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Old 04-14-2009   #1
Distiller
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Default Air Force Motorized Jaeger Regiment?

So the Navy has Naval Air and the Marine Corps to reach out beyond its core realm, and carry the fight onto the land and through the air, some elements are even land-based to reach towards the sea (e.g. airborne ASW and patrol).

And the Army has a certain aerial capability to reach ahead, and they should kill West Point and have an Army Air Corps with all the A-10 and intra-threatre aerial transports and all the UAVs they need. They even play a role in the war against the air through their Patriot batteries. And they have a certain limited riverine capability.

In short, with some adjustments those two forces would rule their respective realms AND be able to touch their surroundings.

But the Air Force as an own branch is a problem child since the demise of SAC. CAS would be better at home with the Army (the Marines do their own CAS in any case), strategic airlift is in the hands of TRANSCOM, SOCOM is about to start their own aerial force, STRATCOM has its hands on the nuclear bombing mission and strategic ISR and all things orbital, and everybody is trying to take away the UAV mission. With interdiction alone the day is not filled. No wonder they want to venture into cyber!

But what about an approach similar to the other branches? To reach beyond the core realm? For example into ground combat. With the Air Force Motorized Jaeger Regiment.

In contrast to the Army's air cavalry helicopter force, which is short ranged and limited in scope, and the Army's airborne formations, which besides depending on assets they don't control, are far too heavy, and are basically only capable of waiting for road/rail/river-bound supply once they are inserted (faszinating that the Army still puts "airborne" on whole divisions and even corps), the AF MotYeagReg could be really made light enough for airmobile operations.

In contrast to the other airmobile/airborne formations it could be 100% owned by the Air Force and could be inserted, supported, sustained and extracted by Air Force assets - basically the C-130. The ops area could actually be quite far behind enemy lines, since the units would be light enough to be sustained through the air - General Student's dream, I guess.

UAVs could provide constant ISR ahead and guard the flanks, as well as provide ESM and ECM, Fighterbombers and UAVs could provide support and break heavy restistance, C-130 could continously provide supply and at the end extract the unit again, and fighters could provide air cover. As vehicle to make it "motorized" and give it speed and reach the BvS10 would be an option, plus DPVs and motorbikes (or BMP-3 ). Speed and mobility would be the main weapon - besides 50cal MGs, AGLs, ATGMs, Stingers, 120mm mortars ... (the rear car of the BvS10 is pretty versatile).

Of course such a regiment would have to be very careful around dug-in or armored enemy formations, since it would almost completely rely on fighterbomber air support to clear such obstacles.

Standing up Motorized Jaeger Regiments would give the Air Force a new mission that reaches beyond its core realm, thus balancing it in a sense, like the other branches. It would also give a 3D medium-range opposed forced entry capability to the armed forces that is missing now, since neither AirCav, nor the 3D elements of the MEUs have a very deep reach (MV-22 does not have any meaningful fighting power for conventional forces).

Last edited by Distiller; 04-14-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 04-15-2009   #2
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When I spoke to an Air Force recruiter during high school his opening line was, "We're not Infantry." That was his closing line also.
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Old 04-15-2009   #3
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Default Absolutely no.

Distiller, I think you've unintentionally hit on the Air Force's biggest problem: they don't want to understand their role within the full spectrum of warfare, nor do they want to perform the activities that role requires.

Unfortunately, there is a belief in the AF, never clearly articulated unless you can get some of their officers outside enough adult beverages, that the way to win a war is "bomb 'em till the rubble bounces," then send in the infantry to occupy the ruins. Your idea plays right into that viewpoint.

With respect to the Army entering the AF "realm," the AF made it necessary. I won't go through all the history - it's easy enough to find. I'll summarize it by saying that the reason there is so much Army (rotary wing) aviation is because the AF refused to support emerging Army doctrine and the associated required capabilities. In fact, there was almost an Army fixed wing aviation component: when the AF wanted to get rid of the A-10s in the 1980s, the Army said "Fine, we'll take them." At which point the AF "rediscovered" it's CAS mission.

Unfortunately, the AF idea of CAS is to buy fighters that are "dual capable." In practice, that means buying fighters. The Navy and Marines have a justifiable need for dual capable aircraft. The AF doesn't. Their practice of flying over Iraq in F-16s carrying 500 lb. bombs, then landing heavy, adding wear to the airframes that dramatically decreases service life, and whining that they weren't being given their proper role in COIN, all adds up to a group of people without a clue. Your idea would only affirm their cluelessness.
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Old 04-15-2009   #4
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What Wolf said....
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Old 04-15-2009   #5
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Concur with JW as well. This proposal also ignores the vulnerability of airlift assets as well as any light air-deployed force once it's on the ground.
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Old 04-15-2009   #6
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Concur with JW as well. This proposal also ignores the vulnerability of airlift assets as well as any light air-deployed force once it's on the ground.
You could call it AIR-MECH STRIKE.....
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Old 04-15-2009   #7
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You could call it AIR-MECH STRIKE.....
You could also call it DUMB (Doubtlessly Useless Misuse of Bodies)
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Old 04-15-2009   #8
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You could also call it DUMB (Doubtlessly Useless Misuse of Bodies)
You win.
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Old 04-15-2009   #9
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Well, I was kind of hoping this thread would die a quiet death, but I guess it's not to be.

The bottom line is the Air Force doesn't have any interest in developing a ground force, nor should it have any interest (beyond, of course, small specialized units and SoF) in doing so. The closest you will get is forces for air base or air field defense.

Quote:
Distiller, I think you've unintentionally hit on the Air Force's biggest problem: they don't want to understand their role within the full spectrum of warfare, nor do they want to perform the activities that role requires.
That's a bunch of hooey. The reality is that the Air Force doesn't perfectly conform to what some think the Air Force's role should be within the "full spectrum of warfare." That's a difference of opinion and perception, not fact. The Air Force isn't a subordinate arm of the Army, no matter how much some may wish for it. It therefore has a legitimate say in how best to use air forces in joint operations. It's fine if you disagree with the AF's official view (as many in the AF do), but the sweeping unsubstantiated hyperbole ("whining," "group of people without a clue") gets a little old as do statements of opinion presented as statements of fact.

That the evidence for your point of view is apparently only obtainable from the mouths of a few drunk airmen doesn't help your argument much. Nor does using events that occurred two decades ago. Nor does your completely wrong statements about F-16's landing heavy - that's a serious problem for Marine/Navy aircraft returning to carriers (who often have to jettison ordnance in order to land), not so much for those using airfields.
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Old 04-15-2009   #10
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The idea is not mine, and certainly not new. Just tried to put it into context with the capabilities of the other branches.

The Russians (Soviet's, that is) had/have a whole bunch of their "VDV" formations designed for just exactly that concept, that's what the BMP vehicle series was/is for. And the fact that they lost the Cold War doesn't change their quite sharp minds in military matters and their tendentially clearer conceptual thinking. And if you look into the late years of the German Wehrmacht, they were also thinking into that direction, with Ar232 and Me323.
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Old 04-15-2009   #11
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It there's a second ground army isn't one of them redundant?

Come to think of it, the USMC might want to pay attention to that idea as well. They started life as the Navy's infantry and have more or less morphed into a defacto second ground army. Case in point: SEAL snipers taking out pirates when one of the USMC's historic missions was.....sharpshooters in the rigging.
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Old 04-15-2009   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
You could call it AIR-MECH STRIKE.....
I was waiting for that little bit of sarcasm.

And with the M113A whatever model number it's up to now as the striking vehicle of choice, right?
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Old 04-15-2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
That's a bunch of hooey. The reality is that the Air Force doesn't perfectly conform to what some think the Air Force's role should be within the "full spectrum of warfare." That's a difference of opinion and perception, not fact. The Air Force isn't a subordinate arm of the Army, no matter how much some may wish for it. It therefore has a legitimate say in how best to use air forces in joint operations. It's fine if you disagree with the AF's official view (as many in the AF do), but the sweeping unsubstantiated hyperbole ("whining," "group of people without a clue") gets a little old as do statements of opinion presented as statements of fact.

That the evidence for your point of view is apparently only obtainable from the mouths of a few drunk airmen doesn't help your argument much. Nor does using events that occurred two decades ago. Nor does your completely wrong statements about F-16's landing heavy - that's a serious problem for Marine/Navy aircraft returning to carriers (who often have to jettison ordnance in order to land), not so much for those using airfields.
I'll take the well aimed (and deserved) hit for being blunt and heavy handed in my characterization.

But I'll stand by the substance of my criticism (restated in a more professional manner):

1. AF commitment to CAS is less than whole hearted.
2. The prevailing attitude within the AF is that air power alone can win wars.
3. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that the AF was not being allowed to bring its full capability to bear in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
3.a. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that civilian casualties aren't a negative factor, and may be a positive factor, in COIN.
4. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that the conflict in Iraq would have ended sooner if the AF had been allowed to inflict more damage and casualties.

I may be wrong in my understanding - would certainly not be the first time. At present, I have a poor opinion of their doctrine and attitude. If you can point me to publications or articles that prove me wrong, I'd like to follow up. Regardless of my opinion of doctrine and attitude, the men and women wearing the AF uniform are still our comrades.
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Old 04-16-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
It there's a second ground army isn't one of them redundant?

Come to think of it, the USMC might want to pay attention to that idea as well. They started life as the Navy's infantry and have more or less morphed into a defacto second ground army. Case in point: SEAL snipers taking out pirates when one of the USMC's historic missions was.....sharpshooters in the rigging.
That is a very good point Rifleman.
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Old 04-16-2009   #15
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Default And I want

my own aerial platform that fly in, jump out of and just let it crash where ever it stops. Throw away disposal air platforms for the Army. Oh wait, we tried that once, Gliders. Mine will be better though, they will be self powered and we would actually jump from them, not wait for them to crash.
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Old 04-16-2009   #16
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Default Seems like...

this subject returns every 6 months or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
But I'll stand by the substance of my criticism (restated in a more professional manner):

1. AF commitment to CAS is less than whole hearted.
What do you base this assertation on? The AF developed the JDAM and GPS, both of which have arguably been the biggest revolution in fire support for troops in the field since the airplane. Currently CAS is probably the highest priority mission in the AF, with numerous squadrons training at CAS over their supposed primary missions. Red Flags train extensively on CAS, SCAR, and BAI. The AF is trying to increase the number of JTACs. I am sure there will be a Desert Storm/eliminating the A-10 example given... Much has been made of this. Regardless, the focus of TAC and the tactical AF in the '80s was AirLand Battle... which was the Army's idea. AF doctrine was written with TRADOC... for both services. If TAC had had its way, Desert Storm would have had almost 0 strategic attack and just attempted to pound the Iraqi Army into dust. Didn't happen due to Gen Schwarzkopf choosing a different plan... kinda hard to blame the AF for that and say that CAS isn't a focus. This notion is 20 years behind the times.

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2. The prevailing attitude within the AF is that air power alone can win wars.
The AF attitude is that Airpower is an essential part of the joint force. Air power is a key enabler... without Air Superiority, the Joint Force would have a very difficult time winning any war. You wouldn't be able to get to the fight, you wouldn't be able to use your helos, no CAS, no medevac, no resupply by air. No UAVs... Oh by the way all your lightly armored vehicles would be toast vs. a real air threat...

This doesn't mean airpower can't win a war... some wars it can. Just as Land Power and Sea Power can win some wars. Guess what... we usually do best when we all work together - usually that will mean air power gaining air superiority first, then supporting the other components.

Why folks insist that we shouldn't be allowed to protect them from enemy air is completely beyond me - sometimes it seems like maybe we should go ahead and just do what folks think we do and go play golf rather than trying to keep everyone on the ground safe. I would be curious to see an NTC rotation with realistic red air and no air superiority... once you run out of Patriots, good luck!

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Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
3. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that the AF was not being allowed to bring its full capability to bear in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
What are you basing this on? Arguably the AF didn't bring everything to bear in Iraq... during OIF, due to the FSCL being moved too far. But that wasn't a huge issue... since then I haven't heard anyone arguing we're not being allowed to bring capability to bear. Maybe that some UAV/ISR capability is being wasted by being diluted... but never that we are holding back.

Quote:
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3.a. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that civilian casualties aren't a negative factor, and may be a positive factor, in COIN.
What do you mean by this? Are you really accusing the AF of thinking that civilian casualties are OK? If so this is absolutely ludicrous... The AF arguably goes to greater lengths than any other service to avoid civilian casualties. Do Army folks have to use a computer model of their ordnance effects and consult a JAG before using artillery, mortars, or rockets? The AF does... before EVERY use of kinetic weapons.

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4. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that the conflict in Iraq would have ended sooner if the AF had been allowed to inflict more damage and casualties.
This is also ridiculous. No one I know of in the AF thinks this. OIF is a great example of how to MINIMIZE the damage and casualties to make postwar reconstruction better... show me any other armed service in history that went to the lengths the AF did in OIF to minimize unneccessary damage.

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Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
I may be wrong in my understanding - would certainly not be the first time. At present, I have a poor opinion of their doctrine and attitude. If you can point me to publications or articles that prove me wrong, I'd like to follow up. Regardless of my opinion of doctrine and attitude, the men and women wearing the AF uniform are still our comrades.
From AF Doctrine Document 2-3, Irregular Warfare:

"Large applications of US military force in COIN operations should be limited when possible and forces should perform such roles as restoring order orseizing the initiative."

http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/ser...bs/afdd2_3.pdf

I'm not sure where your sour opinion of AF attitudes and doctrine comes from. The AF is fully comitted to being a part of the joint team across the spectrum of warfare. In addition, the AF is is still trying to maintain some small shred of deterrence against a high-intensity war along with the USN. This allows the USMC and USA to focus a little more on the low intensity conflicts currrently going on while keeping risk low.

