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Deployable JAOCs: A Way Ahead for Operational C2 of Joint Air Operations
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Operational Command and Control C2 of joint air operations has evolved as an Air Force function, executed at the theater-level of war by the theater Commander Air Force Forces COMAFOR acting as the Joint Forces Air Component Commander JFACC. The lack of authority of airmen at the Joint Task Force JTF level has precluded airpower from truly integrating into joint operations. As a result, air efforts have been coordinated, not integrated in the majority of joint operations. The centralized C2 of air at the theater-level has negatively impacted the mutual support and trust between the Air Force and its sister services. Also, the lack of properly delegated command authority at every echelon of command has drastically reduced the flexibility, cohesiveness, resiliency, and simplicity of joint air operations C2 structure. Joint doctrine offers a multitude of C2 constructs for the JFACC, however, recent history shows that the theater JFACC has become an accepted norm and is further cemented in practice by the Air Forces creation of the theater Joint Air Operations Center JAOC. The JAOCs are very capable C2 nodes, but lack the mobility to enable JFACCs to co-locate with the Joint Forces Commander JFC. While air operations in Operations Enduring Freedom OEF and Iraqi Freedom OIF suggest that joint air operations would benefit from an operational JFACC at the JTF-level, the JAOCs lack of mobility has precluded that C2 structure from emerging. Some current Air Force leaders recognize the benefit of a JTF-level JFACC and the costs of a theater-level JFACC, however, the Air Force widely accepts the theater COMAFFOR as the best solution to serve as the theater JFACC in support of separate JFCs. One of the major counter-arguments against JTF JFACCs is the cost-benefit of having JAOCs for every JTF. By replacing 10 non-deployable JAOCs with four or five mobile JAOCs, the joint force would create a weapon system that meets the operational needs of todays complex
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