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October 14 , 2008

The Fog Of War: Effects Of Uncertainty On Airpower Employment


This paper addresses the question: Can fog be identified from past air campaigns and applied to make future air combat more effective? The purpose is to educate the reader on fog and to offer techniques for coping with fog in future air combat. The paper is divided into three sections: Defining fog; presenting examples of fog from the air campaigns of World War II Europe and the Persian Gulf War; and recommending ways to cope with it.
This paper defines fog as uncertainty about the enemy, the environment, and friendly forces. Examples will illustrate these uncertainties so the reader can learn to identify uncertainty in the air combat environment. The paper concludes with an analysis of uncertainty, along with recommendations for coping with uncertainty in the employment of airpower. These recommendations are under the five general areas of technology, leadership, training, experience, and planning.
The author believes that the key to coping with uncertainty is to understand it. Thus, the airpower practitioner needs to know what uncertainty is, what it looks like, and how to avoid it, or at least minimize its adverse impacts.

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