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Document created: 1 March 05
Air & Space Power Journal - Spring 2005

Effects-Based Airpower for Small Wars

Iraq after Major Combat

Col Robyn Read, USAF, Retired


Editorial Abstract: The US military has tended, in the past, to focus on large-scale warfare. Though we must preserve and sustain this capability, the preponderance of our efforts in the foreseeable future will more likely fall into the lesser arenas of “small wars.” The Cold War fallacy of the “lesser included case” has never been clearer—small-war demands are generally different from those of major combat. Frequently, they are unique. We need to examine our current equipment and doctrine to ensure that the necessary tools for small-war activities are available to commanders.


The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose.

—Carl von Clausewitz, 1780–1831

In Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), there can be no doubt that the combined strengths of coalition airpower were a devastating force during the “organized” phase of the Iraqi defense. Not only did the Iraqi leadership decline to employ their air force, they miscalculated coalition capabilities and the speed of their advances—again and again. In the initial stages of combat, the coalition used its advantages in leadership, training, and technology to expose the types of strategic gaps in the Iraqi defense that would make almost any opponent seem unprepared. Moreover, with few exceptions, the Iraqis compounded these coalition advantages—through ineptly conceived actions and inactions—resulting in a singularly incompetent performance at the operational and strategic levels.1 One of many such examples was the Iraqi attempt to reposition major units during an unusually fierce and blinding sandstorm. Imagine the dismay, confusion, and destruction when the maneuvering Republican Guard divisions discovered that coalition airpower could see not only in the dark but also through the false security of the covering sandstorm.

In the aftermath of major combat, there has been an increasing disparity between airpower’s traditional vision of a “kinetic kill” and the remaining effects to be achieved. As a result, airpower’s role in Iraq and Afghanistan—or perhaps more specifically, airpower’s contributions to the effectiveness of the coalition campaign—should be discussed in relation to the actual phases of each campaign to avoid overly positive or negative assessments. In OIF, for example, airpower’s overwhelmingly successful contributions in phase three have contrasted sharply to airpower’s relative disuse in phase four (or “phase three plus” as it has been called).2

Airpower can do far more than destroy a particular target—it can profoundly influence the human condition. Through selective engagement, airpower can support a recovering population; encourage one element while discouraging another; monitor, deter, transport, and connect; and assist in establishing the conditions for a safe and secure future. These applications are not limitless in number, but there are literally dozens of potential uses for airpower that involve a broad operational spectrum including everything from kill and destroy to build and sustain. In a very broad sense, airpower can be grouped into two categories—destructive action and constructive action. The destructive uses of airpower are well known; however, it is the constructive side that lacks the recognition in doctrine, compatible force structure, and employment planning tools to make it as useful in our efforts as the destructive side. The difference in the two actions is largely dependent upon the effect desired—that environmental condition or enemy behavior sought—after the operation is completed. Effects-based operations (EBO) capitalize on this difference by embracing the political end state as the driving guidance in all endeavors. In short, highly efficient methods in the short term may or may not effectively contribute to long-term accomplishments that lead to the desired end state—planners must ensure that each mission supports the strategic goal. Airpower will not, rather cannot, fully support a coalition’s desired end state until this dichotomy of focus in doctrine and understanding has greater balance. This article provides a short examination of EBO and then uses application-style illustrations of EBO with OIF as the principal scenario to show how airpower might have been used differently in OIF and how it might be used still differently in the future.

EBO continues to evolve as an organizing concept for military endeavors. Fortunately, there are several good sources for developing an understanding of EBO.3 But because it is still evolving, EBO retains identity more as a mind-set, a way of thinking, or as an organizing framework rather than an intricately designed and lockstep planning cycle. EBO is most certainly not a checklist. Rather, it is a flexible and loosely adaptable process of affecting linkages within a system to achieve a predictable new behavior or condition. These linkages in most system-level environments are generally temporal in nature, which makes situational awareness (SA) the principal limiter and greatest enabler, when conducting EBO. This means that understanding when and how second-order effects are propagated in the targeted system can be very dependent on the currency and depth of one’s real-time understanding of the real-world target. Buying into preformed box-set solutions can have disastrous consequences in complex-dynamic environments.

For OIF, Saddam Hussein’s iron grip on Iraq was well known and his personality and cultural imperatives were well documented. Although his prewar statements may not have rivaled Winston Churchill’s for their oratory, there was enough evidence to predict the subsequent refusal-to-surrender environment that followed the major combat. The coalition’s prewar-textbook focus on defeating the Iraqi military left a gaping hole in plans for a protracted counterguerrilla campaign in such an environment. The belated transition to nonlinear and counterguerrilla operations and stability-driven objectives was the product of that incomplete vision. Even today, the full character of the enemy remains unknown. There does not appear to be either a national or even a regional leadership structure or organization that would lend itself to some nodal analysis or other center-of-gravity type process, and there is no single-enemy structure for logistics that might be susceptible to interdiction. Rather, the consequence of Saddam’s refusal to surrender has been an atomized resistance to the coalition forces—numerous disparate groups and cells with common goals rather than a structured enemy with unified direction. Additionally, many individuals and groups have temporarily emerged and then disappeared or merged with other factions, thus stifling coalition opportunities for a substantial, long-term appreciation of their methods and operational styles. Since unity-of-effort styles of coordination and irregular associations for combined effect do not generally conform to patterning or prediction, the operational and strategic enemy has been largely invisible. In a practical sense, only the tactical is visible to coalition planners, yet insight into the tactical does not necessarily lead to actionable higher-level insights regarding the insurgency.4

Planning assumptions for such an environment must accommodate decades of state-sponsored indoctrination; state-controlled news; few unapproved international contacts or influences; and highly regimented, state--directed societies in which people are conditioned to expect that all decisions will come from the highest leaders. This is not the type of culture in which initiative, experimentation, freethinking, and an ambition to improve the process are met with enthusiasm. And these are not paradigms or cultures with which we are familiar.

Failure to understand the implications of such a fully regimented society in Iraq led the United States to falsely assume that the various service ministries would continue to function after the most senior Baathist leaders were removed. Instead, these centrally controlled and directed bureaucracies collapsed. None were able to function effectively without the established hierarchy of tight control. Airmen as well as soldiers and sailors need to consider such environments in detail and create viable options for the coalition force commander.

So what can airpower do for the campaign when “kinetic kill” comes off the table? The answer—really the operational art in EBO—is about finding and pursuing the path of least resistance to the political end state, caveated with a planner’s full understanding that least resistance must successfully contend with collateral effects, unintended consequences, legal and moral restraints, and the well-being of the coalition’s aggregate interests in the endeavor. EBO provides a functional yet flexible framework for thinking about this problem, or more correctly, this problem set.

Some obvious operational limits (fig. 1) have historically reinforced a general reluctance to fully embrace EBO. This has been especially so for those war fighters locked into the sort of “if-then” mentality that craves a -single decisive engagement, one strike to smash the enemy center of gravity, or a single strike on the one critical node in some system-of-systems. If it were ever true, the idea of identifying that one critical card in the enemy house has certainly evaporated in all current examples of military operations. Focusing on such linchpin concepts (or even some “tactical end state”) is not wrong in itself; however, this tends to expand operations into areas where events can be measurably tracked and reported, or into areas where some current capability is most useful regardless of whether the results of that particular operation can be traced to the achievement of national and coalition objectives. Further, war fighters tend to be drawn to these tactical levels where they are engaged directly with the enemy—there is a real sense of accomplishment in seeing or receiving immediate feedback. The danger is in losing sight of the actual end state, effect to be achieved, or what the military was sent to do in the first place. Symptoms of such diversions can often be found in the style and type of reporting—enemies killed, tons of munitions expended, hours flown, patrols or convoys completed—data which explain fighting but not winning.

Figure 1. Knowing "EBO jargon" is no substitute for the hard work involved in understanding linkages in EBO. Much, perhaps most, of the value in EBO lies beyond direct "first-order" effects.

Figure 1. Knowing “EBO jargon” is no substitute for the hard work involved in understanding linkages in EBO. Much, perhaps most, of the value in EBO lies beyond direct “first-order” effects.

EBO accepts the imperfect knowledge of the operational environment but strives to miti-gate its effects by demanding continuous assessment. This has the near-term effect of emphasizing SA as the driving force in decision making rather than prepared databases. Further, EBO attempts to keep the war fighters’ focus on the political end state, which is the only end state that matters. Figure 1 is very much a simplified version of what it could be, and each of the six issues presented might just as easily have been shown as interrelated to, or as a subset of, some other issue. Unlike program evaluation review technique (PERT) charts5 or even strategy-to-task frameworks6 which assume a degree of control over milestones and prescribed—perhaps even linear—paths to success, EBO requires planners to combine an in-depth understanding of what they are attempting to achieve with an in-depth understanding of available capabilities, and a keen and current awareness that enables them to recognize opportunity, risk, and change in fleeting environments. Preferred paths exist; however, EBO planners are intensely aware that today’s dynamic and politically charged environment may invalidate one preference and create another in the space of a single headline. One constant remains: the object of EBO is never the next milestone or the next target on the list; rather, the object of EBO is always the political end state. Because of this, EBO is principally concerned with understanding linkages rather than destroying some individual target. Focused assessments and an operational pattern that sustains a high SA are clearly techniques to mitigate the effects of these system frictions.

In OIF, the enemy’s desired effect cannot rationally be the defeat of coalition forces militarily—but that hardly matters. A historic truth remains valid today: war is politics. There is no such thing as military victory; there is only political victory. For the anticoalition forces in Iraq—given their willingness to kill innocents and on occasion themselves—the range of targets open to political effect is far greater than a traditional nodal analysis might suggest. In this circumstance—given initiative and sanctuary—time tends to favor anticoalition forces at the tactical level; however, if progress continues towards a reconstructed Iraq, time favors the coalition at the strategic level. Thus, control of time could be the key operational effect desired in OIF during this phase, perhaps the one critical aspect in the operation that so many are looking for. There is historic precedent for this frame of reference.

In 1948 and 1949, the Soviets blocked all land-route access to Berlin. The blockade was illegal according to treaty, but the United States was unwilling to enter a shooting war to clear a path to Berlin. The United States and allies were equally unwilling to cede Berlin to the Soviets. The Soviets’ objectives were fairly clear as well—they wanted the ongoing economic consolidation stopped in western Germany. They coveted all of Berlin for themselves. It was clearly a test of wills between East and West. The airlift was an incredible success, as was the Army-led logistical miracles at each end of the air bridge in gathering and distributing the cargo. The success of these operations led to the Soviet capitulation. This coalition military operation did not clear a single roadblock in any direct manner, but by sustaining the flow of food, energy, and other staples for month after month to the Berliners, the airlift provided diplomats the critical time necessary for their political actions to succeed. Similarly, airpower in OIF today needs to find “time” for the new Iraq to succeed.

So, what exactly can airpower do? What actions can airpower take that will extend the time available to establish a new Iraqi government and create an enviable future for the Iraqis? There are plenty of potential answers, but each must be vetted using its effectiveness as a contributor to the end state—rather than its efficiency in hitting a particular target, moving short tons, or delivering bandwidth. One possible course of action is looking at the security problem from a theater perspective rather than considering how to secure one village or one convoy at a time (which leaves all of the unsecured villages and convoys as politically viable demonstrations of the government’s weakness). What campaign-level airpower options are available to increase security across the theater? What can airpower do to increase the time available for diplomatic, political, and economic agendas to take hold? One option is to saturate the airspace above Iraq’s worst areas—with Iraqis.

Getting the Right Tools

The illustration that follows is not a panacea for problems in OIF; however, it does suggest that there are different ways to approach the OIF political end state. It begins with the assumption that Iraqi nationalism is a force in OIF (as is religion, culture, etc.). The perception of America as an invader and occupier significantly inhibits our ability to complete our mission. It contaminates those with whom we would work, and it forms a bond of common effort among those who traditionally would never collaborate. It justifies actions and inactions that would not normally be tolerated in Iraqi society, and it creates a friction at the strategic level that is stagnating progress towards a new and legitimate Iraq. One solution that would have positive ramifications in all of these areas is to accelerate reinstatement of the Iraqi air force as a viable partner in the defense of the new Iraq. Such an action would provide momentum for changing Iraqi perceptions of the United States from occupier to ally and increase legitimacy of the Iraqi central government both internally and externally. Near-term effects from that reinstatement would also include all or most of the following: a smaller in-country sanctuary for antigovernment forces; decreased popular support for antigovernment forces (including those that were simply -government-neutral and thus tolerant of the insurgents); a smaller US fingerprint on Iraqi internal security; and greater security along Iraqi borders and internal pipelines.

A practical first step in this reinstatement process is to establish sector-specific forward air controllers (FAC) for the top 12 to 15 “hot spots” in Iraq with round-the-clock coverage. The actual implementation of such a concept would have to come in stages, since frankly, the Iraqi air force is not ready, and the US Air Force does not have the ready assets to fully put into practice the ideas that follow. The critical core capability does exist, however, within the US Special Operations Command, specifically, the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) within Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Though limited in number, these combat aviation advisors (CAA) have the requisite language and trainer skills to lead the way; furthermore, they are acutely aware of the cultures in which they operate and can avoid the natural pitfalls to which an untrained American would be susceptible. The first products of such an implementation would be dramatic improvements in SA; significantly reduced reaction times; and ever-present, on-scene “eyes for the commander.”

Sector FACs, using two-seat aircraft, would be assigned to the various hot spots in Iraq. Finding or predicting these critical junctions has not been a problem in the past; keeping them covered, however, has. Initially, there may be only CAA crew members in the cockpit, but this is simply a very short transitory stage while the CAAs validate training and system concepts. Using the North American Rockwell (now Boeing) OV-10D Bronco as a sample or baseline platform, the Iraqi participation begins with a CAA pilot in the front seat and an Iraqi sensor operator/communicator in the backseat. This would be followed with the CAA crew member in the backseat and the Iraqi air force pilot in front, and finally an all-Iraqi crew.7 A critical weakness at this time, however, is the relatively small number of Arabic-qualified CAAs in the 6th SOS. The phased approach maximizes their training values; minimizes the transition time for building a credible Iraqi air force; and provides for an individualized, hands-on, and performance-based transition, rather than a schoolhouse approach to numbers production. Since every graduate must assume an immediate and critical combat role, the CAA approach is clearly the preferred method. Additionally, an all-Iraqi response to any trouble spot begins to positively contribute to the rationale presented above, and earlier is clearly better than later.

Looking Beyond the
Immediate Future

Why is the OV-10D a good example platform? It can be fitted with a state-of-the-art sensor; it has good survivability in low-threat environments and has excellent characteristics for this mission (range, speed, persistence, adaptability, and weapons/cargo payloads); and it has a substantial power advantage over the OV-10A and can operate from forward/ rugged environments. Additionally, the Bronco is relatively easy to fly and maintain and logistically simple to sustain. In short, the OV-10D is a very doable platform. These aircraft are also well suited to support Iraq’s reintroduction into the Gulf community of nations—an Iraqi fleet of OV-10s cannot be viewed as a credible threat to neighboring countries.

From the intial sorties with a 6th SOS CAA pilot and an Iraqi sensor operator/communicator, the sector FACs can fly four-to-six-hour missions dedicated to border security, pipeline patrols, convoy escorts, and nontraditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. With an Iraqi communicator in the air talking to an Iraqi army communicator on the ground (in a convoy, pipeline quick-reaction force, or foot patrol), the operational environment changes dramatically and immediately—Iraqis talking to Iraqis about defending Iraq. This is a major change from Iraqis talking about the American invaders who are occupying their country and killing their countrymen.

Sector FACs would create an environment of constant monitoring, thus enabling the crews to become intimately familiar with their zones of interest. In such a scenario, abnormal activity becomes an indicator as much as overt enemy action. This enhanced SA allows for warning or intensified scrutiny on the part of commanders. For example, if every day the FAC sees farmers working with animals in a specific area, children playing at certain spots, or people gathering at a particular market, the FAC has established a personal baseline for a sort of “traffic pattern analysis.” On the day that these normal indications are missing, the FAC will immediately recognize the change and begin to search for reasons. An empty field for a sector FAC can be a critical trouble indicator; however, an empty field for a routine ISR mission is likely to be interpreted as just that—an empty field.

While sector FACs are likely to improve SA for the coalition and the new Iraqi government, the addition of an Iraqi crew member to the mix vastly increases the potential of this asset. Ideally, the Iraqi crew member would be indigenous—that is to say, not only from the specific assigned sector but an Iraqi who stayed during Saddam’s regime. Using local assets immediately enhances the team knowledge of unique local circumstances and establishes a legitimate connection with the people of that region. Using outsiders—from another region, tribe, religion, or sect—offers the possibility of rival values, revenge, or simple indifference to local priorities and customs. The same could be said for returning expatriates. Additionally, they face the possibility of encountering a different sort of friction from locals who lacked the resources or opportunity to escape Saddam’s Iraq.

A properly equipped aircraft would also include loudspeaker capability allowing the crew to communicate directly with people on the ground.8 This could be part of a planned public affairs or information operations (IO) broadcast that results in a direct, nonlethal intervention or interaction with the local population. The scenarios where this might be useful are almost limitless. Any unusual crowd would draw the attention of the sector FAC. For example, if a number of men gathered in a plaza at 0200 carrying small arms and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, using the loudspeaker would provide the opportunity to suppress or diffuse this event before it became newsworthy. The object is to gain time for the new government to solidify and establish itself. Attacking this crowd could have just the opposite effect. Using an IO-approved tactic, the FAC might be able to cajole, threaten, or persuade this crowd to delay their venture for a day, a week, a month, or permanently. The immediacy of the intervention magnifies its effect. The onboard sensor can also be used to record the event to justify lethal actions that become necessary later, or could be reconstructed as a narrated IO asset for other venues. However, if the preferred suppression technique does not work, the FAC can still transition and mark the target for destruction. In much the same way that military police are taught to push first and then shoot, the Air Force needs to explore all alternatives before deciding on which size Joint Direct Attack Munition to drop.

Equipping the aircraft to enhance support for coalition ground forces is also necessary. Radio and sensor-feed relays via the sector FAC would provide greater flexibility and SA to a ground force. While it would be prohibitively expensive to equip each aircraft with every sensor package, it makes sense to equip the aircraft with a package that can relay the onboard sensor and selected off-board feeds (e.g., Predator, Global Hawk, or other imagery) to the ground force.9 The sector FAC’s platform could also act as an automatic radio relay for the ground force by providing assured communications and sensor-feed links. Ground-force packages could be tailored to be lighter and would be capable of quicker reaction.

The OV-10 is well suited for its classic role as a FAC, but new technology has created new opportunities to enhance that traditional role. The combination of a global positioning system (GPS) and a linked-laser designator with today’s advanced communications could provide near-real-time inputs to time-sensitive planning or intelligence preparation for the region in question. Today’s technology -(forward-looking infrared [FLIR], blue-force trackers, laser designators, GPS, satellite-based communications, helmet-mounted reticules, etc.) could give even routine missions significant value.

There is no substitute for SA. With repeatable data, exact coordinates, supporting imagery, and familiar references, it makes the data more transferable; that is, exact locations generated by the laser-GPS combination can ensure that similarly equipped aircraft or ground troops will find exactly the same point of reference. The ability to transfer this advanced SA is a unique technological advantage. This is particularly important in nondescript terrain and especially so in an urban environment where combatants and noncombatants are frequently intermixed. In Iraq today, a high degree of confidence in sorting potential targets is critical and all too often missing. The coalition faces an evolving mix of terrorists, criminals, and members of the former regime who use indiscriminate violence to intimidate the population and targeted force to undermine the civilian government. Every engagement is potentially media fodder for antigovernment forces; therefore, every step must be taken to avoid simple errors that discredit the new government or the coalition.

At least initially, the coalition was particularly remiss in the arena of IO. Its largely reactive efforts generated distrust and failed to alienate the enemy from the population. However, sector FACs with suitably equipped aircraft could provide commanders with another opportunity to counter the success of antigovernment forces in this critical area. As an example, consider the car bomb that exploded last year at a police recruiting station. Seemingly only moments later, Iraqi “eyewitnesses” were providing detailed accounts of the missile attacks by American warplanes.10 The extended time lapse between the alleged missile-attack and the coalition rebuttal ceded all initiative—and victory in this battle—to the enemy. The expected coalition denials simply fed local belief that the coalition in general or Americans in particular had something to do with the blast. At the very least, the coalition was to blame because it had not prevented the attack. Since this locale had been previously identified as high risk, an assigned sector FAC with real-time streaming video narrated by an Iraqi crew member just might have been of value in mitigating the disastrous perceptions engendered by the television broadcast.11 At a minimum, the OV-10 could have broadcast the truth to crowds present—a car bomb had exploded.

The intent of this discussion and these examples is not to illustrate the value of fielding a 40-year-old aircraft for small-war environments. It is intended to show that EBO provides a valuable framework for ensuring that airpower is working up to its potential at the tactical and operational levels of war (as guided by the political end state). The ramifications are far reaching. In Iraq, we have the potential to meet coalition objectives and shorten redeployment times by allowing Iraqis to take the lead in establishing and maintaining internal order. This proposal also provides for a theater perspective on security that potentially eliminates the “balloon effect” of closing down one insurgent area only to have another expand into a crisis. Further, by using a “leave-behind” aircraft like the OV-10, we can provide Iraq with a strong internal capability without jeopardizing external relationships. Finally, creating a long-term use of US equipment has also historically created a long-term relationship in training, supply, and doctrine.

In some future period, these same dilemmas might be anticipated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Should hostilities ever commence—given the current DPRK leadership—there is no compelling reason to expect an organized surrender there either. Thus, at some point in phase III of that conflict, well over one million DPRK combatants may choose to “go to ground.”12 However, as in OIF, the fierce combat envisioned for that war (should it ever occur) leaves little emphasis or time for the small war or constructive planning scenarios in the extended postmajor combat phase potentially on the horizon. Security aside, the humanitarian disaster awaiting such a war is nearly irreversible—famine will be the order of the day in the North. In a noncombat environment, importing and ensuring distribution of that much food and medicine would be a monumental, yet hopefully achievable, task. In a combat environment, near-combat environment, or postmajor conflict environment, the same task expands dramatically in complexity and purpose and may ultimately face insurmountable odds. Millions of people would suffer.

The DPRK is not Iraq; however, the problem is the same—Airmen understanding how to employ airpower in every phase of conflict. The perennial fallacy of the “lesser included case” has never been clearer. The ability of the United States and its coalition allies to fight and win large force-on-force engagements does not mean that these same forces and strategies can fight and win in the small wars. Sector FACs are only one way in which coalition airpower in OIF can improve its contribution to the political end state. Similar arguments might be made for a reorganized fighting concept for AC-130 gunships or modular gunships assigned to Air Combat Command rather than AFSOC or tethered sensors or any of a host of other innovative configurations. Every operational environment will be different, and Airmen cannot choose to fight in only one phase of war. They must use their expertise, combat capabilities, and unique understanding of airpower to engage and win whenever and wherever called.

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1. Tactical engagements cannot be so glibly reduced. Combat at this level is intensely personalized by the individual soldiers involved on both sides, by individual and team histories and experiences, and by the very specific conditions of the combat environment at that exact moment in time. Some firefights were very intense; even so, no Iraqi military action contributed to a change in the coalition’s strategic end state.

2. Figure III-4, “Phases—Joint Campaign,” in Joint Publication 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations, 10 September 2001, http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/new_pubs/jp3_0.pdf, depicts the four phases as follows: phase one: deter/engage (crisis defined); phase two: seize initiative (seize initiative, assure friendly freedom of action, and access theater infrastructure); phase three: decisive operations (establish dominant force capabilities and achieve full-spectrum dominance); and phase four: transition (establish civil control and rule of law; redeploy).

3. For example, Edward C. Mann III, Gary Endersby, and Thomas R. Searle, Thinking Effects: Effects-Based Methodology for Joint Operations, CADRE Paper no. 15 (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, October 2002); Edward A. Smith, Effects Based Operations: Applying Network Centric Warfare in Peace, Crisis, and War, Information Age Transformation Series, vol. 3 (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Command and Control Research Program (CCRP)], November 2002); and Christopher Finn, ed., Effects Based Warfare (Wiltshire, England: Defence Studies, Joint Doctrine and Concepts Centre, 2004).

4. Even the tactical is only fleetingly visible since the anticoalition forces (and insurgencies in general) retain the initiative. Not only can they pick the time and place of attack, but they can postpone an attack until other conditions are favorable. “Sappers” in Vietnam, for example, never took an approved target off of the list—they simply waited until conditions were favorable.

5. A PERT chart is a project-management tool used to schedule, organize, and coordinate tasks within a project. A similar methodology, the Critical Path Method (CPM) developed for project management at about the same time, has become synonymous with PERT. The technique is known by any variation on the names: PERT, CPM, or PERT/CPM. Whatis.com, http://www.whatistechtarget. com/definition/0,,sid9_gci331391,00.html.

6. The Strategy to Task Technique (STT) is an approach used to develop low-level, often system-specific, requirements for a system or capability through a process of decomposition. The approach, which is often implemented by using the Quality Function Deployment technique as an enabler, begins by utilizing high-level statements of requirement, typically national strategic goals, and then mapping responses against these requirements. Michael R. Bathe and Jeremy D. Smith, “A Description of the Strategy to Task Technique and Example Applications,” Journal of Battlefield Technology 5, no. 1 (July 2002): 32, http://www.argospress.com/jbt/Volume5/5-1-5.htm.

7. The OV-10D is an illustration, not a recommendation, and was chosen to avoid diverting the article into a comparison of current or “modern” aircraft. OV-10D strengths and weaknesses do make a good baseline for comparing any future aircraft considered for such a mission.

8. The OV-10 can routinely operate at slow speeds (e.g., 100 knots). But if required, the highly maneuverable aircraft can essentially stop its ground track by using a pylon turn or more exotic turning technique.

9. Additionally, the intent is to leave the aircraft behind. There are plenty of commercially available forward-looking infrared radars for export, but many other sensors are restricted. A “relay” system can provide the necessary data without obligating the United States to provide Iraq with certain advanced or restricted technology.

10. Edward Wong, “The Conflict in Iraq: Insurgency; Bombing Kills 47 at Police Station In Iraqi Capital,” New York Times, 15 September 2004, late edition, A1.

11. Ibid. Perimeter security was enhanced, and checkpoints were established, but the car carrying the bomb penetrated the area and exploded near the line of candidates vying to join the new Iraqi police.

12. There is well-sourced scholarship that discounts this. However, there was well-sourced scholarship that discounted nationalism as a factor in Iraq as well. Ultimately, this is as much a moral dilemma as a military consideration. Plans must be driven by the stated political goals—that is, the desired end state for the peninsula.


Col Robyn Read, USAF, retired

Col Robyn Read, USAF, retired (BS, Texas A&M University; MS, Gonzaga University), is a research analyst with CADRE’s Airpower Research Institute at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. His principal research interests are coalitions, small-war activities, and effects-based operations. During a 30-year active duty Air Force career, he served as a forward air controller, tanker pilot, munitions test engineer, research pilot, staff officer, and squadron commander. He also worked security-assistance issues for two years while assigned to the US Military Group in Bogotá, Colombia. He has taught at the Air War College, primarily in strategy, doctrine, and airpower. Colonel Read is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Armed Forces Staff College, and Air War College.



The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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