Slessor served as chief of the Air Staff from January 1950 to January 1953, when he retired from active duty. He was promoted to marshal of the RAF in June 1950. He ardently advocated a nuclear-armed, long-range bomber force. After retirement in 1953, he became a commentator on strategic issues and published two books on defense policy, Strategy for the West and The Great Deterrent, as well as an autobiography. He advocated a force structure that included adequate conventional forces but relied on thermonuclear weapons for strategic deterrence against the Soviet Union and tactical nuclear weapons for enhanced firepower in smaller conflicts and theater operations. His concepts were similar to the New Look defense posture of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Slessor died in Wroughton, England, on 12 July 1979.
Jerome V. Martin
Slessor, Sir John Cotesworth. Central Blue: The Autobiography of Sir John Slessor, Marshal of the RAF. New York: Praeger, 1957.; Slessor, Sir John Cotesworth. Strategy for the West. New York: William Morrow, 1954.; Slessor, Sir John Cotesworth. The Great Deterrent. New York: Praeger, 1957.