Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 87

AIR FORCE TAKE NOTE unmanned aerial systems could provide the initial firepower the light infantry lacks. C-17s would follow with Strykers, a few heavily armored vehicles, and attack helicopters. After fighting a conventional force-on-force engagement, the scenario would transition to counterinsurgency warfare typical of the hybrid threat many expect to face. Air Force pilots would practice shows of force or nontraditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The Air Force and the BCT would fight together from home station to mission completion. Just like Quesada’s P-47, the Air Force has all of these assets. Each of these platforms already conducts annual training. Each of these platforms already spends precious defense budget dollars (9th Air Force photo courtesy of the National Archives) to train. Airdropping or airliftA P-47 Thunderbolt piloted by Capt. Raymond M. Walsh of the U.S. 406th Fighter Group is silhouing the entire BCT to California etted against an exploding Nazi ammunition truck he just strafed 23 June 1944 behind enemy lines in Normandy, France. The image was taken by his wingman’s gun camera. is not possible, and CAS might not be available every day of the BCT’s scenario. However, the benefits gained from enemy forces in battles where there was little practicing even with small company-sized elements coordination between the Air Corps and the would pay huge dividends in future operations. ground forces commander.23 In his thesis on CAS in World War II, Maj. Scott Hasken’s comments seem intuitive given the luxury Hasken stresses the importance of detailed liaison as of hindsight and current joint doctrine. However, the an aspect of any operational approach: focus on detailed liaison was a new concept in the early It was also in World War II where command1940s. It helped enable the World War II innovation of ers began to learn that planning for CAS CAS. What is the corollary to today? Have the Army made a significant difference in the execution and Air Force captured the lessons learned during of air-to-ground operations. Those battles thirteen years of war? Armed with facts about the “new” and engagements that were planned thorArmy and with opportunities for continued joint trainoughly with the integration of the Air Corps ing, Air Force leaders can transition some viable techin a ground attack role inflicted heavy damniques while avoiding stagnation by resting on others. age on troops and material. These coordinated attacks also had a significant psychological Army Doctrinal Changes Impact impact on the enemy, and demonstrated Air Force Leaders tremendous potential as a way to conduct The Army is not just changing its size and strucmore aggressive joint operations. Conversely, ture—doctrine is changing too. In 2012, the Army only marginal effects were achieved against began releasing a new series of doctrine publications. MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 81