To BAI or not to BAI? That is the Question.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES
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This paper addresses the question, what happened to Battlefield Air Interdiction BAI and what that question has to do with the development and evolution of Air Force doctrine. The answer goes much deeper than just the simple disappearance of a mission term from warfighting lexicons. The disappearance of the BAI mission represents an evolution of Air Force doctrine--not just a conflict with the Army. Its an unfortunate side-effect that this action also affected Army doctrine. In todays joint environment, service doctrinal changes are prone to affect interservice operations--that should be expected. But BAls disappearance none-the-less demonstrates a maturing of air power doctrine. This maturing went away from long-held strategic air power only, or tactical air power only doctrinal focuses, to synthesize these approaches--something that was long overdue. As a result, the Air Force combined tactical interdiction doctrine and strategic attack doctrine in the Operation Desert Storm air campaign plan that successfully produced operational shock on the enemy across the entire theater. Using Air Force, Army, and Joint doctrines as a backdrop, and taking a look back at history, this paper addresses the issue of BAI, both as a mission, and as a concept. After defining the terms close air support CAS, BAl, and air interdiction AI as missions of the Air Force role of force application, an examination of BAI is conducted in the historical contexts of previous air wars. This historical look at battlefield interdiction through each of the different wars, and its development through the ArmyAir Force 31 Inititatives will demonstrate the transition from a doctrinal mindset of strategic air power, to one favoring tactical air in support of ground maneuver warfare.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics