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To Kill NationsAmerican Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured Destruction$
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Edward Kaplan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452482

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452482.001.0001

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Finding a Place

Finding a Place

Chapter:
(p.47) 3 Finding a Place
Source:
To Kill Nations
Author(s):

Edward Kaplan

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801452482.003.0004

This chapter examines the air-atomic strategy and the organizational struggles it fueled. The structure for national security policy changed dramatically with the National Security Act in July 1947. “Unification,” as the creation of a single Defense Department was known, created an independent Air Force and placed all three services under the direction of the secretary of defense. This development was bound to annoy a service that coveted its autonomy as much did the Navy. Ominously, not only was the Air Force placed into the security structure as a coequal to the Army and Navy, but it threatened to seize the latter's position as America's first line of defense. The basis of the Air Force's power was the air-atomic idea. It became the central issue around which revolved interservice fights in war planning and budgeting, culminating in the B-36 hearings. The struggle between the two services was one between different and largely incompatible conceptions of national security. The chapter concludes by assessing an event that bridged the early and late air-atomic periods, the Korean War.

Keywords:   air-atomic strategy, national security, defense policy, US Air Force, US Navy, US Army, Defense Department, National Security Act, Korean War

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