Accession Number:



Rebel airpower

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

Corporate Author:

US Army Command and General Staff College, School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Converging trends in rebel airpower will significantly challenge state militaries. Increased doctrinal research and professional thought on rebel airpower are vital. This monograph analyzes rebel airpower and the threats it presents. It seeks to answer the questions do rebel forces want airpower if so, what would it look like and what are the implications for conventional military forces if they find themselves facing rebel airpower The evidence suggests that rebel groups do want airpower and that rebel airpower capabilities could challenge a states military. This paper reviews previous theories on rebel airpower. It analyzes current doctrine and historical examples of the rebel use of airpower in order to create an updated theory about rebel airpower, and a discussion of subsequent implications for military planners. This paper argues that, in the future, rebels will use airpower in four key ways. First, the increase of low-cost, low-risk technology allows rebels to use and contest the air domain. Second, rebels that conceal high cost operations avoid direct targeting from a more powerful state air force. Third, rebel groups increase their effectiveness in the air domain if they consider propaganda at all levels of war. Last, rebels increase their effectiveness in the air domain by presenting opposing forces with a multi-dilemma problem that necessitates simultaneous reactions. Ultimately, this research should help enable the US military to handle surprising and unconventional rebel approaches toward airpower.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Unconventional Warfare

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