I know this forum is fairly ground-centric due to the subject matter, but it seems like there is a sort of group-think when it comes to the Air Force in particular. Every time this topic comes up the same mantra of "the Air Force doesn't care" comes up...

I'd be curious to hear what folks in/recently returned from OIF and OEF think of the current AF attitudes mentioned above.

V/R,

Cliff

Last edited by Cliff; 04-16-2009 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 04-16-2009   #17
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Quote:
This doesn't mean airpower can't win a war... some wars it can.
Didn't we disprove this in Kosovo? Grandiose claims of vast swaths of dead enemy vehicles, shown to be tractors and outhouses once the ground forces arrived?
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Old 04-16-2009   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
this subject returns every 6 months or so.
...
I know this forum is fairly ground-centric due to the subject matter, but it seems like there is a sort of group-think when it comes to the Air Force in particular. Every time this topic comes up the same mantra of "the Air Force doesn't care" comes up...

I'd be curious to hear what folks in/recently returned from OIF and OEF think of the current AF attitudes mentioned above.
I didn't just return from either OIF or OEF but a lot of those guys and I have defended the AF on these 'every 6 months or so' soirees -- you're right, they do seem to come back to haunt us all...

So I'll again defend the USAF and say all your points are valid. In fairness though, I'll also have to say that J. Wolfsbereger's points are valid based on the perceptions that some in the AF have planted. Every thing he says has some validity and that validity is due, I think to the fact that some in the AF have been unduly parochial or community centric in the face of logic and thereby left a bad taste in many mouths.

Strategic bombing has been defended in the past in spite of pretty conclusive proof that it does not work; the USAF did want to avoid the CAS mission and did several times try to dismiss the A-10; USAF aircraft flying CAS in earlier times did fly higher and faster than did some Navy and Marine aircraft doing the job -- that was because of aircraft type and capabilities as much as anything else but it is also a fact that lead to denigration of the AF and which the AF clumsily handled. That is a part of the problem; the AF gets a knock, gets defensive and handles said knock clumsily. Add to that the many procurement problems and an undeserved belief that the AF has an undeserved sense of superiority gets planted.

Thus even though that was then and this is now, you, Entropy and a few others have to come 'round every few months and rise to the defense of that AF as it gets slammed for past transgressions, bad purchasing and equipping decisions and poor PR skills. *

Why can't we all just get along...

* NOTE: ALL the services have, have had and will have similar problems; the Navy's smart enough to ignore the socially lesser mortals, the Marines are astute and energetic enough to counter it, the Army's big enough to ignore it and that leaves the poor AF to have to get defensive. Except you really don't. You guys do okay, just shut Dunlap down... ADDED: He's a smart guy but his excessive parochialism and statements have IMO not done the AF any favors, quite the contrary in fact...

Last edited by Ken White; 04-16-2009 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Addendum
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Old 04-16-2009   #19
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Cliff,

Thanks for the pointer to AFDD 2-3. These stood out:

"In irregular operations, commanders should understand that the application of military force is in support of other instruments of national power ..."

"In addition, operations conducted in such close proximity to the civilian population also present LOAC and ROE challenges."

So you'll understand the source of (at least) my attitude, it's in response to an article by MG Dunlap (that I can't find a link to right now), and the historical attitude of "COIN from the air." 2-3 addresses the latter issue very well.

The issue of AF reluctance in the area of CAS remains.
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Old 04-16-2009   #20
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John,

MG Dunlap speaks for himself and not the USAF. Do some in the USAF share his views? Yes, but many do not, particularly those who've done sandbox rotations in the last decade. Some of those people have written on how the Air Force can better support joint operations, but they don't seem to get the notice that MG Dunlap does. As Ken notes, MG Dunlap makes some valid points in his articles, but they are largely ignored in favor of his more controversial positions.

Quote:
1. AF commitment to CAS is less than whole hearted.
There is some legitimate historical truth to that, but I don't think it applies at all today. Part of the conflict comes from differing viewpoints of how CAS is best provided. I think the Army has come around to the Air Force's view more than the reverse. I think the Air Force has proven that a low-slow aircraft using the Mk1 eyeball for targeting is not necessarily the best way to deliver CAS. One reason for the A-10C upgrade was that it was an inferior CAS platform in many situations because it lacked the capability to guide, deliver and integrate modern precision weaponry. It seems to me many critics of AF CAS don't understand that technology significantly changed CAS and the result is that platform matters a lot less than it used to.

I think we also need to consider training. Bad blood prevented the Air Force and Army from working together on CAS doctrine and training which resulted in poor operations in OEF and OIF. By contrast, the SoF forces, with embedded combat controllers who did a lot of training, performed CAS very well using bombers in the opening stages of OEF.

The fact is that despite what some detractors continue to claim, most USAF aircraft are capable CAS platforms. If we didn't have the A-10, we'd still be providing pretty decent CAS (note: I love the A-10 and don't want to see it go away - it serves important niches). So I think a lot of CAS detractors continue to live in an idealized past where CAS is platform dependent and I think they needlessly point to real or perceived wrongs by the USAF that occurred 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago that don't automatically apply today.

So, I don't think CAS is an issue today at all, based on the AAR's I've read over the past few years. I think most of the Army understands that the AF way of doing CAS, with precision weapons and sensors, is equally good if not better than the idealized vision of a CAS-only platform. In most cases, CAS is not a platform-dependent activity.

Who knows what will happen in the future and it's possible the Air Force will take a wrong turn with CAS, but I doubt it. Either way, we will find out and I, for one, will defend it as an important AF mission. I think the biggest factor will be training. Air-ground coordination is difficult and both services need to put the effort in to maintain, if not increase, the level of proficiency we have now.

Quote:
2. The prevailing attitude within the AF is that air power alone can win wars.
Again, I think this is an historical anachronism. Undoubtedly there are some who believe that, but I think they are a minority. The AF does see it's role as very important, indeed critically important. A lot of ink is spilled debating what element of power is "decisive" or the most important in a particular campaign. I find most of those arguments silly. The fact is that the air, land and naval components are interdependent.

Quote:
3. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that the AF was not being allowed to bring its full capability to bear in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
You'll have to explain what you mean here and provide some evidence. "Full capability?" What does that mean?

Quote:
3.a. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that civilian casualties aren't a negative factor, and may be a positive factor, in COIN.
Totally untrue. There is some hand wringing due to the fact that it's the Air Force that usually takes the blame when civilians are killed despite the fact that 99% of the time it's the land forces that ordered and authorized the strike. There have actually been times when the CAOC overruled the ground commander for fear of civilian casualties. As Cliff says, the AF takes "collateral" damage very seriously, probably too seriously in some cases. The Air Force understands that civilian casualties have a negative strategic effect and try to limit it as much as possible. His comment about lawyers is accurate.

Quote:
4. There was (and I think, still is) an attitude that the conflict in Iraq would have ended sooner if the AF had been allowed to inflict more damage and casualties.
This is something else you'll have to explain and provide some justification. First of all, which conflict? The MCO portion of OIF, or something later?

Ken,

Quote:
Thus even though that was then and this is now, you, Entropy and a few others have to come 'round every few months and rise to the defense of that AF as it gets slammed for past transgressions, bad purchasing and equipping decisions and poor PR skills.
I defend the Air Force against attacks that I think are unwarranted. I think I've said a few times now how completely incompetent AF purchasing/procurement is, and we've both discussed and criticized the Air Force's defensiveness, lousy PR and inability to competently put forth its viewpoint on various matters. There are a lot of cultural and other problems in the Air Force that don't get discussed much because the same sheet of music gets played over and over. I'm not defending any of that, but what I believe are common misperceptions about the Air Force, particularly among Army personnel. Note John's bullet points above. They are all about perception and attitude. If I think the perception and attitude are wrong I'm going to speak up about it.

Let me give you another recent example about perceptions:

A couple of months ago on the INTELST forum a topic came up about this aircraft program. The immediate reaction was quite predictable - shock and anger about the Air Force trying to muscle in on the Army's territory by developing a manned tactical ISR system, one that can't even plug into the AF's big, expensive PED architecture! Everyone bought into their own preconceived notions about the Air Force and it's hidden agenda and thought it was a blatant ploy to grab airborne ISR away from the Army. After a day or two of this, the moderator comes on and tells the rest of the story, which I paraphrase here: This project was forced on the Air Force because the Army couldn't execute it on the SECDEF's timeline.

This is the kind of thing I see all the time Ken - a lot of assumption and jumping to conclusions based on bias and not evidence. The underlying subtext is that there is a hidden agenda at work. I don't think there's anything wrong in challenging those assumptions and what I see as false perceptions and I will continue to do so.
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