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Just Give Me the FACs! The Case on CAS

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Okay.. lets get this straight.. The Air Force doesnt want the close air support CAS mission, but theyd love to devote all their sorties to it. And... the Air Force would rather easily give up the CAS mission, even though its the work nearest to their heart. And... the Army feels the Air Force has abandoned them in the CAS arena, but. theyre happy with that... pause for thought .... Is anybody else confused Sadly, the comments above have been repeated in one form or another for over forty years by a veritable whos who among military experts and service leaders. The very simple concept of close air support for friendly troops, born on the battlefields of World War I, has become an absolute nightmare in terms of inter-service rivalry and friction over the ensuing years. Although there is no single document which lists every ArmyAir Force disagreement on the subject, the rational readers rapid review process points to two questions which are the meat around each bone of contention 1. What exactly is close air support 2. Who should do it On the surface, neither of these questions appear to be that formidable, so wheres the rest of the iceberg In his book, Essence of Decision Mr. Graham Allison provides the answer. He asserts that there are three different models which explain behavior the rational actor model, the organizational process model, and the bureaucratic personal politics model. The unwillingness of the U.S. Air Force and Army to redefine the close air support mission and restructure the force to best accomplish it is the result of 2 organizational and personal politics rather than an objective assessment of future capabilities and threats. To prove the point, this paper will examine historical background, briefly asses current capabilities and limitations in the CAS arena, highlight the impact of individual personalities on the issue, and close by offering a roadmap for the future.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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