Accession Number:



Geronimo: Planning Considerations for Employing Airborne Forces

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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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To plan an effective airborne operation, a planner must adhere to joint planning considerations and understand the Air Force and Army requirements. Today the Army maintains only one brigade and two battalions of deployable conventional airborne combat power. The special operations community also is airborne capable, and the 75th Ranger Regiment has three battalions specifically tasked with airfield seizure. The aircraft requirements for airborne operations increased over the decades, now requiring 209-245 C-17s to deploy a brigade and 42-60 C-17s to deploy a battalion. The C-130 is nearly useless in modern deployments except for operations that can be conducted from a local intermediate staging base. Another challenge is enemy advanced air defense systems which renders airborne operations not feasible. Also, in areas where special forces cannot precede the conventional airborne joint forcible entry operation, the campaign is feasible only by assembling a vastly overwhelming force. In countries where an immediate airland is not possible, the airborne formation has limited operational reach. Airdropping paratroopers historically led to injury rates as high as 51.8. Planning time, often overlooked as a risk mitigation measure in crisis response scenarios, correlates to successful operations. In fact, operations undertaken without 100 or more days of planning lacks proper assembly of an appropriate team to confirm planning assumptions and fail to resource the individual soldiers conducting the operation. Multiple challenges demonstrate the importance of effective planning for airborne operations with doctrine and force requirements.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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