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The Evolving Role of the DIRMOBFOR: A Critical Analysis of Current Doctrinal Trends

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Final rept.,

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This paper explores the evolution of the role of the Director of Mobility Forces DIRMOBFOR in command and control of the theater air mobility mission in support of a joint force commander. The discussion is framed by two historically competing imperatives that have driven the command and control structure in different directions. The struggle is between the need to manage finite air mobility resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible and the need to achieve unity of command. The thesis is that the DIFMOBFOR, with changes contained in proposed service doctrine as well as some recommendations by the author, has the potential to strike an appropriate balance between the two imperatives. The paper summarizes some historical lessons learned regarding command and control of air mobility forces, reviews current doctrine, and explores the application of present doctrine in some recent contingency operations. It then highlights problems encountered, examines service doctrinal proposals, and offers recommendations to further refine doctrine for command and control of theater air mobility forces. The conclusions are 1 that air mobility forces work best as a seamless system commanded by a senior officer responsible to the joint force commander, 2 that present doctrine fractured a previously seamless system, 3 that service proposals will mend many of the fractures, and 4 that a full return to a seamless system can be achieved with some additional refinements, such as delegating OPCON authority to the DIRMOBFOR.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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