Saturday, March 30, 2019

Allied Force at Twenty

Air power is much more effective today because of precision and persistent surveillance. But it still must partner with ground forces to direct it and exploit the destruction of ground forces that air power allows.

Twenty years ago I was worried that the American intervention in the Kosovo rebellion against Serbia was unduly shaped by the mistaken belief that the 1995 limited aerial intervention on behalf of Bosnian Moslems was the decisive factor in defeating the Serbs. I quickly wrote an analysis of the 1995 campaign but failed to get it accepted during the 1999 war. So it just sat.

I posted the manuscript here at the start of our aerial campaign in Libya in 2011.

I still don't think air power alone is decisive in ground war despite its greater ability to punish even though the nascent ability to mesh Army, Marine, and Navy precision fires with air power expands the precision firepower available as a force multiplier to make ground forces more effective.

Ideally with such a meshed ability, some soldier or Marine who calls for a mission to destroy or nullify a threat in front of him shouldn't care what form the destruction is or who provides it. It simply happens in the time needed.

Air power is obviously more important alone in an anti-ship role and has a more sizable role compared to ground-based systems in air superiority missions. But for ground missions, you can only control the ground--including the air bases--with ground forces.