Air Power Symposium | Department of History

Air Power Symposium

The MHC has discontinued the Annual Air Power Symposium after seven exhilarating presentations. In 2016 the MHC launched the inaugural War Studies Symoisum. Nevertheless, we wish to thank the generous gift from the Ft. Worth Aviation Heritage Association that made the Annual Air Power Symposiums possible and the Military History Center especially wishes to thank Dr. Peter Lane and General Edmund Rafalko of the Association for their support.

Topics and Speakers:

The Military History Center held the 7th Air Power Symposium Luncheon on 13 May 2015. Our featured speaker was Dr. Michael S. Neiberg of the US Army War College, who gave a presentation titled: "Potsdam: Diplomacy in the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons." Dr. Neiberg is a Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College, where he holds the Stimson Chair of History and Security Studies. Dr. Neiberg was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Educated at the University of Michigan (BA) and Carnegie Mellon University (MA and PhD), he has taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he was awarded the 1999 Outstanding Academy Educator Award, and the University of Southern Mississippi. He has been a Guggenheim fellow, a founding member of the Société Internationale d'Étude de la Grande Guerre, and a trustee of the Society for Military History. With backgrounds in social history, military history, French history, and American history, Neiberg has published widely on the theme of war in the world, especially in the era of the two world wars. His books include Making Citizen-Soldiers: ROTC and the Ideology of American Military Service (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000); The Western Front (London: Amber Books, 2007); The Second Battle of the Marne (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008); Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011); The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944 (2012);The Military Atlas of World War I (London: Amber Books, 2014); and Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe (New York: Basic Books, 2015). Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of War in 1914 was named one of the five best books ever written on World War I by the Wall Street Journal and is available in Turkish and Portuguese translations. The Second Battle of the Marne received the Tomlinson Prize for best English-language book on World War I. The Western Front is available in Swedish, German, and Polish translations. Making Citizen-Soldiers: ROTC and the Ideology of American Military Service was the finalist for the Thomas J. Wilson Prize and named as an Association of American University Presses "Book for Understanding our Times."

The Military History Center held the 6th Annual Air Power Symposium on 12 May 2014. Dr. Bian Williams presented the keynote address: "Predators: A Journey into the CIA's Covert Drone War on Al Qaeda and the Taliban." Dr. Williams is a professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. As an undergraduate, he attended Stetson University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1988. He received his PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic Central Asian History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. An expert on history of the Middle East, he has written a number of books on Afghanistan, the War on Terror and General Rashid Dostum. His articles have been published by the Jamestown Foundation. As an expert in the country, he teaches a course on Chechnya at Umass Dartmouth. His books include: The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation (2001); Afghanistan Declassified: A Guide to America's Longest War (2011); and Predators: The CIA's Drone War on Al Qaeda (2013).

The Military History Center at UNT held the 5th annual Air Power Symposium on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison. Dr. Conrad Crane, Chief of Historical Services at the US Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks discussed the strategic bombing of Japan during the Second World War in a presentation titled "The Cigar Who Brought the Fire Wind." Dr. Crane, one of the foremost experts on the history of strategic bombing, is currently Chief of Historical Services for the Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks. For the previous ten years, he was Director of the US Army Military History Institute. Before accepting that position, Dr. Crane served with the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College from September 2000 to January 2003, where he held the General Douglas MacArthur Chair of Research. He also has held the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Chair of Aerospace Studies at the War College. He joined SSI after his retirement at the rank of colonel from active military service, a 26-year military career that concluded with 9 years as Professor of History at the U.S. Military Academy. Dr. Crane holds a B.S. from United States Military Academy as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. Dr. Crane has authored or edited books and monographs on the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and has published articles on military issues in such journals as The Journal of Strategic Studies, The Journal of Military History, The Historian, and Aerospace Historian, as well as in a number of collections and reference books. His books include: Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario (2003); Avoiding Vietnam: The U.S. Army's Response to Defeat in Southeast Asia (2002); Facing the Hydra: Maintaining Strategic Balance while Pursuing a Global War against Terrorism (2002); Transforming Defense an Era of Peace and Prosperity (2001); American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-1953 (2000);Alternative National Military Strategies for the United States (2000) Bombs, Cities, and Civilians: American Airpower Strategy in World War II (1993) Before leaving SSI, he coauthored a prewar study on reconstructing Iraq influenced Army planners and attracted much attention from the media. In addition, he was the lead author for the new Army-USMC counterinsurgency manual that was released in December 2006 and was named one of Newsweek's people to watch in 2007. At the request of General David Petraeus, he visited Iraq in November 2007 to evaluate the new doctrine in action. In November 2008, he was named the international Archivist of the Year by the Scone Foundation.

The Military History Center at UNT held the 4th Annual Air Power Symposium on Monday, May 7, 2012 at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum. The title of the program was "The Two Faces of Air Power." Dr. Dennis Showalter's luncheon address discussed the application of airpower on both the Eastern and Western Fronts during the Second World War. A professor of history at Colorado College, Dr. Dennis Showalter is a widely recognized expert on military history, focusing primarily on Germany and the United States. His experience includes serving as president of the Society for Military History from 1997 to 2001, and teaching at several service academies, including the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the Marine Corps University. A prolific author, Dr. Showalter's publications include Hitler's Panzers: The Lightning Attacks that Revolutionized Warfare; If the Allies Had Fallen. Sixty Alternate Scenarios of World War II; The Wars of German Unification; Tannenberg: Clash of Empires; The Wars of Frederick the Great; Railroads and Rifles: Soldiers, Technology and The Unification of Germany; and Patton and Rommel: Men Of War in the 20th Century. Tannenberg won the American Historical Association's Paul M. Birdsall Prize for best new book of 1992. Dr. Showalter also received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize in 2005 and the Victor Gondos Memorial Service Award in 2002 from the Society for Military History, and the Clio Award from the Department of History, US Air Force Academy in 2000. Dr. Showalter has served on the academic council of Center for Security Policy and served on the board of directors for the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in 2008, a policy group in Washington, D.C. Dr. Showalter received his B.A. from St. John's University in 1963, his M.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1965, and his Ph.D. likewise from Minnesota in 1969. He was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1991-1993 and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1997-1998.

The Military History Center of the University of North Texas held the 3rd Annual Air Power Symposium on Monday, May 2, 2011 at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum. The title of the program was "Designing an Air Force for the 21st Century." Dr. Grant Hammond's luncheon address traced the evolution of airpower and the transformations the USAF has made by evaluating where we are now, determining where we need to be in 25 years, and speculating on the changes in the character of war for which we need to prepare.


The Military History Center at the University of North Texas held the 2nd Annual Air Power Symposium on 20 April 2010 at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The title of the program was "Wired for War." The luncheon address was given by Dr. Peter Warren Singer, a Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. Dr. Singer is considered one of the world's leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare. He was named by the President to Joint Forces Command's Transformation Advisory Group. He has written for the full range of major media and journals, including the Boston Globe, L.A. Times,New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Current History, Survival, International Security, Parameters, Weltpolitik, and the World Policy Journal. He has been quoted in every major U.S. newspaper and news magazine and delivered talks at venues ranging from the U.S. Congress to over 40 universities around the world. He has provided commentary on military affairs for nearly every major TV and radio outlet, including ABC-Nightline, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBS-60 Minutes, CNN, FOX, NPR, and the NBC Today Show. Dr. Singer's most recent book,Wired for War (Penguin, 2009), looks at the implications of robotics and other new technologies for war, politics, ethics, and law in the 21st century. Wired for War made the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list in its first week of release. It was named a non-fiction Book of the Year byThe Financial Times. The book has been made an official reading with organizations that range from National Defense University to the Royal Australian Navy. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


The Military History Center at the University of North Texas held the 1st Annual Air Power Symposium, titled "Can Air Forces Win Wars," at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth, Texas on 11 May 2009. The luncheon address was delivered by Dr. Brian R. Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan has written more than 100 articles on Italian military, naval, diplomatic, and colonial history, 20th century intelligence history, national security, and intelligence and defense affairs. This program is dedicated to Dr. Walter Hesse, for his vision and commitment to UNT's Military History Center.

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