Airlift Capabilities for Future U.S. Counterinsurgency by Robert C. Owen

By Robert C. Owen

Does most probably endured U.S. involvement in counterinsurgencies demand including really good airplane, education, or different assets to the overall airlift fleet? more often than not, current U.S. airlift forces can accomplish so much such missions successfully. yet endured operations most likely would require reinforcement of the final airlift fleet and, probably acquisition of a small fleet point optimized for convinced counterinsurgency missions.

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S. expeditionary forces into Kuwait and Iraq rather than to stop Soviet tank divisions in the Iranian mountains. 2 This inability to predict precisely the types, numbers, and mix of airlift aircraft needed in the wars the country actually will fight, as opposed to the ones visualized and precisely defined in the planning documents the Joint Staff or the Air Force generate to set budgeting guidelines, is unavoidable. The lag between initially identifying requirements for new aircraft and bringing them into the operational fleet is so long—typically on the order of decades rather than years—that the structure of the airlift fleet is likely always to differ significantly from the force that would be ideal to support actual operations.

22 Indeed, passing internal civil air services over to commercial or contract carriers before reasonable security has been established can be detrimental to the government’s program. Civilian aircraft and crews usually are not able to deal with even low-end military threats. So, they are more likely to be shot down by simple weapons, even by individual insurgent snipers. The effects of such shoot-downs on the government’s prestige and on the willingness of government and private individuals to go out and do their jobs are always negative.

6 Thus, there are potentially two broad phases of counterinsurgent military operations, paralleling the phases of insurgency. If the insurgents mass their forces according to the traditional prescription, the conventional phase of counterinsurgency aims to defeat the fielded insurgent forces and large guerilla bands to destroy their ability to challenge the government for control of territory and political legitimacy in open battle. 7 If an incumbent government catches an insurgency early and effectively, the security phase will precede the conventional phase and probably prevent it from happening at all.

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