Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reading List

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, as the holidays approach us, I want to both thank you for your support of this Association and mention [albeit a bit late] a gift idea for almost anyone in your family – namely books. Every officer, senior NCO, staffer, and civic leader should be on a book-reading program. Most senior officers I know read 2-3 books per month. When I was President of the National Defense University, I read at least one per week. Moreover, junior officers/NCOs should read almost as much.

What should you read? There are lots of ideas, reading lists, etc out there. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force has a suggested reading list (; so does the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( And there are many other good ones.

Since the Air Force Association was chartered by General of the Air Force Hap Arnold to educate the public about Airpower, I decided to put together my own reading list – which is focused on Airpower. I downloaded each of the Service Chiefs’ and CJCS’ lists; reviewed the lists from commandants of war colleges, looked again at Chairman Ike Skelton’s reading list, and many others. Then I emailed 10 or so Airpower experts for their opinion; consolidated all the data and went out to them a second time. No list is perfect, but I think this one provides a starting point and is a list that any serious Airman or Airpower advocate should consider. We have put it on our website at:

Final suggestions for you –

One thing I do is read the Pulitzer prize winners for Biographies and Non fiction every year.

When I was on active duty [early in my career], I received plaques when I transferred PCS. I have found that books – signed by everyone (or perhaps just the leaders) in my unit – make better gifts. Not only do I read them – but they have a special place in my library – long after the plaques have faded, been tossed away, or lost by the movers.

Having a hard time finding time to read? Get up 20 minutes early every morning and read; have a book in a place you know you will spend time; forgo a re-run TV show; Get books on tape if you have a long commute to work; Put a book by your bedside; (I have found Clausewitz’s On War is better than any sleeping pill.) [Just kidding]. You can find the time … but you have to look for it.

My best to each of you this Holiday season. Merry Christmas; Happy Hanukkah; Seasons greetings; and Happy New Year.



Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association


Gerry Hounchell said...

General Dunn,

Great article, incisive, you clearly understand the nature and the need for a strong Nuclear Force, and you addressed the need for a modernized Air Force delivery system.

Myth Seven appears to be key to your arguments: Nations that depend on America to provide a nuclear umbrella will most certainly see a decrease in our nuclear stockpiles as a threat to their existence, and as a result, will build their own, or worse (in my humble opinion), drift toward Russia and China for protection; in either of these cases, the outcome sets America on a course of weakness, and no nation on Earth respects weakness.

America is a defensive minded country; however, the "best defense is a good, second to none, offense". Corny, but true.

A1C Gerry Hounchell (1960-1964)

Unknown said...

Don't wory! This administration won't be satisfied until we are down to one roman candle........