Accession Number:



Evolving AirLand Battle for 21st Century Warfare

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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 explores the analogy between the current strategic environment and that of the post-Vietnam War period. It examines the development of AirLand Battle Doctrine to glean lessons on how to better prepare the United States military for future 21st century conflict. It calls for increased cooperation among services, as the Air Force and the Army did during the post-Vietnam War era. It analyzes current doctrine, the current and future strategic environment, and introduces the Armys new future concept, Multi-Domain Battle. This paper proposes a new Air Force warfighting organization called the Multi-Domain Wing. The Multi-Domain Wing combines and evolves the composite wing of the Air Forces past with the current Air Expeditionary Force concept, keeping the advantages of both but the disadvantages of neither. Multi-Domain Wings will be able to power project into anti-access environments and operate within areas held at risk by enemy area denial capabilities. When operational C2 is degraded, Multi-Domain Wings will operate semi-autonomously using unified command, distributed control, and decentralized execution under commanders intent to maintain initiative and tempo. Furthermore, this monograph offers several considerations to increase the lethality of the joint force through improved air and ground integration. It calls for increased Army capabilities in areas normally devoted to other services. It calls for greater synergy between Air and Ground forces by leveraging Army fires and maneuver to enable airpower and not just the reverse. Lastly, this monograph introduces four innovative Air Force documents, the Air Force Strategy Americas Air Force A Call to the Future, the Air Force SMP, the AFFOC, and the latest CSAF intent. These documents serve as a strong starting point to shape the Air Force into a force capable of fighting and winning wars of the 21st century and should serve as a vehicle to evolve lagging Air Force doctrine.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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