Air Force Advising and Assistance

Developing Airpower in Client States

Even though nations have been dispatching air advisory missions to other states for more than a century, this remains an understudied field. Using historical case studies, this book examines these efforts in order to provide a framework for evaluating the challenges and opportunities inherent in such missions.
Date Published :
September 2018
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Edward B. Westermann, Donald Stoker
Series :
Modern Military History
Illustration :
26 photos, 1 chart
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781912390601
Pages : 184
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


The increased focus on counterinsurgency warfare and US nation building efforts after the attacks of 11 September 2001 reignited interest in military advising within military and other government organizations, private think tanks, and defense related contractors. Most studies on the subject, based on the chronological scope and numerical preponderance of ground advising missions, has quite naturally focused on these past efforts. Less attention has been given to air or naval advisory missions. This work seeks in part to help redress this current imbalance by examining a number of historical case studies dealing with air advisory efforts. By examining a number of historical case studies, this volume analyzes the challenges and opportunities inherent in aerial advisory efforts and offers insights into the methods by which such missions succeed or fail. Air advisory missions date almost to the first days of powered flight.

Air advisory efforts have a number of unique elements based on the fundamental role of advanced technology and the extensive resource requirements associated with aviation operations. For example, air advisory efforts are profoundly influenced by the types of aircraft involved and the types of mission flown. Likewise, the issues of maintenance support and the infrastructure needed for these missions plays a key role in determining capabilities available to the host nation. In the case of infrastructure, airfields, fuelling depots, maintenance and repair facilities, and radar and communications equipment offer a few of the most obvious requirements to support flight operations.

The early history of advisory efforts reveal issues that remain relevant today, including questions related to the nature of aerial technology to be shared, the type of training to be provided, and the potential economic benefits that might accrue to the donor nation as a result of the sale of aviation technology to the host country. In many respects, air advisory efforts raise a number of profound strategic questions for the donor nation. Among others, these questions relate to the type of technology to be shared, the nature of training to be given, the role of foreign advisors in operations, the issue of infrastructure development and auxiliary training programs, the preparation of foreign advisors for their duties, and perhaps most significantly the development of the type of capabilities required to address the host nation’s security environment. Via a series of historical case studies, this volume explores these questions and others.

About The Author

Edward B. Westermann is a professor of history at Texas A&M University–San Antonio. A former USAF pilot, he was a Professor of Comparative Military Theory at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell A.F.B. in Alabama and a Professor of Military Strategy at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He teaches courses on European History, the Holocaust, and War and Society. He has been a Fulbright Fellow, a German Academic Exchange Service Fellow, and a Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is the author of numerous publications including Hitler’s Police Battalions: Enforcing Racial War in the East and Flak: German Anti-Aircraft Defenses, 1914–1945. His latest book, Hitler’s Ostkrieg and the Indian Wars: Comparing Conquest and Genocide, was published in 2016.

Donald Stoker was Professor of Strategy and Policy for the US Naval War College’s Monterey Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, from 1999 until 2017. The author or editor of nine other books, his Carl von Clausewitz: His Life and Work (Oxford University Press, 2014), is on the British Army professional reading list. His The Grand Design: Strategy and the US Civil War, 1861-1865 (Oxford University Press, 2010), won the prestigious Fletcher Pratt award, was a Main Selection of the History Book Club, and is on the US Army Chief of Staff’s reading list. In 2016, he was a Fellow of the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford’s Pembroke College. He is currently writing a book on limited war for Cambridge University Press and is the Fulbright Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria.


‘’An increased focus on counter-insurgency and nation building since 9/11 resulted in numerous studies on ground-based advis-ing missions, but less so on air-advisory efforts, say the contributors. They draw lessons from historical case studies related to the role of technology and infrastructure, the training of advisors and more.''

- Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

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