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Taking Command - Toward Improving Command and Control

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A well-trained and well-equipped Air Force has given the U.S. military important advantages in combat. These advantages include the speed with which the United States can strike an enemy, the range of enemy forces and facilities that the United States can hold at risk, and the weight of effort that the United States can apply against these targets. Aerospace power was decisive in the Persian Gulf War and virtually the only force applied in Kosovo. The U.S. Air Force provided the bulk of the aerospace contribution in each of these coalition operations. Although successful, the U.S. Air Force has faced significant difficulties in recent operations. U.S. forces have been called into action around the globe, on short timelines and in contingencies that allowed neither adequate training nor planning. The Air Operations Centers AOCs providing the Air Force theater command and control have been built on the fly as forces are deployed to each contingency. The result is that our air forces have been deployed in the most recent operations without well-established theater AOCs to maximize their combat effectiveness. At the same time, adversaries have found clever ways to limit the effectiveness of U.S. air forces in accomplishing selected military tasks. Enemies have been careful to limit the exposure of some key forces to attack by employing them sparingly and by making maximum use of camouflage and deception. In future conflicts, enemies will try to limit access to the theater to delay the entry of U.S. forces and to raise the risk of casualties. In addition, enemies will try to increase the speed of their attacks - hoping to accomplish their objectives before U.S. forces can arrive in useful numbers.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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