Coalition Warfare. Considerations for the Air Component Commander.
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES
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Political circumstances often dictate that we employ military force as part of a coalition. The youngest military instrument, airpower, has been integrated into coalition forces during several major conflicts of the twentieth century. No historical evidence or current strategies indicate that the likelihood of working within a coalition will diminish. A fundamental question, then, is how air component commanders should be trained to understand and appreciate the nuances of coalition warfare. This thesis focuses on operational-level coalition air force interactions in three conflicts the Korean War 1950-53, the Persian Gulf War 1990-91, and the Balkan Air Campaign 1992-95. Each conflict saw significant United Nations involvement, and the United States provided the majority of airpower assets. Nevertheless, air forces of other states provided both political and military benefits for coalition unity. Overall, coordination among air components seemed exceptionally smooth. Several disagreements arose, which, though never fracturing the coalition outright, pointed to potential areas of conflict for future operations. The capability that coalition air forces offer usually benefits the overall effort, while each members diverging desires or will can degrade overall unity of effort. Analysis of the three conflicts presented here suggests several coalition considerations for air component commanders. Some considerations responsiveness, training, doctrine and equipment, and language affect coalition capability, while others trust and perception of leaders generally affect members wills. Still other considerations liaisons, C3 COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS, and intelligence sharing can affect both capability and will. Because each case in this thesis had unique elements that may have affected the coalition, a comparison of these elements may also reveal considerations which are important to the air component commander.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics