Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Andrew Flibbert


Airpower has a seductive nature to it. Technology promises to be able to destroy or seriously damage an enemy military’s capabilities without serious risk to American forces. Moreover, these knights of the sky have an aura of power with the ability to destroy important pieces of military equipment or infrastructure. Airpower may seem like a niche topic of international relations or American foreign policy, but it represents the opening move of war. Gaining air superiority is the first step in any American engagement as it allows the rest of American military might to be brought to bear. It is also a selective form of engagement. It allows the United States, or any nation-state, to attack only a limited part of an enemy state. It represents the option to engage in a limited war or the opening salvo of a war among major powers. Because it represents an attractive form of intervention, particularly from an American perspective, it needs thorough examination. Any use of American military force has the potential to drastically alter the international arena, so its use ought to be part of a carefully examined strategy that does not merely rely on the destructive power of bombs or cruise missiles.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.