Accession Number:

ADA517859

Title:

On Airpower, Land Power, and Counterinsurgency: Getting Doctrine Right

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2008-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

6.0

Abstract:

Since 2001, the U.S. military has been going through a painful process of relearning the art of counterinsurgency. Fighting nonstate forces, be they insurgents, terrorists, or criminals, is a fundamentally different type of war from the state-on-state conventional war to which the Armed Forces are oriented. Getting warfighting right requires an understanding of not only an environment that is far more complex than conventional war but also of a wide variety of organizations, tools, and methods. Airpower is an important tool in counterinsurgency, and the ArmyMarine Corps doctrine in Field Manual FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, lays out some basic guidelines for the employment of airpower in counterinsurgency. This essay is not about defending the airpower doctrine in FM 3-24. Given the space limitations of the ArmyMarine Corps doctrine, which at 267 pages ended up considerably longer than the authors expected, the discussion of the various aspects of military operations in counterinsurgency was kept to basic theory and guidelines. The doctrine was addressed to the strategic planner and operator and was not intended as a guide to the employment of specific technologies and tactics. Indeed, those subjects are better addressed in tactical level manuals. What the doctrine does stress is the need to understand the context of counterinsurgency and how airpower fits into that context.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Intelligence
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE