Term of Award

Summer 2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Krista Wiegand

Committee Member 1

Glynn Ellis

Committee Member 2

Robert Pirro

Abstract

This thesis analyzes the air power, coercion, strategic theory, and strategic methodology in the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah War. In state versus non-state actor conflicts, air power's utility is different from state versus state conflicts. The dynamics of coercion also differ greatly from state versus state conflict. Additionally the strategic theories, and the methodologies used to develop these theories differ as well, both in their goals and their utility. By examining the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah war, which is an excellent example of a high-intensity conflict between a very capable state military, and a well-equipped non-state actor, Hezbollah, I analyze the ways in which air power is most useful in state versus non-state actor conflicts, the efficacy of coercion in such conflicts, and the role of strategic theory and methodology in such conflicts. I conclude that air power is best used against material high value targets, and against outside state sponsors of non-state actors, as non-state actors often blend amongst non-combatants, disperse their men and material widely, and are difficult to target with accuracy. I also conclude that the basic logic of coercion used in state versus state conflict is sound, but that the logic is complicated by the non-state actor's reliance on outside powers for war material, meaning that attempts to coerce without applying pressure to the outside power will be unlikely to succeed. Finally I conclude that strategic theory and methodology are of the greatest importance to success, and that the most important factor in both is adaptability. He who adapts fastest often wins in asymmetric warfare.

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