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Ensuring Operational Readiness: Private Military Contractor Support for the United States Air Force

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Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph establishes a case for using private military companies to provide air strike support to Security Force Assistance operations, rather than relying on the USAF fighter aircraft. The need for establishing an alternate supply source was shown by examining the current environment in the USAF to that which Dr. Bruce Stanley asserts is necessary for the growth in private military contractors. This, coupled with the additional demands, like the desire for operational flexibility and the need for surge capacity in order to respond to an unforeseen crisis or train for major combat operations, were proven sufficient to suggest the USAF use PMCs to support SFA operations. These results are significant, as USAF planners may soon find themselves without the necessary supply to meet the operational requirements demanded of fighter aircraft. It will then be necessary to find a mission where PMCs can provide the same level of support to combatant commanders. This monograph argues that mission is SFA where air strikes are necessary but do not usually require detailed integration with US conventional ground forces. A case study analysis on the American Volunteer Group was completed to determine if that structure and method is duplicable today. The results of the case study analysis showed the model used by the US government to support China is valid and tenable today. The legal framework has changed since the days of Claire Chennaults Flying Tigers, but in a way that makes PMC use more legitimate. There now exists a law that has survived eight presidents that codifies the exporting of military equipment to foreign governments. Further, an international institution provides standards and norms under which PMCs operate. The analysis concluded that similar conditions that were present in the time of the AVG exist today and the structure and method in which they operated provides a contemporary working model.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft

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