EC Support for an Expeditionary Air Force: The Lessons of History
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The United States Air Force currently faces a shortfall in the type and number of Electronic Combat aircraft capable of operating with an Aerospace Expeditionary Wing. This has a direct impact on the Air Forces Global Attack core competency, and undermines the combat power of any deployed AEW. Why have EC assets been allowed to deteriorate to this state The answer begins with people, who have a flawed understanding of the theory of airpower. Because the theory isnt understood correctly, money isnt dedicated to the needed technology. Because the technology isnt developed, or is lacking, that community, if you will, fails to get representation at the higher levels of the leadership. This cycle of organizational behavior repeats itself over and over, until acted upon by an outside force in this case the shootdown of a U.S. F-117 during the Kosovo action. This isnt the first time that the U.S. Air Force has been through this cycle of organizational behavior. The almost exact same scenario played out in the famous pursuit vs. bombers debates of the 1930s. Pursuit lost out, and thereby lost money, technology and people in key leadership positions. It was not until the horrific bomber losses of 1943 that leaders fully realized the mistake they had made. This paper explores the connection between the two stories, looks at the current state of Electronic Combat, and offers some suggestions for the future.
- Military Aircraft Operations