Air Force Rescue: A Multirole Force for a Complex World
AIR AND SPACE POWER JOURNAL MAXWELL AFB AL
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Although the Air Force rescue community boasts over 9,000 joint multinational combat saves in the last two years and over 15,750 sorties in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom since September 2001, these impressive statistics cannot overshadow debilitating, systemic problems caused by rescue s ineffective organizational structure. As demand for personnel recovery PR continues unabated across the globe, chronic staffing shortages and aircraft mission-capable rates hovering at 60 percent paint a bleak picture of this indispensible capability. Unfilled theater PR requirements and an inability to deploy rescue forces rapidly in response to crises like the Haitian earthquake highlight dangerous operational shortfalls. Additionally, a lack of Air Force rescue participation in combatant commander exercises despite the mandate found in Department of Defense Directive DODD 3002.01E, Personnel Recovery in the Department of Defense, to rehearse personnel recovery as an integral part of operational planning, training, and exercise , acquisition failures such as the cancelled combat search and rescue replacement CSAR-X program, and stalled funding for replacement HH-60s and HC-130Js foretell more gaps in capability. Inadequate advocacy from major commands MAJCOM on behalf of rescue continues to frustrate even modest improvement in this heavily tasked and operationally indispensible asset.
- Escape, Rescue and Survival