Accession Number:

ADA539793

Title:

Desert Talons: Historical Perspectives and Implications of Air Policing in the Middle East

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-04-01

Pagination or Media Count:

76.0

Abstract:

As US and coalition ground forces seek to transfer security authority to Iraqi battalions, airpower is uniquely endowed with capabilities that will allow it to act as a force multiplier and ensure hard-fought gains are not lost. The concept of airpower playing a predominant role in support of a smaller ground force has historical precedent. During the 1920s, the Royal Air Forces RAF air control method adhered to the concepts of the inverted blockade, minimum force, precision targeting, and force protection. The RAFs ground support and accompanying independent air operations sought to enhance the legitimacy of Iraqs nascent government and secure the countrys interior. RAF air control proved to be an extremely cost-effective option for Great Britain amid the global economic crisis. During the 1990s, the US followed a similar air policing concept as a means of containing Saddam Hussein and maintain external security for most of Iraqs neighbors. Humanitarian support operations in northern Iraq carried out by US and allied air forces, plus the air blockade enforced through the northern and southern no-fly zones, like their interwar British predecessors proved to be cost effective in limiting Saddam Husseins regional influence. Airpower is uniquely situated to provide air control services once again over the skies of Iraq to bolster the fledgling Iraqi Army in its counterinsurgency operations. Airpower is the most politically viable option for US policymakers, a superb choice to legitimize the Iraq government, and offers commanders a highly flexible option.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE