World War II warfare, where conventional (non-nuclear) air power would be used to "influence" an enemy, not to destroy it.
The "New Look" Air Force
After Korea, President Eisenhower told the JCS that the next war they planned would be nuclear. Conventional capabilities paled before super liquid deuterium bombs such as the Mark 17 (a 41,400-pound thermonuclear device). Only the Air Force B-36 Peacemaker and B-52 Stratofortress could carry the weapon. How to defend America against the Soviet Union's nuclear threat was the question of the day. Brushfire wars would be addressed when they arose, but, so the argument went, they should not occur under the threat of American nuclear retaliation. In January 1954, Secretary of State Dulles unveiled America's new defense strategy―the "New Look." The United States would deter any Soviet attack by threatening to destroy Soviet cities. Commanded by General Curtis LeMay, SAC would expand from 19 to 51 wings, armed with a new generation of smaller, but enormously destructive high-yield thermonuclear weapons. These wings would be placed on constant alert, based around the word, and eventually augmented by KC-135 turbojet Stratotankers to extend their aircrafts' range. In the mid-1950s the major portion of budgetary allocations to the Air Force went to SAC. This specified command, responsible for intercontinental nuclear retaliation, had become "an Air Force within an Air Force."
Besides acquiring such bomber aircraft as the B-52 Stratofortress and B-58 Hustler, the Air Force pursued missile development to support the "New Look." Beginning in 1946, Project MX-774 investigated the development of a 5,000-mile ballistic missile, however, the Scientific Advisory Group, formed by General Arnold, cautioned that atomic bombs were too large for any such delivery system and directed its efforts toward large, unmanned cruise missiles like the Snark. Ballistic missile development lagged until the test of the hydrogen thermonuclear bomb in November 1952 offered prospects of smaller warheads with greater power. Intensive research began in 1954, accelerating in 1956 when the DOD assigned the Air Force responsibility for all ground-launched missiles with ranges of more than 200 miles (later changed to 500 miles). Success with the liquid-propellant Thor and Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs, operational in June 1960 and April 1961, respectively) and Atlas and Titan I intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs, deployed from September 1960 to December 1962 and April to