The Air War in Libya
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST
Pagination or Media Count:
More than a year has passed since the last air mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization s NATO Operation Unified Protector concluded. In just over seven months, the Western-led air campaign see figure below, initiated in response to a United Nations Security Council resolution UNSCR to protect Libyan civilians, allowed a ragtag group of rebels to bring about the defeat of a well-armed military and the downfall of a dictatorship that spanned more than 40 years. Since the end of the mission, little public discussion or analysis of the campaign has taken place. Although some skepticism remains regarding the future of the oil-rich North African nation, an overwhelming consensus of opinion considers the air war in Libya a resounding success and a testament to what a coalition-led operation can do. Tomas Valasek, of the Center for European Reform in London, asserts that it was as good a war as it comes. Diplomats from the United States and Europe agree with this evaluation, similarly describing the war s merits in superlatives. Before we consider replicating the coalition s efforts in another intervention, however, more deliberate review and scrutiny are not only prudent but required. Additionally, a thorough analysis reveals that these assessments do not address many operational issues that proved problematic and need further examination, including linkages to overall airpower implications and key concerns. In the end, although the campaign may have attained its strategic objectives, operationally it should in many ways serve as a wake-up call for everyone involved.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics