- Format: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-2588-0
- Pages: 224
- Price: £20.00
- Published Date: December 2023
We think of precision warfare as a modern invention, closely associated with the Gulf War, the Kosovo Campaign and drone technologies. But its origins go back much further in history.
As historian James Patton Rogers reveals, this quest to achieve precision in war began in 1917, during the early years of powered flight in the United States. This means that precision has been a significant, if not always achievable, feature of American strategic thought for more than a hundred years.
Patton Rogers takes readers on a journey through the twentieth century, highlighting the innovative thinkers of the First World War, the experimental technologies of the Second World War and the surprising Cold War nuclear strategies that made precision the dominant feature it is today. From Russia's offensive war in Ukraine to Libya, Ethiopia and Nagorno-Karabakh, the conflicts of the twenty-first-century are being fought with precision weapons. Patton Rogers answers two enduring questions: why has precision been such a defining feature of US military thinking? And how has this ambition shaped public and military perceptions of war today?
'James Patton Rogers' history of precision warfare is a veritable tour de force, extraordinarily well researched and written in ways that will make it imperative reading for military historians and strategists but accessible and enriching for the public as a whole.'
Sarah Kreps, author of Drones: What Everyone Needs to Know
'Patton Rogers's in-depth historical study shows exactly why precision bombing was far from easy for us to achieve during the Second World War and why it remains difficult today.'
Charles J. 'Chuck' Richardson, Second World War veteran and author of 35 Missions to Hell and Back
'Patton Rogers's book plugs the gap in the historiography of America's development of precision air power, demonstrating how the contested nuclear strategy through the 1950s and 1960s influenced the evolution of America's precision ethos. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of American airpower.'
Christopher J. Fuller, author of See It/Shoot It: The Secret History of the CIA's Lethal Drone Program
'A brilliant, and in places gripping, history of the US military's quest to achieve precision in warfare.'
Theo Farrell, author of Unwinnable: Britain's War in Afghanistan
'A must-read book for those wishing to understand how America has made war for over one hundred years.'
Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, author of The Origins of the Cold War
'The profession of arms has needed this book for a while.'
Peter Roberts, Senior Associate Fellow at RUSI
Prologue: The pursuit of precision
1 Genesis (1917-41)
2 Evolution (1941-45)
3 Continuation (1945-49)
4 Side-lining (1949-50)
5 Replacement (1950-61)
6 Resurrection (1961-91)
Epilogue: The legacies of precision
James Patton Rogers is the Executive Director of the Cornell Brooks Tech Policy Institute at Cornell University. He has been an expert advisor to the United Nations Security Council, UK Parliament and is the NATO Country Director of the Full Spectrum Drone Warfare project supported by NATO SPS.