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U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command Takes Control of Rescue Forces: An Opportunity to Re-Energize the Unity of Effort

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Final rept.

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The USAF moving of the Combat Search and Rescue CSAR mission from Air Combat Command ACC to Air Force Special Operations Command AFSOC in 2003 left out many of the key players involved in a traditional CSAR task force CSARTF, specifically the On Scene Commander OSC, Rescue Mission Commander RMC, Rescue Escort RESCORT, and the Airborne Mission Coordinator AMC. Moving helicopters and support aircraft under the guise of moving the CSAR mission to AFSOC, without considering the other key players of CSAR, placed an overemphasis on the helicopter as the key element of CSAR. This organizational focus on the helicopter as CSAR has led to a lack of unity of effort. This has had negative implications in the organizing, training, and equipping of CSAR forces. While the capability of the USAF to conduct CSAR has not degraded to the same level as pre-Desert Storm, it is critical that it not regress further due to a continual disassociation of the AMC, OSC, RMC, and RESCORT roles from the CSAR mission. In April 2006, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force moved the CSAR mission back to ACC. This move offers the USAF a unique opportunity to align its Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures with Air Force and Joint Doctrine. Additionally, the move allows the USAF to reemphasize its role in organizing, training, and equipping CSAR forces to bring unity of effort to this critical mission. ACC should consider assigning a single person to act as both the Point of Contact POC and the Program Element Monitor PEM for all CSAR matters. The CSAR POCPEM could act as team leader for a CSAR working-group that should include experts in the following roles Joint Personnel Recovery Center, AMC, OSC, RMC, RESCORT, Recovery Vehicle RV-helicopters, RV support, Pararescue Jumpers, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape.

Subject Categories:

  • Escape, Rescue and Survival

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