Achieving an Optimal Medium Altitude UAV Force Balance in Support of COIN Operations
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The insistence on UAVs in todays counter-insurgency COIN fight is monumental. Lieutenant General David Deptula, Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance ISR, United States Air Force, states that the demand for unmanned aerial vehicles UAV exceeds supply and will continue to exceed it--even after all the Services have built all their programmed UAVs. Our joint forces at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels contend with the need for these capable assets. An Army Times article published in February 2008 reports, The militarys reliance on unmanned aircraft that can witch hunt and sometimes kill insurgents has soared to more than 500,000 hours in the air, largely in Iraq. Likewise, Lt Col Larry Gurgainous, Deputy Director of Air Force Unmanned Aerial Task Force, states, the demand far exceeds all the Defense Departments ability to provide these assets. I think it has to do with the type of warfare were engaged in--its heavy into ISR. Furthermore, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently called upon the USAF to provide greater ISR support to ongoing, unconventional military operations. 4 Within this context and the context of pre-QDR 2010 roles and missions debate between the Services, the Services must achieve an optimal medium altitude UAV force balance in support of COIN operations.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Unconventional Warfare