School of Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States
This monograph examines the question of who should plan and control joint fires beyond the fire support coordination line FSCL. Since the Gulf War, the Army and Air Force have met at the annual Army-Air Force Warfighter Talks to reconcile doctrinal disparities in order to ensure their preeminence as the worlds finest air-land team. At the 1994 Talks, a working group was chartered to tackle the contentious issues that impact on the development of Joint doctrine One such issue was the friction over who should plan and control joint fires beyond FSCL.. Overlapping areas of responsibility create questions over control of combat assets. On a dynamic battlefield, the military cannot afford disagreements over targeting. As partners in the air-land team the two services must have a mutual understanding of command relationships to ensure smooth and seamless operations throughout the theater. The contentious issue over who should plan and control the use of combat assets beyond the FSCL requires resolution in order to enhance the JFCs ability to maximize the effects of joint fires and minimize friction between the Services. Ultimately, unresolved disagreements in a theater of war or operations could kill soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines. This monograph uses the Gulf War as case study to determine what lessons learned from that conflict helped shaped the Armys and Air Forces interpretations of how joint fires should be planned and controlled during a theater campaign. With interpretations identified, the author examines their impact on current and emerging service and joint doctrine. Finally an analysis of the doctrine will determine if the questions of who should plan and control joint fires beyond the FSCL is adequately addressed in current doctrine, emerging doctrine, or the issue requires further resolution.