Earth, Wind, and Fire: Elemental Properties of Army and Air Force Cooperation in Close Air Support, 1945-1991
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES
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The study examines how designing a force for the most-dangerous scenario affects the Air Force s ability to cooperate with the Army and conduct joint missions, specifically CAS. Tomorrow s fight is unknown, but a near certainty is that it will be a joint fight and therefore it is imperative for the Air Force to foster inter-service cooperation. The path this paper treads is to understand how the Air Force derives its most-dangerous scenario and the implications or the effect on the joint team. The complete analysis revolved around a theoretical framework. The theory proposes that the services are motivated more by fear than potential gain, and they are particularly motivated by their greatest fears, expressed as the most-dangerous scenario. When a perceived crisis occurs, it reinforces the threat of the scenario and the Service s unique role in it, thereby entrenching the Service in patterns of behavior designed to protect the scenario and its role. When their greatest fears do not overlap, the Air Force and Army diverge from cooperative behavior, even to the point of neglecting joint missions, specifically CAS. The framework incorporated two organizational theories. They are Lina Svedin s Organizational Cooperation in Crisis and Dominic Johnson and Dominic Tierney s Rubicon Theory of War. The framework offers scaffolding necessary to hang the three historical case studies Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. The case studies focus on the three interwar year periods from 1945-1991. The interwar years were selected for two reasons. Today, as the drawdown from Afghanistan is completed, the US military is approaching an interwar period. The lessons from previous interwar periods may be applied early enough to forestall negative outcomes. Secondly, in times of war, political objectives and end states act as forcing functions that drive cooperation. This unified effort can be difficult to stimulate in peacetime void of common aims and the moral imperatives of combat.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics