COIN CAS: Smart Limits on Close Air Support in Counterinsurgency
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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U.S. military doctrine for the conduct of a counterinsurgency makes security of the population a priority. Providing security for the population protects them from unnecessary casualties and the destruction of their property. This doctrine is being applied in the on-going North Atlantic Treaty Organization International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan. The former and current International Security Assistance Force Commanders have expended significant time and energy inculcating a culture among coalition troops for protecting the population, and apologizing for occurrences of civilian casualties and collateral damage. Tactical directives issued by the Commanders have provided their intent for the employment of airstrikes, but lack specificity in how forces should accomplish that intent. Joint doctrine establishes three types of close air support with varying requirements for the ground controller to see the target and attacking aircraft. The most restrictive procedures are Type 1 where the ground controller must see both the target and the attacking aircraft. Establishing Type 1 close air support as the standard for the conduct of airstrikes in Afghanistan would add critical specificity to the tactical directives and bolster the counterinsurgency effort. Furthermore, this technique should be added to all existing American military doctrine dealing with counterinsurgency to support the requirement to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare