Strategic Dissonance RPA Tactics To Defeat Al Qaeda
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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The United States use of remotely piloted aircraft RPA as the primary means to defeat al-Qaeda is failing. The tactic is a convenient weapon of choice because it is accurate, low risk, and cost effective. Unfortunately, RPA strikes have only achieved limited success in temporarily degrading and disrupting al-Qaeda. The tactical successes, of this precision strike capability, have produced negative secondary effects that have strategic implications. RPA strikes exasperate the U.S.s ability to defeat al-Qaeda because the undesirable consequences of the tactic serve to strengthen the very enemy the U.S. had hoped to destroy. Instead of defeating al-Qaeda, the tactic has strengthened its operational flexibility and its base of support. RPA precision strikes have forced al-Qaeda to export their operations to other ungoverned areas throughout the Middle East and Africa to avoid detection. The attacks have created friction in U.S-Pakistani relations and have hindered our efforts to expand Pakistani governance into their Federally Administered Tribal Areas FATA. Inaccurate claims of high civilian casualties have created a media uproar that has put the U.S. in a public relations battle that it is currently losing, badly. Al-Qaedas ability to discredit the U.S. has allowed it to garner sympathy and support from latent actors throughout the region. The same propaganda has made it impossible for the U.S. to supplant al-Qaeda ideology with a more humanitarian-centric ideology or to have any meaningful impact on suppressing al-Qaeda enablers. The U.S. must repair its relations with Pakistan and get troops in FATA, become more transparent in its RPA operations, and win the public relations fight to build credibility in the region. Only then can it hope to isolate al-Qaeda from its support base and enablers and then supplant al-Qaedas evil ideology with one that respects the value of life.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Government and Political Science