A Fight for the Human Element of Marine Corps Offensive Air Support
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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The quick rise in popularity of Unmanned Aerial Systems UAS in the last decade has touched off myriad debates about the future of military aviators and their usefulness in the combat arena. To best utilize technology and prove that the human element is still a necessary part of Marine offensive air support, one must study three things American military history, U.S. Marine Corps doctrine, and John Boyds theory of the OODA Loop. The UAS is the latest innovation in aeronautical technology, but it is threatening the future of manned aviation because civilian and military leaders are convinced of the myth that technology is the panacea for all battlefield problems. Military and civilian professionals generally fail to understand that armed conflict is fundamentally a human interaction in which man is the central character. To understand why there is a need to retain a human aviator in the cockpit, one must gain a general understanding of U.S. military history and Marine doctrine. Historically, the development of technology in warfighting has always triggered an effective and economical counter-technology, and a technology has yet to be developed that cannot be countered. There is no doubt that emerging threats, state and nonstate actors, will exploit the limitations of the UAS. Recent U.S. military history is a good lesson in the pitfalls of assigning technology a premier place in military planning. The human element, the individual Marine, is the overarching factor that will lead to success in war although technology will always be a capable aid. A mix of manned and unmanned aviation capability is still the best plan for the future of Marine aviation.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems