CLOSE AIR SUPPORT (CAS) FOR COUNTERINSURGENCY (COIN) AND THE UPWARD TRAJECTORY OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS): NAVIGATING THE UNDISCOVERED DOMAIN
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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Future Counter Insurgency COIN mission environments will require both standard and non-standard close air support CAS systems that are reactive, accurate, timely, capable of long duration and survivable. An examination of current and near-term CAS assets, on the surface suggests UAS would appear to be excellent mission compatible substitutes or augmenters for CAS fixed and rotary wing assets in current COIN and Counter Terrorism CT operations. Israeli military historian Martin Levi van Crevelds commenting on the current U.S. drone program indicated. During the past decade, we have deployed our most skilled warriors and most advanced technology in an assassination program with few precedents in history. Result the Middle East is in chaos and our foes have been revitalized. This resurgence, called the Darwinian Ratchet, is natural evolution working for our foes. footnote 1 COIN or CT victory defined in FM-3-24, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies, remains highly unlikely until we overcome strict reliance on directives that fail to learn from experience or ignore the evolution of modern warfare. Results and conclusions drawn from this research indicate that UAS augmenting fixed and rotary wing assets in the CAS role aligns better with the CT subset of COIN as described in FM-3-24. UAS can specifically be advantageous where SOFs can exploit the UASs capabilities of being reactive, accurate, timely, capable of long duration and survivable, especially when used for killing individual insurgents and terrorists while executing COIN and CT as outlined in FM 3-24.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Pilotless Aircraft