Air wars demand more inter-service coordination.Incidents of friendly fire would be easier to prevent if the military services followed common guidelines for planning air campaigns and fire-support operations, experts said.
Each service abides by meticulous procedures and precise rules designed to prevent friendly forces from entering each other's air space and being misidentified as enemies. But these time-tested procedures are likely to lose relevance, as U.S. forces increasingly will fight in multi-service formations, in a non-linear battlefield where demarcations are fuzzy at best.
Defense Department officials and military commanders have praised the U.S. services operating in Iraq for combining their forces effectively, despite having disparate communications, and command and control systems.
"When we grew up, we worried about de-conflicting service forces. We threw the map on the deck. We drew the lines and everyone had to stay within their boundaries," said Marine Maj. Gen. Gordon C. Nash, commander of the Joint Warfighting Center and director of joint training. Now, "we are doing better. We are actually coordinating and integrating," Nash said at an industry conference.
But some experts caution that the old-fashioned approach to de-conflicting the battle zone is likely to hamper the services' efforts to fight more jointly and lead to future repeats of what U.S. forces experienced last year during Operation Anaconda Operation Anaconda is the code name for an operation in early March 2002 in which the United States military, along with allied Afghan military forces, attempted to destroy al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains southeast of Zormat. in Afghanistan.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. unofficial after-action reports from Anaconda Anaconda, city, United States
Anaconda (ănəkŏn`də), city (1990 pop. 10,278), seat of Deer Lodge co., SW Mont.; inc. 1887. , the Army and the Air Force had trouble coordinating fire-support operations, mostly because of disagreements over control of the air space.
Anaconda became a "wakeup call Wakeup Call is a morning radio program produced in New York City by the WBAI station of the Pacifica Radio Network. The program is hosted by Deepa Fernandes and airs Monday through Friday. " for the need to establish common guidelines to air-space de-confliction, said Mickey Gussow, an industry consultant who led a Navy-sponsored study on joint fires Fires produced during the employment of forces from two or more components in coordinated action toward a common objective. See also fires. de-confliction.
The Navy's surface warfare That portion of maritime warfare in which operations are conducted to destroy or neutralize enemy naval surface forces and merchant vessels. Also called SUW. division (N76) commissioned the study four years ago to the National Defense Industrial Association's Strike, Land Attack and Air Defense Committee.
"We are always trying to de-conflict. It's a very, very difficult problem," said Rear Adm. Mark J. Edwards, Navy deputy director for surface warfare.
Proof of that were the "blue-on-blue engagements" seen in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Edwards told National Defense.
Joint combat-identification exercises in recent years offered further evidence that the services have problems de-conflicting the air space, he said. "We know, through real world empirical data, that this is an area where we still have a lot of work to do."
In a joint air campaign, all the services simultaneously are "trying to track things through the air," he explained. De-confliction means being absolutely sure that everyone's targeting algorithms are measured by the same standards.
"If I have a plus or minus 1,000 feet, and you have a plus or minus 100 feet, I am not going to trust you to say 'go ahead and shoot,'" Edwards said. "I want you and I to have the same engineering algorithm behind the doctrine."
The study concluded that the current approach to air space de-confliction would make it difficult for the Navy to conduct "time-sensitive" strikes beyond the line of sight, without risking fires on friendly ground forces or having Navy missiles shot down by Army or Air Force air defenses. Time-sensitive strikes are planned within minutes, unlike strategic missions that take weeks to map out and coordinate.
The de-confliction problem is "more acute today, because longer range weapons are available and the exercise of joint operations A general term to describe military actions conducted by joint forces or by Service forces in relationships (e.g., support, coordinating authority) which, of themselves, do not create joint forces. missions calls into play concurrent types of operations characterized by the use of different weapons and platforms, which may occupy the same space at the same time," the study said. "No matter how well the military services plan and execute combat operations, many unanticipated things occur leading to chaos or what is called 'fog of war.'"
The Navy, specifically, wants to know the "dynamics of the air space," before it launches a land-attack strike ashore, said Steven Woodall, a member of the study panel. "There are differences in how each service approaches de-confliction and there is no common definition."
The panel members discovered that each service is comfortable with its own procedures and that most military officials interviewed for the study did not believe that large-scale changes were needed, Gussow said.
Edwards said that the Navy alone cannot address de-confliction issues and he wants the study committee to get the other services involved. The recommendations in the study, he said, were "all-Navy solutions, [so] I asked them to go back and look for joint solutions. ... We are not going to do it on our own."
Gussow said the panel hoped that Joint Forces Command would take the lead in getting the services to adopt common definitions and terminology in joint fire-support mission planning. According to the study, "there is no overall guidance or doctrine on de-confliction of joint fires.... No service has a written operational concept on the de-confliction of joint fires."
The services, meanwhile, are upgrading their systems to improve interoperability in joint-fires missions. A case in point is the Army's command and control technology for fire support, the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, which has been adopted by the Marine Corps and will be installed on several Navy ships.
By linking the AFATDS AFATDS Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (US Army)
AFATDS Army Field Artillery Tactical Data System (US Army)
AFATDS Air Force Airborne Tactical Data System (USAF) with the Air Force war-planning command and control system (called the Theater Battle Management Core System), the services can automatically de-conflict their fire missions, said Steve Bohan, technical director for AFATDS. The data shared by these systems can help the commander assess "the real risk of a mission," Bohan said in an interview. The Army's 10th Mountain Division, which led Operation Anaconda, did not have this technology available, because it did not deploy artillery systems.
The AFATDS also will interface with the Navy Fire Control System, which still is in development, said Bohan.
"AFATDS is a key system in the joint fires network for the Army, Marine Corps and Navy," said Army Lt. Col. Jim Chapman James Louis "Jim" Chapman (born March 8, 1945 in Washington, D.C.) is an American business and political leader. From 1985 to 1997, he served as Democratic Congressman representing the Texas's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. , product manager for fire support.
Another system that shows promise as a fires-coordination aid is the ADOCS ADOCS Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (US DoD)
ADOCS Advanced Digital Optical Control System (US Army)
ADOCS Air Defense Operations Center System (automated deep operations Deep operations was a military doctrine developed by the Soviet Union for its armed forces during the 1920s and 1930s. It was fully developed with the 1936 Field Regulations. control system). Even though the technology is not mature, it proved it can be useful in integrating the services' planning tools, said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. James B. Smith. ADOCS was successfully employed during the 2002 Millennium Challenge war-fighting experiment, which Smith coordinated.
Even though technologies such as ADOCS can be "very powerful" as a means of forcing integration, there is no one single right answer to the problem, Smith said.
One significant hurdle that impedes "jointness" is the word "de-confliction" itself, which is the accepted terminology among the services, but reflects the "old construct of war fighting," Smith said.
"The word de-confliction is a problem," he stressed. "It does not apply in a non-linear battlefield. But everything about de-confliction is about lines."
A more appropriate substitute for de-confliction would be "integration," Smith said. Integration, however, "is a huge challenge."
The best example of effective combined-arms operations in the Defense Department today is the Marine Corps air-ground task force--known as MAGTF MAGTF Marine Air-Ground Task Force . Marine formations deploy as integrated MAGTFs of various sizes. "The Marines understand joint command and control the best and are comfortable with it, because they operate in a MAGTF," said Smith. "In the joint world, we need to integrate, like the Marines integrate combined arms Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects.
Though the lower-echelon units of a combined arms team may be of homogeneous types, a balanced mixture of such units are combined into an in a MAGTF."
Army VIP Transports Vulnerable to Shoulder-Fired Missiles
Army pilots flying VIP transport aircraft in Iraq claim that their missions are becoming unduly risky, because their planes have no protection against man-portable air-defense missiles.
The threat of manpads has been a growing concern for aviators Well-known aviators
People largely known for their contributions to the history of aviation
While all of these people were pilots (and some still are), many are also noted for contributions in areas such as aircraft design and manufacturing, navigation or from the B company 2nd Battalion of the 228th Aviation Regiment, who shuttle military and civilian VIPs in and out of Balad, Iraq Balad (Arabic: بلد) is a city 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Baghdad in Iraq. It is located within the borders of the so-called Sunni Triangle; however, Balad is a primarily Shiite town of approximately 100,000. .
The Army reserve unit-based at Fort Rucker Fort Rucker is a U.S. Army post located mostly in Dale County, Alabama. It was named for Confederate General Edmund Rucker. The post is the primary flight training base for Army Aviation and is home to the United States Army Aviation Warfighting Center (USAAWC) and the United , Ala., and Dobbins Air Reserve Base Dobbins Air Reserve Base (KMGE) is a U.S. Air Force Reserve base located in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb about 20 miles or 30 kilometers northwest of Atlanta. It serves as the home station of the 94th Airlift Wing and its fleet of Hercules C-130 aircraft, and is the headquarters for . Ga.--has 77 of its members deployed in Iraq. It operates three C-12R1 Beechcraft King Air This article is about 90 and 100 Series King Airs. For 200 and 300 Series King Airs, see the Beechcraft Super King Air article.
The Beechcraft King Air turbo-props and one UC-35B Cessna Citation The Cessna Citation is a marketing name used by Cessna for its lines of business jets. Rather than one particular model of aircraft, the name applies to several "families" of turbofan-powered aircraft which have been produced over the years. business jet
These are "off-the-shelf civilian business aircraft with high-gloss paint and diplomatic markings," but they are nevertheless being flown in a combat zone, and therefore should be better protected against shoulder-fired missiles, said Chief Warrant Officer Robert E Jones, a Beechcraft pilot instructor.
Each of the airplanes is equipped with a military, transponder A receiver/transmitter on a communications satellite. It receives a microwave signal from earth (uplink), amplifies it and retransmits it back to earth at a different frequency (downlink). A satellite has several transponders. , but has countermeasures against surface-to-air missiles This is a list of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Radar-guided SAMs
Sessions was born in Selma, Alabama to Abbie Powe and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jr. , R-Ala.
"Restrictions have been put on the use of our aircraft," said Chief Warrant Officer William Lovett William Lovett (Born Newlyn, Cornwall 1800 died 1877) was a British activist and an important leader of the political movement Chartism. One of the leading London-based Artisan Radicals of his generation, Lovett believed that political rights could be garnered through political , a 012 pilot "The manpads threat is high. One of the mitigating measures taken by our chain of command is "limited flying"
The missions in and out of Sustainer Army Airfield, in Balad, only occur in daylight hours, because the airfield is not equipped for night flying. Balad is 42 nautical miles north of Baghdad.
"Our major threat concern is from SA-Ts, due to the volume of unaccounted unaccounted
unaccounted for unable to be found or traced: four people were killed in the floods, and eleven remain unaccounted for
unaccounted adj systems, their simplicity of firing and ease of concealment," said Jones.
One day in mid-July, "U.S. and British tactical aircraft were fired on by man-carried anti-aircraft missiles," Jones wrote in the letter to Sessions. "Their defensive systems and evasive actions prevented a disaster. Had the same missiles been used against any of our aircraft, the crew and passengers would have died."
So far, none of the 2/228th aircraft has been acquired or attacked. Further, B company pilots say were never trained for combat operations using these aircraft.
Pilots wonder why the Army does not follow the same policy as the Air Force, whose 0130 Hercules and C-17 cargo planes have defensive systems, as mandated by the Air Mobility Command (National Defense, August 2003 p.28), Defensive systems include infrared suppressive sup·pres·sive
Tending or serving to suppress.
Adj. 1. suppressive - tending to suppress; "the government used suppressive measures to control the protest" paint, exhaust diffusers, infrared and radar warning systems. infrared and radar jamming equipment, flare and chaff chaff
1. chaffed hay; called also chop.
2. the winnowings from a threshing, consisting of awns, husks, glumes and other relatively indigestible materials. dispensers.
"Realistically, it would take months, if not years, for the Army procurement process to develop and install defensive systems on our aircraft." said Jones. "We have been told that the Army Reserve Command has asked Congress for the funds to acquire defensive systems for our planes."
The Army's public affairs office in Baghdad did not respond to questions from National Defense concerning this issue.
The VIPs that the 2/228th typically fly are general officers and senior civilians from Ambassador Paul Bremer's office, said Jones.
As a defensive tactic, helicopters Patrol the Balad airfield prior to takeoffs and landings, "This may help in keeping the insurgents' heads down," Jones said. "However, it is not an adequate replacement for defensive systems." All helicopters in Iraq are equipped with both offensive and defensive systems.
Before the unit was sent to Baled, most of the 2/228th flights had been from Kuwait to Baghdad and back. "we have tried to mitigate the risk by flying high and doing high speed descents and climbs," explained Jones.
Last month, the commander of U.S.-led forces in Iraq, Army Lt Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, told the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times that American officials were seeking to curtail the proliferation of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles by purchasing them from Iraqis at $500 a piece.--Sandra I. Erwin