A Historical Look at Close Air Support
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Throughout the history of close air support CAS there exists a consistent theme of friction and interservice rivalry. There are periods where close coordination and cooperation led to extremely effective CAS. Experiences in North Africa during World War II proved to be a harbinger of CAS throughout the twentieth century. The ineptness of the initial air-to-ground integration evolved by wars end into a synchronized, lethal form of combined arms operations. The troubled relationship between the Army and the Air Force over CAS directly impacts four major areas needed to accomplish effective CAS. Those areas are training, doctrine, trust and dialogue. Because of the troubles experienced in CAS during recent military operations in Afghanistan the Army is once again finding fault with current CAS capabilities. The Air Force admitted that there are problems. They also stress, with much justification, that there is plenty of fault to go around. The conclusion of the thesis is that CAS will continue to be an integral part of joint military operations. The Army and the Air Force must focus on improving training, doctrine, and most importantly, trust before any improvements are realized. The lives of US soldiers may well depend upon the effectiveness of CAS.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics