Naval Tactical Aviation In The Contaminated Battlespace: Considerations For The Joint Force Commander
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Weapons of mass destruction WMD are a leading security issue for the United States and present enormous challenges to its military. In light of joint and naval doctrine, this paper examines the chemical, biological, radiological CBR defense capabilities of U.S. Naval tactical aviation. Through an assessment of real-world practice, it concludes that current capabilities do not meet the doctrinal demands for sustained operations in the WMD environment. The paper also examines why this is so, and addresses some operational ramifications in order to provide considerations and recommendations for a Joint Force Commander. Joint and naval doctrine, although somewhat unrealistic regarding unique shipboard conditions, need not be deliberately revised downward, as doing so would send the wrong message. Instead U.S. Navy tactical aviation must grow some very limited, non-zero capability to conduct strike operations in a remote CBR environment. This would afford the Joint Force Commander additional options to preemptively address a WMD threat early on in conflict, before other assets could be brought to bear in theater. Additionally, it would serve as a baseline for growth, and as technology improves, future CBR defense capabilities may permit limited operations in a local CBR environment. Until this limited capability is attained, however, commanders and their staffs must be aware of the shortfall in order to avoid false expectations in the planning or execution of WMD scenarios.
- Defense Systems
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare