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Donn Starry, Active Defense, and Airland Battle
May 6, 2021 @ 12:00 am
After the Vietnam War, the US Army refocused itself on its primary peacetime mission since the end of the Second World War: the defense of NATO. However, the Army leadership had to face the reality that the US Army was not capable of accomplishing this mission. In 1973, the US Army did not have the trained personnel, the technology, or the fighting doctrine to defeat the Warsaw Pact forces led by the Soviet Union, should those forces decide to invade the West. Over the next fifteen years that situation changed dramatically as the US Army and its NATO allies rebuild their capabilities first to counter a Soviet-led invasion of the West, and by the end of the Cold War, defeat the Warsaw Pact. Central to this rebirth of capability was the US Army warfighting doctrine of “Airland Battle.” General Donn Starry was at the center of the intellectual effort that created the Airland Battle doctrine, and the training programs and technology that enabled it. The effectiveness of the Army’s efforts was a major contributor to the end of the Cold War, and the great allied victory in Operation Desert Storm that followed immediately afterward.
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