Air Warfare
"Michael Weaver's The Air War in Vietnam is a comprehensive, in-depth, and multifaceted look--strategy, tactics, politics, and technology--at all aerial warfare missions in Vietnam, from interdiction to air superiority, along with supporting operations often not addressed, such as aerial refueling, aerial reconnaissance, and electronic warfare. A well-researched book that uses many recently declassified documents, The Air War in Vietnam is a must-read history for anyone interested in the use of air power in Vietnam." --Col. Eileen A. Bjorkman, USAF (Ret.), author of Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin: A Story of the U.S. Military's Commitment to Leave No One Behind
"The Air War in Vietnam is a welcome comprehensive study of American airpower in this complex conflict. Weaver insightfully connects the tactical to the political and much in between. His well-researched narrative is as deep as it is broad, giving scholars of the Vietnam War and students of the efficacy of airpower a great deal to consider." —William Thomas Allison, Georgia Southern University
"Based on a wide and exhaustive array of documentary evidence, The Air War in Vietnam is as rich in details as it is nuanced in its conclusions. This book is more than a history of US operations in the skies above North Vietnam and across the rest of Indochina; it is an illuminating, thought-provoking, and original assessment of a key aspect of the Vietnam War that has been misunderstood and misjudged for far too long." --Pierre Asselin, author of Vietnam’s American War: A History