Air Strikes and COIN in Operation Enduring Freedom
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The recent limitation of the use of air strikes in Operation Enduring Freedom OEF has highlighted a dilemma facing the International Security Assistance Force ISAF Commander. He demands that his forces assume greater risk by restricting the use of air strikes, or he risks mission failure by losing the support of the Afghanistan people as a result of collateral damage. Since OEF is ongoing, analysis of another counterinsurgency in which air strikes have played a large role could determine whether the ISAF Commanders decision is correct. This paper examines the parallels between OEF and Vietnam to highlight the dilemma the ISAF Commander faces as he places restrictions on air strikes, a powerful combat multiplier. The paper explores the shortcomings of the use of air strikes in Vietnam and draws the conclusion that the commanders guidance in OEF is focused on winning the support of the people. In summary, the more the Afghan people support ISAF and the Afghanistan government, the closer the Taliban are to losing their support and their foothold in Afghanistan.
- Sociology and Law
- Humanities and History
- Weapons Effects (Biological)
- Unconventional Warfare