When Richard Nixon became President he inherited responsibility for the Vietnam War, a long and divisive conflict which strained relations between civilian officials and military officers. Despite the challenge, his first year in office witnessed a steady improvement in the military situation. One suspects that the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff overcame their differences to coordinate a better path forward in Southeast Asia. However, this thesis contends that while the United States experienced a positive shift in the war effort, civil-military relations became increasingly strained throughout 1969. It argues that the primary point of contention originated not from the situation in South Vietnam, but from debates in Washington over the use of airpower. Military proposals meant to expedite the war’s conclusion only damaged the relationship between the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Displeased with his primary military advisors, Nixon gradually excluded them from decision making process.