Empowered Commanders: The Cornerstone to Agile, Flexible Command and Control
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL AIR FORCE RESEARCH INST
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0ne glaring lesson that the US Air Force should learn from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the need to empower subordinate commanders to meet the dynamic challenges of combat. History has repeatedly shown us that to attain our goals, frontline commanders must have the flexibility to outmaneuver and defeat the enemy. The Air Force has always recognized flexibility as a tenet of airpower and has traditionally sought to achieve it through its principle of centralized controldecentralized execution CC DE. The common practice of the theater commander Air Force forces COMAFFOR, who normally also serves as the theater combined force air component commander CFACC, supported by the theater combined air operations center CAOC, did not provide the integration and flexibility needed for the operations in either Iraq or Afghanistan. In those complex counterinsurgencies, the Air Force experienced an evolution of command and control C2 from air component coordination cells, to empowered cells, to air expeditionary task forces with delegated control authorities. In short, operational and tactical operations demanded more than the theater CFACC construct offered. They needed face-to-face integration between the air component and other coalition commanders to build trust1 understanding synergy and resiliency. Above all combat required commanders at all levels to be empowered to support the joint fight and defeat the enemy.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Command, Control and Communications Systems