Air Power Against An Army

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by A.V., Aug 5, 2010.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    AIRPOWER AGAINST AN ARMY

    CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE IN CENTAF’S DUEL WITH THE REPUBLICAN GUARD.



    BY

    WILLIAM F. ANDREWS

    A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF

    THE SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES

    FOR COMPLETION OF GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

    SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES

    AIR UNIVERSITY

    MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA






    ABSTRACT

    In January and February 1991, Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) conducted an air-to-ground onslaught against Iraq’s Republican Guard. The requirements of this operation conflicted with several aspects of the U.S. Air Force’s preparations for a European battleground. The low-altitude tactics CENTAF crews had practiced for the previous decade and a half were unsuitable for the task at hand.

    This study examines how effectively CENTAF adjusted air operations against the Republican Guards to the changing realities of combat. The extent to which existing USAF doctrine prepared CENTAF for this operation provides a baseline for the amount of adaptation required. The subsequent narrative identifies tactical innovations developed during the operation, the main elements of adaptive process, those factors that helped and hindered the process, and the sources of CENTAF’s innovations.

    Initial F-16 and B-52 attacks on the Republican Guard registered little success. In response, CENTAF launched six significant tactical innovations in one week: A-10 deep interdiction, A-10 reconnaissance, F-16 Killer Scout operations, F-16 forward basing, F-111 and F-15E "Tank Plinking," and the use of cockpit videotape as a bomb damage assessment (BDA) source. These innovations required CENTAF aviators to create new tactics as they conducted operations. CENTAF’s effectiveness against the Guard divisions improved, resulting in greater destruction of Iraqi forces. Critically weakened by air attack, the two Guard divisions that stood and fought were annihilated during the campaign’s ground phase.

    CENTAF’s adaptation to the realities of war in the Gulf, accomplished with impressive speed, was facilitated by four conditions. Air superiority created a permissive environment for innovative tactics. Open-minded attitudes of senior commanders nurtured the growth of new methods from all quadrants, allowing innovative ideas to flow freely up and down the chain of command. The commander’s faith in motivated and well-trained subordinates allowed units to find optimal solutions to complex problems in minimum time. Personal initiative cultivated on U.S. training and tactics ranges, in the classrooms at Nellis AFB, and flight briefing rooms across the USAF was the bedrock of the adaptation process. Although CENTAF did not precisely "fight the way it trained," the Air Force’s mantra, "flexibility is the key to airpower," was reaffirmed by CENTAF’s adaptive process. Such flexibility should be perpetuated during peacetime in order to provide the Air Force the mental, physical, and organizational capability to adapt in future conflicts.
     
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  3. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    Introduction

    For nearly two decades the United States Air Force oriented the bulk of its thinking, acquisition, planning, and training on the threat of a Soviet blitzkrieg across the inter-German border. The Air Force fielded a powerful conventional arm well-rehearsed in the tactics required to operate over a central European battlefield. In a matter of days, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait altered key assumptions that had been developed over the previous decade and a half. The USAF would face a different foe employing a different military doctrine, in an unexpected environment. Instead of disrupting a fast-paced land offensive, the combat wings of United States Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) were ordered to attack a large, well-fortified, and dispersed Iraqi ground force. The heart of that ground force was the Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC). CENTAF’s mission dictated the need to develop an unfamiliar repertoire of tactics and procedures to meet theater objectives. This requirement for change leads to the question: how effectively did CENTAF adjust air operations against the Republican Guards to the changing realities of combat?

    The answer to this question resides in the innovations developed by CENTAF to improve its operational and tactical performance against the Republican Guard. Effectiveness and timeliness are the primary criteria for evaluating innovations.

    Although CENTAF conducted operations against a variety of Iraqi organizations, all requiring some degree of adaptation, the operations against the Republican Guard are the subject of this study for three reasons. First, the Republican Guard was the most important element of the Iraqi Army; because its defeat guaranteed the defeat of the remainder, it captured much of CENTAF’s efforts and attention. Second, changes to operations against the RGFC provide a significant case for analyzing wartime adaptation. USAF doctrine that outlined operations against a land force was based on assumptions different than those encountered in the Persian Gulf. As a result, air operations against the Guard units underwent several changes during the war, validating the need to adapt preconceived tactics and procedures during war. Third, operations against the Republican Guard reflect the limits to a study of this scope.

    This study will examine the extent to which existing USAF doctrine prepared CENTAF for its mission against the Republican Guards. How closely Air Force doctrine "fit" the situation at hand will provide a baseline for the amount of adaptation required. Examination of CENTAF’s adaptation will also attempt to identify the main elements of adaptive process, those factors that helped and hindered the process, and the sources of CENTAF’s innovations.

    This study is confined to Air Force operations against the Republican Guard within the Kuwait theater of operations (KTO). The CENTAF commander, Lt Gen Charles Horner, directed USAF, Navy, Marine, and Allied air units, but the main weight of the air effort against the RGFC was generated by the United States Air Force.

    Most documentary evidence used in this study was obtained from the USAF Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Its extensive collection of documents and briefing slides is only partially usable due to the secret classification assigned to most of the Gulf War materials. Some declassified excerpts are reproduced in the Gulf War Air Power Survey, which also provides important Gulf War statistical data. Personal accounts in professional military journals were useful additional sources. Much business during the war was conducted over the phone, with little documentation. Personal interviews, therefore, were an important source of information. Because this study deals with ideas and their origins, some uncertainty exists four years after the fact.

    The discussion that follows examines the theoretical basis for adaptation during war, definitions, and criteria to evaluate innovations. The theory is followed by a description of the combatants, their doctrines, and the USAF’s plan for defeating the Republican Guard. The ensuing narrative of the first ten days of air attacks on the RGFC suggests CENTAF saw the need to adapt. The section that follows describes several major innovations that were incorporated into the air campaign. A relatively static period followed, culminating in the ground war that subjected USAF efforts against the Republican Guards to a final audit.

    Conclusions of this study, springing from one specific set of conditions, may not apply to all situations in the future. One other significant limitation of this study is that a true measurement of effectiveness on Guard units cannot be known without Iraqi assistance and, even with that, Iraqi knowledge of the status of their own forces is questionable. Iraqi defector and POW debriefings would help, but these reports are classified and cannot be cited.
     
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    The Innovation Imperative

    I am tempted indeed to declare dogmatically that whatever doctrine the armed forces are working on now, they have got it wrong. I am also tempted to declare that it does not matter that they have got it wrong. What does matter is their capacity to get it right quickly when the moment arrives.

    Michael Howard

    Innovations bridge the gaps that separate doctrines developed in peacetime from the realities of war. They range from minor modifications of existing procedures to fundamental changes that establish entirely new methods. They should be evaluated in terms of timeliness and effectiveness.

    Military doctrines and practices established in peacetime are designed to meet the anticipated challenges of war. Based on past experiences and a vision of how future conflict should be fought, a military organization’s doctrine is "a codified and sanctioned body of propositions related to war and conflict" that link theory and practice. Serving as a point of departure for all of a service’s activities, doctrine defines how that service intends to fight, how it will be organized, and with what weapons it will fight.

    A military organization’s practices are equal in importance to its doctrine because methods exercised in peacetime result in the formulation of common perceptions of how war should and will be waged in the future by those who will do the fighting. Peacetime training forms patterns and establishes standard operating procedures. Doctrine and practices have an interactive relationship, each taking the lead at times and producing change in the other.

    The reality of war will differ from that which is anticipated in peacetime. This stems from an inability adequately to predict the continuing multitudinous changes that influence the conduct of war. Technological changes are especially problematic, as those who formulate doctrine may not recognize technical opportunities or imperatives until it is too late. Doctrines based on experience may fail due to altered circumstances, while those based on theory may fail due to lack of feedback. American military doctrine is especially vulnerable to being undermined by invalidated assumptions because we are hard-pressed to identify accurately our next opponent.

    Doctrine and practices must change to meet the demands of the new realities encountered on the field of battle. Military adaptation during war is the process by which a military institution modifies its methods to meet the changing requirements of the wartime environment. This process of military adaptation involves a form of organizational learning through which military institutions change in response to experience and find more effective or efficient methods of waging war. Success may be possible without adaptation, but will come at an increased cost in terms of time, treasure, or blood. Conversely, useful adaptation does not guarantee success. The German Army, for example, adapted well to the realities of the First and Second World War battlefields, yet Germany lost both wars. "First-rate operational and tactical performance is a virtue to be sought by those responsible for military forces," stated Lt Gen John H. Cushman. Adaptation is required to achieve "first-rate" performance.

    One product of adaptation in war is military innovation: a change that deviates from doctrine or practices established in peacetime. Stephen P. Rosen distinguishes between peacetime, wartime, and technological innovations and the unique challenges of each. Acknowledging the importance of each, this study concentrates on tactical innovation during war.

    The amount of innovation required is dependent on how closely established doctrine and procedures match battlefield realities. A wing trained and equipped to wage intercontinental nuclear war sent to fight guerrillas is likely to require more extensive innovations to succeed than a unit trained to perform close air support. Wartime innovations can be categorized as minor, major, or fundamental; and are easily thought of in terms of modified methods. Rosen, however, emphasizes the possibility of adopting altered military objectives as an innovation. Blending the two criteria, I consider a minor innovation to be a modification of existing methods towards an anticipated objective. Improving tactical formations to maximize visual search within the context of an existing mission is an example of a tactical innovation. A major innovation is the substitution of existing or modified methods in unexpected combinations towards an anticipated or modified objective. The use of U.S. Army Apache and USAF special operations helicopters to attack the Iraqi early warning system the first night of Desert Storm is one such unexpected combination. A fundamental innovation is the replacement of existing methods with unprecedented methods or the replacement of an existing objective with an entirely new objective. The change in the objective of Eighth Air Force’s long range fighters from protecting the bombers to seeking out and attacking Luftwaffe fighters as a means to enable strategic bombing attacks is one such replacement of objective.

    Innovations are judged in terms of effectiveness and timeliness. An innovation is effective if it improves operational progress towards the objective, while saving time, manpower, or materiel, or if it produces enhanced results with an equal expenditure of resources. An innovation that yields little change in effectiveness is of limited value. An innovation is timely if it takes effect within the planned campaign schedule. Subjective consideration, however, must be given to unnecessary losses of material, manpower or time during the interval required to implement the innovation. Because an adversary’s adaptive process will attempt to negate one’s actions, there are advantages of one’s own adaptive process being faster than the enemy’s.

    There appears to be a tension, however, between the breadth and timeliness of an innovation. In order to limit enemy ability to react to an innovation, delayed, but widespread implementation may be more beneficial than a very rapid piecemeal change. One example of a premature innovation was the first British tank attack at the Somme, which allowed the Germans time to develop countermeasures and sacrificed the potential surprise of a mass tank attack. Attacks against command and control nodes may relieve some of this scale-timeliness tension by decreasing the enemy capability to detect, analyze, and react to innovations.

    Because innovations are the offspring of unique circumstances they are unlikely to be of permanent value. The process of adaptation, however, may yield insights that could facilitate the formulation of future innovations. Cushman divides military responses (adaptation) into "insight" and "execution"; it appears beneficial to disaggregate the process further in order to better identify the elements necessary for successful adaptation.

    An operable system of command and control (C2) is assumed to be a necessary element of the adaptation process, otherwise adaptation takes place randomly. There are several alternative models of command and control, but the observe-orient-decide-act cycle (or OODA loop), identified by Colonel John Boyd is one of the most widely recognized, and it does a credible job approximating reality. The OODA loop, which divides C2 into separate functions of observe, orient, decide, act, appears to be useful for identifying elements of adaptation. All four functions are normally required for effective C2 and appear to be required for effective adaptation. No function, however, is easily accomplished in wartime. Each step of the process must surmount formidable obstacles. If a step is obstructed, innovation is unlikely. Likewise, a series of impediments could have a cumulative effect on the entire system and prevent adaptation.

    "Observation" describes the gathering of data regarding the status of enemy and friendly forces, the battlefield, or other significant areas of interest. Observation must be continuous. Before battle is joined, it is needed for the formulation of plans; once fighting begins, it is needed to detect the new reality that results from the initial battle and enemy reactions. It may include surveillance by a variety of sensors, subordinate units or individuals; it has often included direct observation of the battle by the commander. Observation is a necessary element of adaptation because it is required to detect changed or unanticipated realities of the battlefield. It is an indispensable precondition of accurate orientation, the next step in the OODA process. Recognizing the need for observation von Moltke decreed: "the most precise possible knowledge of the situation is an absolute prerequisite for giving correct and appropriate orders."

    There are considerable obstacles to effective observation and, therefore, to adaptation. Labeling many intelligence reports in war "contradictory," "false," or "uncertain," Clausewitz adopts a pessimistic view of the commander’s ability of the to penetrate the uncertainties of war. Limitations of intelligence collection systems can be compounded by active measures employed by a thinking adversary to confound accurate observation. If the enemy is successful, adaptation is unlikely because the need to change is unlikely to be perceived. Addressing fundamental innovations, Stephen Rosen shares Clausewitz’s pessimism on the ability to gather needed information: "intelligence relevant to innovation very likely will not be available in wartime, and wartime innovation is likely to be limited in its impact."

    "Orientation" describes the translation of data into useful information; its product is the organization’s perception of reality. Boyd considered orientation the most important part of the OODA loop: "orientation is the schwerpunkt. It shapes the way we interact with the environment--hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act." Analysis and synthesis of an organization’s observations should contribute to the formulation of insights into difficulties experienced on the battlefield. With the formulation of these vital insights, the need to adapt can be perceived. Orientation is a necessary element of adaptation and must result in the perception that a need or opportunity exists to improve performance. Adaptation can be expected as a response to the challenges of war, but it may also spring from the realization that an opportunity to achieve enhanced results exists. Chance events that improve performance may be observed, and if perceived as favorable, the decision to incorporate them can be made.

    The synthesis of imperfect reports from a variety of sources is difficult from both the organizational and the personal perspectives. Martin van Creveld clearly illustrated the many organizational obstacles faced by military staffs in handling the increased information available (and required) to wage war, labeling them "information pathologies." Affirming Van Creveld’s findings, a recent article on Desert Storm noted organizational "blind spots" due to information overload and undue attention given to particular forms of information. Personal obstacles to accurate orientation are equally formidable, including "superficial thinking. . .self-satisfaction, complacency, and arrogance." Emotions that spring from war can cloud the mind in what Clausewitz referred to as a "psychological fog" obstructing "clear and complete insights"

    "Decision" describes the formulation of courses of action and their selection. At this point alternative solutions are evaluated and optimal solutions selected. The formulation of new solutions is contingent on the participant’s ability to imagine and articulate new options. It is the role of the organization to cultivate, encourage, and recognize valuable solutions. It then falls on the commander to decide whether or not to implement new solutions, or to delegate sufficient freedom of action to make such decisions at lower levels. The cultivation of ideas and the decisions to implement them are necessary for adaptation. Intuition, creativity, and imagination are all individual characteristics of the commander, his staff, and subordinates that can lead to the initiation of an innovation. For a proposed innovation to have an effect it must be implemented, which hinges on the decision of someone in a position of authority.

    Obstacles to formulating or selecting appropriate courses of action include a lack of flexibility in the mind of the commander, lack of flexibility in doctrine (dogma), or lack of organizational flexibility. Commanders who believe they have all the answers can be a tremendous obstacle to innovation: Sir Douglas Haig is widely viewed as the epitome of inflexible thinking. As one biographer notes: "before the war, Haig was quite sure he had uncovered all the rules of war. He was equally certain that these rules had to be accepted as dogma and not weakened by debate." Rigid military hierarchies or organizations can restrict the flow of ideas either through many levels of command, or restricted means of communication. For organizations with the requisite flexibility, anticipated costs of implementation may give sufficient cause for rejection of a potential innovation. All aspects of a potential innovation may not be beneficial; a gain in one area may penalize another.

    "Action" describes the implementation of plans, i.e. combat operations, although it may also entail changes to organizations, procedures, or equipment. Although it may be easy to concentrate attention to only the actions of one’s military forces and the effects of their activities on the enemy, there is another important dimension of action. Every decision must be transmitted through the organization in order for it to be implemented. Planning, coordination, training and, execution are all part of the process.

    If innovations are not successfully implemented the adaptive process fails. Ultimately, it is the output of the process of adaptation, the modified method itself, that will interact with the changing wartime environment. It is here--when actions are implemented--that innovations affect the system and should be graded for effectiveness and timeliness. It should be noted, however, that innovations cannot be graded without further observation and orientation

    The difficulties encountered while carrying out plans during war constitute a considerable impediment to adaptation. These difficulties include poor communications, inadequate understanding of orders, inflexible attitudes, or imperfect execution. Labeled "friction" by Clausewitz, these myriad difficulties combine to turn war into "a medium that impedes activity" which must be overcome by "iron will-power." There is also the danger that an innovation may exceed the unit’s ability to carry it out. Timothy Lupfer’s examination of the German tactical adaptation in the First World War noted the Germans were attentive to their Army’s ability to perform because "an army that adopts tactical doctrine that it cannot apply will greatly multiply its misfortune." Excessive caution, on the other hand can be equally costly. Overly concerned with the ability of its crews to execute complex tactics, SAC headquarters dictated predictable tactics during the first days of Operation Linebacker II, increasing risk to the bomber crews and perhaps suffering unnecessary losses.

    In a large military organization, numerous individuals and sub-units accomplish part or all of the functions described. Discrete functions or the entire process may be accomplished at more than one echelon simultaneously, leading to the question: at what level are innovations developed? Since observation and action responsibilities are normally clearly defined, a more specific question is: at what level does the orientation and decision take place?

    There are three potential hypotheses: top-down, bottom-up, or a combination of the two. A top-down process involves a headquarters staff (at the theater or possibly national level) that analyzes reports from the field, develops innovations (possibly by refining suggestions from sub-units) and disseminates them to the command. This process was used by the German Army to adapt tactical doctrine to realities of the Western Front in World War I, and the Red Army to find a suitable operational doctrine against the Wehrmacht during World War II. Both involved orderly, centralized processes that disseminated changes uniformly across the theater. The drawbacks to centralized change are that it is potentially less responsive to immediate requirements, nor is it well suited for handling unique local conditions.

    Bottom-up adaptation starts at the tactical unit level. Innovations are developed quickly in response to immediate problems and tactical units then advise headquarters. Headquarters then advises other units of ideas and lessons learned. During World War II, the U.S. Army used bottom-up adaptation to adjust tactics to conditions encountered in the campaigns for France and Germany, capitalizing on "Yankee ingenuity. . . a hallmark of U.S. commercial production and manufacturing . . . that also accompanies [American] soldiers to the battlefield." Bottom up adaptations, it is argued, are more responsive to local conditions and better suited where incremental changes are desirable. The decentralized approach, however, is not well suited when fundamental changes are required or situations are beyond unit capabilities to handle.

    There is the possibility of a third option, which is that innovations originate from both sources and flow both directions. Theoretically, this arrangement could permit fundamental or widespread adaptations to be directed from above, yet permit tactical units the flexibility to quickly adapt to immediate needs. This possibility would require organizational flexibility of the headquarters as it would be required to perform both advisory and directive functions. A means to resolve conflicting guidance might also be required.

    To recapitulate, issues to consider in examining the attack on the Republican Guards are: what was USAF prewar doctrine; how much adaptation was required to cope with the realities of war; how effective and timely were CENTAF’s innovations, what facilitated or hindered adaptation, and from where did changes originate? Because Operation Desert Storm pitted the USAF directly against the Republican Guard, it is important to describe these opposing forces.
     
  5. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    The Innovation Imperative

    I am tempted indeed to declare dogmatically that whatever doctrine the armed forces are working on now, they have got it wrong. I am also tempted to declare that it does not matter that they have got it wrong. What does matter is their capacity to get it right quickly when the moment arrives.

    Michael Howard

    Innovations bridge the gaps that separate doctrines developed in peacetime from the realities of war. They range from minor modifications of existing procedures to fundamental changes that establish entirely new methods. They should be evaluated in terms of timeliness and effectiveness.

    Military doctrines and practices established in peacetime are designed to meet the anticipated challenges of war. Based on past experiences and a vision of how future conflict should be fought, a military organization’s doctrine is "a codified and sanctioned body of propositions related to war and conflict" that link theory and practice. Serving as a point of departure for all of a service’s activities, doctrine defines how that service intends to fight, how it will be organized, and with what weapons it will fight.

    A military organization’s practices are equal in importance to its doctrine because methods exercised in peacetime result in the formulation of common perceptions of how war should and will be waged in the future by those who will do the fighting. Peacetime training forms patterns and establishes standard operating procedures. Doctrine and practices have an interactive relationship, each taking the lead at times and producing change in the other.

    The reality of war will differ from that which is anticipated in peacetime. This stems from an inability adequately to predict the continuing multitudinous changes that influence the conduct of war. Technological changes are especially problematic, as those who formulate doctrine may not recognize technical opportunities or imperatives until it is too late. Doctrines based on experience may fail due to altered circumstances, while those based on theory may fail due to lack of feedback. American military doctrine is especially vulnerable to being undermined by invalidated assumptions because we are hard-pressed to identify accurately our next opponent.

    Doctrine and practices must change to meet the demands of the new realities encountered on the field of battle. Military adaptation during war is the process by which a military institution modifies its methods to meet the changing requirements of the wartime environment. This process of military adaptation involves a form of organizational learning through which military institutions change in response to experience and find more effective or efficient methods of waging war. Success may be possible without adaptation, but will come at an increased cost in terms of time, treasure, or blood. Conversely, useful adaptation does not guarantee success. The German Army, for example, adapted well to the realities of the First and Second World War battlefields, yet Germany lost both wars. "First-rate operational and tactical performance is a virtue to be sought by those responsible for military forces," stated Lt Gen John H. Cushman. Adaptation is required to achieve "first-rate" performance.

    One product of adaptation in war is military innovation: a change that deviates from doctrine or practices established in peacetime. Stephen P. Rosen distinguishes between peacetime, wartime, and technological innovations and the unique challenges of each. Acknowledging the importance of each, this study concentrates on tactical innovation during war.

    The amount of innovation required is dependent on how closely established doctrine and procedures match battlefield realities. A wing trained and equipped to wage intercontinental nuclear war sent to fight guerrillas is likely to require more extensive innovations to succeed than a unit trained to perform close air support. Wartime innovations can be categorized as minor, major, or fundamental; and are easily thought of in terms of modified methods. Rosen, however, emphasizes the possibility of adopting altered military objectives as an innovation. Blending the two criteria, I consider a minor innovation to be a modification of existing methods towards an anticipated objective. Improving tactical formations to maximize visual search within the context of an existing mission is an example of a tactical innovation. A major innovation is the substitution of existing or modified methods in unexpected combinations towards an anticipated or modified objective. The use of U.S. Army Apache and USAF special operations helicopters to attack the Iraqi early warning system the first night of Desert Storm is one such unexpected combination. A fundamental innovation is the replacement of existing methods with unprecedented methods or the replacement of an existing objective with an entirely new objective. The change in the objective of Eighth Air Force’s long range fighters from protecting the bombers to seeking out and attacking Luftwaffe fighters as a means to enable strategic bombing attacks is one such replacement of objective.

    Innovations are judged in terms of effectiveness and timeliness. An innovation is effective if it improves operational progress towards the objective, while saving time, manpower, or materiel, or if it produces enhanced results with an equal expenditure of resources. An innovation that yields little change in effectiveness is of limited value. An innovation is timely if it takes effect within the planned campaign schedule. Subjective consideration, however, must be given to unnecessary losses of material, manpower or time during the interval required to implement the innovation. Because an adversary’s adaptive process will attempt to negate one’s actions, there are advantages of one’s own adaptive process being faster than the enemy’s.

    There appears to be a tension, however, between the breadth and timeliness of an innovation. In order to limit enemy ability to react to an innovation, delayed, but widespread implementation may be more beneficial than a very rapid piecemeal change. One example of a premature innovation was the first British tank attack at the Somme, which allowed the Germans time to develop countermeasures and sacrificed the potential surprise of a mass tank attack. Attacks against command and control nodes may relieve some of this scale-timeliness tension by decreasing the enemy capability to detect, analyze, and react to innovations.

    Because innovations are the offspring of unique circumstances they are unlikely to be of permanent value. The process of adaptation, however, may yield insights that could facilitate the formulation of future innovations. Cushman divides military responses (adaptation) into "insight" and "execution"; it appears beneficial to disaggregate the process further in order to better identify the elements necessary for successful adaptation.

    An operable system of command and control (C2) is assumed to be a necessary element of the adaptation process, otherwise adaptation takes place randomly. There are several alternative models of command and control, but the observe-orient-decide-act cycle (or OODA loop), identified by Colonel John Boyd is one of the most widely recognized, and it does a credible job approximating reality. The OODA loop, which divides C2 into separate functions of observe, orient, decide, act, appears to be useful for identifying elements of adaptation. All four functions are normally required for effective C2 and appear to be required for effective adaptation. No function, however, is easily accomplished in wartime. Each step of the process must surmount formidable obstacles. If a step is obstructed, innovation is unlikely. Likewise, a series of impediments could have a cumulative effect on the entire system and prevent adaptation.

    "Observation" describes the gathering of data regarding the status of enemy and friendly forces, the battlefield, or other significant areas of interest. Observation must be continuous. Before battle is joined, it is needed for the formulation of plans; once fighting begins, it is needed to detect the new reality that results from the initial battle and enemy reactions. It may include surveillance by a variety of sensors, subordinate units or individuals; it has often included direct observation of the battle by the commander. Observation is a necessary element of adaptation because it is required to detect changed or unanticipated realities of the battlefield. It is an indispensable precondition of accurate orientation, the next step in the OODA process. Recognizing the need for observation von Moltke decreed: "the most precise possible knowledge of the situation is an absolute prerequisite for giving correct and appropriate orders."

    There are considerable obstacles to effective observation and, therefore, to adaptation. Labeling many intelligence reports in war "contradictory," "false," or "uncertain," Clausewitz adopts a pessimistic view of the commander’s ability of the to penetrate the uncertainties of war. Limitations of intelligence collection systems can be compounded by active measures employed by a thinking adversary to confound accurate observation. If the enemy is successful, adaptation is unlikely because the need to change is unlikely to be perceived. Addressing fundamental innovations, Stephen Rosen shares Clausewitz’s pessimism on the ability to gather needed information: "intelligence relevant to innovation very likely will not be available in wartime, and wartime innovation is likely to be limited in its impact."

    "Orientation" describes the translation of data into useful information; its product is the organization’s perception of reality. Boyd considered orientation the most important part of the OODA loop: "orientation is the schwerpunkt. It shapes the way we interact with the environment--hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act." Analysis and synthesis of an organization’s observations should contribute to the formulation of insights into difficulties experienced on the battlefield. With the formulation of these vital insights, the need to adapt can be perceived. Orientation is a necessary element of adaptation and must result in the perception that a need or opportunity exists to improve performance. Adaptation can be expected as a response to the challenges of war, but it may also spring from the realization that an opportunity to achieve enhanced results exists. Chance events that improve performance may be observed, and if perceived as favorable, the decision to incorporate them can be made.

    The synthesis of imperfect reports from a variety of sources is difficult from both the organizational and the personal perspectives. Martin van Creveld clearly illustrated the many organizational obstacles faced by military staffs in handling the increased information available (and required) to wage war, labeling them "information pathologies." Affirming Van Creveld’s findings, a recent article on Desert Storm noted organizational "blind spots" due to information overload and undue attention given to particular forms of information. Personal obstacles to accurate orientation are equally formidable, including "superficial thinking. . .self-satisfaction, complacency, and arrogance." Emotions that spring from war can cloud the mind in what Clausewitz referred to as a "psychological fog" obstructing "clear and complete insights"

    "Decision" describes the formulation of courses of action and their selection. At this point alternative solutions are evaluated and optimal solutions selected. The formulation of new solutions is contingent on the participant’s ability to imagine and articulate new options. It is the role of the organization to cultivate, encourage, and recognize valuable solutions. It then falls on the commander to decide whether or not to implement new solutions, or to delegate sufficient freedom of action to make such decisions at lower levels. The cultivation of ideas and the decisions to implement them are necessary for adaptation. Intuition, creativity, and imagination are all individual characteristics of the commander, his staff, and subordinates that can lead to the initiation of an innovation. For a proposed innovation to have an effect it must be implemented, which hinges on the decision of someone in a position of authority.

    Obstacles to formulating or selecting appropriate courses of action include a lack of flexibility in the mind of the commander, lack of flexibility in doctrine (dogma), or lack of organizational flexibility. Commanders who believe they have all the answers can be a tremendous obstacle to innovation: Sir Douglas Haig is widely viewed as the epitome of inflexible thinking. As one biographer notes: "before the war, Haig was quite sure he had uncovered all the rules of war. He was equally certain that these rules had to be accepted as dogma and not weakened by debate." Rigid military hierarchies or organizations can restrict the flow of ideas either through many levels of command, or restricted means of communication. For organizations with the requisite flexibility, anticipated costs of implementation may give sufficient cause for rejection of a potential innovation. All aspects of a potential innovation may not be beneficial; a gain in one area may penalize another.

    "Action" describes the implementation of plans, i.e. combat operations, although it may also entail changes to organizations, procedures, or equipment. Although it may be easy to concentrate attention to only the actions of one’s military forces and the effects of their activities on the enemy, there is another important dimension of action. Every decision must be transmitted through the organization in order for it to be implemented. Planning, coordination, training and, execution are all part of the process.

    If innovations are not successfully implemented the adaptive process fails. Ultimately, it is the output of the process of adaptation, the modified method itself, that will interact with the changing wartime environment. It is here--when actions are implemented--that innovations affect the system and should be graded for effectiveness and timeliness. It should be noted, however, that innovations cannot be graded without further observation and orientation

    The difficulties encountered while carrying out plans during war constitute a considerable impediment to adaptation. These difficulties include poor communications, inadequate understanding of orders, inflexible attitudes, or imperfect execution. Labeled "friction" by Clausewitz, these myriad difficulties combine to turn war into "a medium that impedes activity" which must be overcome by "iron will-power." There is also the danger that an innovation may exceed the unit’s ability to carry it out. Timothy Lupfer’s examination of the German tactical adaptation in the First World War noted the Germans were attentive to their Army’s ability to perform because "an army that adopts tactical doctrine that it cannot apply will greatly multiply its misfortune." Excessive caution, on the other hand can be equally costly. Overly concerned with the ability of its crews to execute complex tactics, SAC headquarters dictated predictable tactics during the first days of Operation Linebacker II, increasing risk to the bomber crews and perhaps suffering unnecessary losses.

    In a large military organization, numerous individuals and sub-units accomplish part or all of the functions described. Discrete functions or the entire process may be accomplished at more than one echelon simultaneously, leading to the question: at what level are innovations developed? Since observation and action responsibilities are normally clearly defined, a more specific question is: at what level does the orientation and decision take place?

    There are three potential hypotheses: top-down, bottom-up, or a combination of the two. A top-down process involves a headquarters staff (at the theater or possibly national level) that analyzes reports from the field, develops innovations (possibly by refining suggestions from sub-units) and disseminates them to the command. This process was used by the German Army to adapt tactical doctrine to realities of the Western Front in World War I, and the Red Army to find a suitable operational doctrine against the Wehrmacht during World War II. Both involved orderly, centralized processes that disseminated changes uniformly across the theater. The drawbacks to centralized change are that it is potentially less responsive to immediate requirements, nor is it well suited for handling unique local conditions.

    Bottom-up adaptation starts at the tactical unit level. Innovations are developed quickly in response to immediate problems and tactical units then advise headquarters. Headquarters then advises other units of ideas and lessons learned. During World War II, the U.S. Army used bottom-up adaptation to adjust tactics to conditions encountered in the campaigns for France and Germany, capitalizing on "Yankee ingenuity. . . a hallmark of U.S. commercial production and manufacturing . . . that also accompanies [American] soldiers to the battlefield." Bottom up adaptations, it is argued, are more responsive to local conditions and better suited where incremental changes are desirable. The decentralized approach, however, is not well suited when fundamental changes are required or situations are beyond unit capabilities to handle.

    There is the possibility of a third option, which is that innovations originate from both sources and flow both directions. Theoretically, this arrangement could permit fundamental or widespread adaptations to be directed from above, yet permit tactical units the flexibility to quickly adapt to immediate needs. This possibility would require organizational flexibility of the headquarters as it would be required to perform both advisory and directive functions. A means to resolve conflicting guidance might also be required.

    To recapitulate, issues to consider in examining the attack on the Republican Guards are: what was USAF prewar doctrine; how much adaptation was required to cope with the realities of war; how effective and timely were CENTAF’s innovations, what facilitated or hindered adaptation, and from where did changes originate? Because Operation Desert Storm pitted the USAF directly against the Republican Guard, it is important to describe these opposing forces.
     
  6. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    The Adversaries



    The Republican Guard

    On August 3, 1990, the Iraqi armed forces conducted an overwhelming combined arms assault on Kuwait. Iraqi ground units penetrated deep into Kuwait, reaching Kuwait City in less than five hours. The Kuwaiti armed forces collapsed, the government fled to Saudi Arabia, and the country was completely overrun within two days.

    The Iraqi units that conducted the assault were divisions of Iraq’s Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC). The ground attack was spearheaded by Iraq’s most capable combat formations: the Hammurabi and Medinah armored divisions and the Tawakalna mechanized infantry division. Three heliborne brigades of the RGFC Special Forces division supported the armored onslaught with a vertical envelopment south of Kuwait City. Behind the lead divisions, four Republican Guard infantry divisions were committed to mop-up remaining Kuwaiti resistance.

    The Republican Guard’s utility as a military force is evident in its origins, equipment, functions, and doctrine. The RGFC began as a brigade-sized praetorian guard formed shortly after Saddam Hussein’s 1968 coup. The unit was formed by combining the most loyal Baathists serving in the Iraqi Army and was sustained by recruits from Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. Although not used in the September 1980 invasion of Iran, the Republican Guard was committed to the bloody battle for Khorramshahr in October and thereafter saw intermittent action as a "fire brigade" along the southern front. By 1986, the Republican Guards had expanded to five brigades, the bulk of which were committed to an ill-fated counterattack on the Al-Faw peninsula. This Iraqi defeat has been convincingly described as the turning point of the Iran-Iraq war, the catalyst for a shift from the static defensive strategy to an offensive strategy that would ultimately end the war. Guard recruiting was expanded to include previously-deferred university students, and Guard formations soon grew to twenty-five brigades. These units were extensively trained in offensive combined arms tactics, signifying a major departure from the static-defensive mindset gripping the rest of the Iraqi army. Committed to a series of well-planned, set-piece offensives from April to August of 1988, these Republican Guard formations quickly swept away depleted Iranian formations, helping to bring decision to long-stalemated battlefields and a brief peace to the northern Persian Gulf.

    The Republican Guard formations were equipped with Iraq’s best and most modern equipment. While regular heavy divisions were primarily equipped with obsolescent T-55, type 59, and T-62 tanks, Guard heavy divisions were equipped with the "well-known and very capable" T-72. Reflecting their offensive and mobile orientation, RGFC heavy divisions were equipped with modern Soviet built self-propelled artillery in addition to towed weapons that equipped the remainder of the Iraqi Army. Air defense artillery units assigned to Guard divisions were more robust than regular army units, as some operated radar-guided SA-6 batteries in addition to the normal infrared-guided SAMs and anti-aircraft artillery systems. Additionally, the RGFC maintained an independent supply system and enjoyed priority for all supplies.

    Western impressions of the Republican Guard were shaped by its offensive role in 1988, its elevated reputation, and robust tables of organization and equipment. Rightly acknowledged as Iraq’s best troops, many writers have found it easy to overestimate the abilities of the Republican Guard. Analogies have been made in U.S. military writings between the RGFC and Napoleon’s Old Guard, or Hitler’s politico-military elite, the Waffen SS. Oft-touted as an elite force hardened by years of battle, proud of the "fire brigade" role, "possessing excellent reactive abilities," and "the world’s most seasoned [troops] in carrying out assaults preceded by chemical attack," Guard formations gained a fearsome reputation. Indeed, when compared to the armed forces of Iraq’s neighbors, the Republican Guard was the most powerful military organization in the Persian Gulf region.

    An evaluation of the Republican Guard must be balanced by an examination of Iraqi military doctrine, which reveals major shortcomings. Despite the Guard’s offensive successes of 1988 and 1990, some important limitations have been illuminated by several authors. Republican Guard tactical successes were largely set-piece affairs, hinging on extensive planning, logistics stockpiling, and rehearsals. After 1987, all Guard offensives were conducted against vastly weaker forces: Iranian formations encountered in 1988 were debilitated by the failed Karballa offensives of 1987 and collapsing civilian morale. Kuwaiti armed forces were taken by surprise in 1990, only one brigade of which opposed the RGFC as the bulk of the Kuwaiti forces were over-run in garrison. Republican Guard tactical doctrine was probably strongly shaped by (if not identical to) regular army tactical doctrine. The only significant tank battle the Iraqis fought was a static defense against a grossly mis-handled Iranian armored division in January 1981. The Iranian division blundered into an Iraqi anti-tank kill zone piecemeal (over the period of three days) and was obliterated. An excellent analysis by Colonel Wallace Franz (USA, Ret.) further emphasized the likelihood of a static Iraqi strategy because the army had been molded by its eight years of fighting a "war of position, tied to fortifications, communications nets, against a low-tech enemy." Iraqi officers were inexperienced at handling large mechanized formations in mobile operations and would be unable to "think rapidly" or "improvise in the heat of battle" due to Iraqi political preferences for loyalty over independent thought or initiative.

    Despite doctrinal shortcomings, Republican Guards were the most potent and best equipped units in the Iraqi Army, marking them as an important operational center of gravity in the campaign to liberate Kuwait. As the offensive arm of the Iraqi Army and the most potent military force in the region, the Republican Guards were also a strategic center of gravity, a powerful military instrument of coercion or decision. The Republican Guards also played an important political role. Guard units were the most overt element of the Baath Party’s control over the country. The superior equipment operated by the Republican Guard units ensured that they would be well equipped to defeat potentially rebellious Regular Army units. An RGFC mechanized division was stationed in Baghdad throughout the Gulf War, a visible and powerful deterrent to potential mutineers. Additionally, four RGFC infantry divisions, not committed to the KTO, were formed during the war to provide internal security. Guard units were believed to have been involved in the suppression of dissent before the Gulf War, and surviving elements were reported to have participated in the suppression of the Shia and Kurdish revolts after the war. Top U.S. military commanders, Powell and Schwarzkopf correctly perceived the Republican Guards as operational and strategic centers of gravity, forming perceptions that profoundly affected U.S. planning.

    Although there were seven Republican Guard divisions deployed in the KTO, the three Guard heavy divisions that spearheaded the Kuwait invasion captured the interest of the theater CINC. These three divisions were emplaced along the Kuwait-Iraq border as a theater reserve. The remaining four divisions were infantry formations entrenched in an east-west line between the heavy units and the Euphrates River.

    The Guard divisions used the five-month lull between the invasion of Kuwait and the coalition counteroffensive to prepare vast defensive positions. The units were widely dispersed and deeply entrenched. Engineers prepared thousands of horseshoe-shaped berms to protect individual vehicles. Personnel were protected by shallow five- to ten-man bunkers. Units were stocked with up to thirty days of provisions, and the Guard Corps straddled a huge fortified corps-sized depot and logistics area.

    Iraqi intentions for the use of the RGFC were unclear to Coalition commanders. Once the threat of an invasion of Saudi Arabia subsided, it was widely believed the Republican Guard divisions would be held in reserve and then committed to repulse Coalition ground units depleted by battles with the first and second Iraqi echelons. This mission--counterattack--would be similar to much of the Guard’s experience in the Iran-Iraq War; heavy air attack, however, would be a new experience for a force that had always enjoyed air superiority.

    The United States Air Force

    The USAF waged an intense air-to-ground battle against the Republican Guards for forty-three days; its ability to conduct this battle was shaped by pre-war doctrine, training, and equipment. Doctrine provided the basis for many USAF weapons system acquisitions and, within the context of the European NATO-Warsaw Pact scenario, shaped Air Force tactics throughout the 1980s.

    "The [U.S.] Air Force has articulated aerospace doctrine at different levels and depths of detail in the forms of basic, operational, and tactical doctrine." Basic USAF doctrine, as established in AF Manual 1-1, anticipated the attack on the Republican Guard in the broadest sense. Air operations to "attack the enemy in depth" were considered an "imperative of effectively employing aerospace forces" by the authors of the 1984 version of Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force. More explicitly, air commanders were urged to exploit airpower’s "devastating firepower" to disrupt enemy momentum and "place his surface forces at risk" with attacks on enemy forces in "reserve or rear echelons." Such attacks fell under the category of air interdiction (AI), which was intended to "delay, disrupt, divert, or destroy an enemy’s military potential before it [could] be brought to bear broadly against friendly forces." Although attacks on distant ground units have always been a subset of interdiction, they are considered to be best accomplished along lines of communication when ground units are moving and vulnerable to air attack.

    Official operational-level doctrine was completely unsuitable for preparing USAF units for the attack on the Republican Guards because it focused entirely on enemy lines of communication. Prescribing attacks to disrupt the flow of "personnel, supplies, and equipment . . . required to sustain the enemy’s war effort," AFM 2-1, Tactical Air Operations was written in 1969 and reflected contemporary interdiction efforts being used in Southeast Asia. Elusive enemy forces were not considered to be a suitable target for interdiction. Instead, interdiction efforts were directed against lines of communication, enemy concentration points, supply stockpiles, and reconstitution facilities. AFM 2-1 described the protracted interdiction battle waged over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. After Vietnam, however, the possibility of a rapid Soviet blitzkrieg across Western Europe threatened to render this mode of interdiction less than optimal.

    "Semi-official" operational doctrine developed in the early 1980s had a much more profound effect in shaping the Air Force that would counter the Republican Guards in 1991. Developed in response to political requirements for increased conventional capability against growing Warsaw Pact conventional capability, the USAF’s Tactical Air Command (TAC) and the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) developed the joint operational concept of joint attack of the second echelon (J-SAK). Published in 1982, J-SAK was an important adjunct to the U.S. Army’s airland battle doctrine. J-SAK was "semi-official" doctrine because its approving official, General W. L. Creech, (TAC commander), could not speak for the entire USAF, nor was TAC a warfighting command: its role was to provide forces for the theater commanders-in-chief. Tactical Air Command Pamphlet 50-26 (J-SAK) described a deep battle against second echelon units that was intended to provide time and space for ground commanders to win the close battle being waged with the first echelon.

    J-SAK was designed against the specific threat of echeloned attack posed by Soviet tactical doctrine. Echeloned attacks would "attempt to retain the initiative by maintaining momentum and rapidly exploiting the success of . . . first echelon forces." Although 50-26 briefly noted the possibility of countering a "U.S.-type reserve" force vice a Soviet-style second echelon, virtually all other discussion focuses on defeating the Soviet model. Key elements of the Soviet doctrine included a fast-paced attack by a numerically superior enemy, continuous operations to sustain initiative and momentum, and the reinforcement of success until the enemy is defeated. Second echelon targets included "combat forces, their support elements, as well as lines of communication."

    Follow on Forces Attack (FOFA) was a similar doctrine approved by NATO’s Defense Planning Committee in November, 1984. Beginning in late 1979, the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) staff developed FOFA to bolster the alliance’s conventional capability against Soviet offensive doctrine and a "continuing massive Soviet conventional forces build-up." Closely related to J-SAK, FOFA was more authoritative and prescriptive, but geographically limited to NATO’s theater of operations. FOFA was designed to attack enemy forces "from just behind the troops in contact to as far into the enemy’s rear as our target acquisition and conventional weapons systems will permit."

    The aim of J-SAK and FOFA (hereafter combined and referred to as "deep air attack") was to delay, disrupt, or destroy second echelon mechanized units. This operational concept optimized airpower’s ability to impose an "intractable dilemma" on the enemy commander: if the second echelon attempted to advance rapidly (as Soviet doctrine prescribed), it would be vulnerable to air attack. If advancing forces took defensive precautions against the air threat (through dispersal and camouflage), they would be unable to maintain a rapid rate of movement. Maximizing the advantages of synchronized air and ground efforts, deep air attack principles resonated with many airmen.

    Despite J-SAK’s authoritative limitation and FOFA’s geographical limitation, the combination of the two had a powerful impact on USAF equipment and tactics. Based in part on emerging weapon and sensor technologies, deep air attack generated the requirement to develop several weapons systems that would eventually be used against the Republican Guard. The most pressing need was to develop sensors capable of looking deep behind enemy lines and detecting advancing second echelon forces. Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) was the Army/USAF solution; its powerful radar was capable of tracking moving vehicles over wide areas of the battlefield or examining selected fixed sites in a narrower mapping mode. Another capable radar, Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar II (ASARS II), was fielded on the TR-1 aircraft, and dedicated down-link and command and control systems were deployed to take advantage of the real-time imagery available.

    The USAF and U.S. Army fielded several air-to-ground delivery systems that enabled deep air attack, including the F-15E long-range interdiction aircraft, F-16C fighter-bombers equipped with radar capable of tracking moving vehicles, and night navigation and targeting systems (Low Altitude Navigation Targeting and Infrared for Night--LANTIRN). Advanced anti-armor weapons developed and deployed during the 1980s included the imaging infrared (IIR) AGM-65D Maverick Missile, an advanced cluster bomb--the CBU-87 combined effects munition (CEM), and an air scattered anti-tank and anti-personnel mine--the CBU-89 Gator. Army systems included the multiple launcher rocket system (MLRS), Army tactical missile system (ATACMS), and Apache attack helicopter.

    Employment of these weapons systems is described in USAF tactical doctrine. Tactical doctrine outlines a broad range of tactical considerations in the 3- series multi-command manuals (MCM). There are separate volumes for each type of combat aircraft, a general planning volume, and an enemy threat volume. Standardized volume outlines and chapter headings result in the consideration of a wide variety of potential missions. Tactical considerations described in these volumes are not prescriptive, but are intended to "stimulate thinking." MCM manuals "consolidate tactical considerations learned from past armed conflicts, operational evaluations, training exercises, tactics development programs, and analyses of the threat." Updated on a twenty-four month cycle, MCM 3-1 is a living document reflecting tactical thoughts of the combat air forces. Each volume encourages "personal initiative and innovative thinking. . . to improve our combat capability" and challenges "all echelons of the combat air forces" to "build and expand on these tactics."

    MCM 3-1 discusses the best available thoughts on a variety of potential missions. Its scope, however, is too wide to guide Air Force training and preparations; finite training resources and time limitations force tactical units to make choices and establish training priorities within 3-1’s repertoire. Although headquarters staffs determine minimum semi-annual training events for combat crews, the real tactical emphasis is determined within a flying squadron by the combined efforts of the commander, operations officer, flight commanders, and weapons officer. Normally following general guidance provided by the squadron commander, flight leaders conceive hypothetical scenarios, determine tactics, and evaluate performance during routine training missions. Although Pacific-based squadrons had a Korean orientation, most other TAC and USAFE squadrons were focused on the European scenario and prepared for it throughout the 1980s. All but one of the USAF wings that participated in Operation Desert Storm had formal tasking for the European theater in the event of war.

    The bulk of TAC’s tactical training was geared towards executing deep air attack in the European environment. The Air Force’s premier training program, Red Flag, emphasized deep interdiction in large "gorilla formations" to counter high threat environment. The exception was USAF close air support (CAS) training, for A-10 wings, which concentrated attention on high threat, low-altitude employment along the front lines to support an Army pressured by large enemy mechanized units. Many crews were exposed to flying in Europe during overseas assignments or frequent training deployments to European bases (called "Checkered Flag" deployments). TAC’s only fighter wing free from European tasking, the 363d TFW, shared the remainder of TAC’s tactical vision. Wing training focused on low-altitude deep attacks against a a Soviet mechanized thrust into north Iran. Virtually all air-to-ground training throughout the tactical air forces (TAF) involved low-level navigation and weapons deliveries, which were required for survival on the high-threat battlefields of central Europe, and for target acquisition which could be impaired by low European ceilings.

    Despite its Eurocentric orientation, the USAF’s philosophy guiding weapons acquisition and training built in considerable flexibility. Most of the USAF’s air-to-ground weapons systems were designed to perform several missions in a variety of environments (high-or low-altitude attack, in day or night). The swing-role F-15E and F-16 are prime examples. They were well-equipped with highly-capable radars capable of functioning in air-to-air or air-to-ground modes, and the latest air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, and comprised most of CENTAF’s fighter force. CENTAF’s B-52 bombers had proven their flexibility long before Desert Storm. Specialized fighter aircraft were present in more limited numbers. The F-111 was optimized for night low-altitude interdiction, and the A-10 was designed for day low-level CAS. Both, however, proved versatile enough to operate in unanticipated environments. The major exception was the F-117 stealth fighter: with its highly specialized role of night precision penetration and limited bomb load had limited utility in other missions. USAF munitions were another key to flexibility. Radar fuses permitted all-altitude employment of cluster bombs (CBU), while guidance kits of U.S. laser guided bombs permitted a wide range of delivery options. Flexible USAF weapons and munitions characteristics were of major significance because they allowed a considerable margin for error in tactical doctrine or practices.

    Realistic and demanding training allowed USAF crews to accomplish unanticipated tasks in unexpected situations. Day-to-day training of aircrews emphasized tactical employment in realistic scenarios developed by flight leaders. Frequent multi-unit exercises and composite force training with dissimilar aircraft (such as that done at Red Flag) built familiarity with other systems and enabled crews to solve different tactical problems. Nellis AFB NV, home of the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center (TFWC), played a key role in the training of these combat aircrews. Red Flag is a recurring training exercise conducted at Nellis to expose crews to the most realistic combat environment possible; it provides an opportunity to solve difficult tactical problems in a controlled environment. Adversaries for Red Flag exercises were often provided by the Aggressor Squadrons, two specialized units that simulated Soviet tactics. The Fighter Weapon School (FWS), also located at Nellis, is a graduate-level tactics school that cultivates aggressive problem-solving in a select group of USAF crews. FWS students are required to solve a wide variety of demanding tactical problems throughout the course. Once back in their squadrons, FWS graduates (called "patch wearers" or "target arms" due to the distinctive patches awarded at graduation) provide a foundation of tactical know-how and problem solving within the unit. The thinking, teaching, and flying conducted at this center would have a powerful influence on USAF conduct in the Gulf War.

    Both forces were products of their times and experiences: the Iraqi Army was a product of the static war of attrition with Iran, U.S. forces were products of the Cold War. Neither had tactical doctrines that adequately anticipated the Gulf War. USAF training, flexible weapons systems, and a core belief that "flexibility is the key to airpower" provided a sizable margin for errors in USAF doctrine.
     
  7. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    The Adversaries



    The Republican Guard

    On August 3, 1990, the Iraqi armed forces conducted an overwhelming combined arms assault on Kuwait. Iraqi ground units penetrated deep into Kuwait, reaching Kuwait City in less than five hours. The Kuwaiti armed forces collapsed, the government fled to Saudi Arabia, and the country was completely overrun within two days.

    The Iraqi units that conducted the assault were divisions of Iraq’s Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC). The ground attack was spearheaded by Iraq’s most capable combat formations: the Hammurabi and Medinah armored divisions and the Tawakalna mechanized infantry division. Three heliborne brigades of the RGFC Special Forces division supported the armored onslaught with a vertical envelopment south of Kuwait City. Behind the lead divisions, four Republican Guard infantry divisions were committed to mop-up remaining Kuwaiti resistance.

    The Republican Guard’s utility as a military force is evident in its origins, equipment, functions, and doctrine. The RGFC began as a brigade-sized praetorian guard formed shortly after Saddam Hussein’s 1968 coup. The unit was formed by combining the most loyal Baathists serving in the Iraqi Army and was sustained by recruits from Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. Although not used in the September 1980 invasion of Iran, the Republican Guard was committed to the bloody battle for Khorramshahr in October and thereafter saw intermittent action as a "fire brigade" along the southern front. By 1986, the Republican Guards had expanded to five brigades, the bulk of which were committed to an ill-fated counterattack on the Al-Faw peninsula. This Iraqi defeat has been convincingly described as the turning point of the Iran-Iraq war, the catalyst for a shift from the static defensive strategy to an offensive strategy that would ultimately end the war. Guard recruiting was expanded to include previously-deferred university students, and Guard formations soon grew to twenty-five brigades. These units were extensively trained in offensive combined arms tactics, signifying a major departure from the static-defensive mindset gripping the rest of the Iraqi army. Committed to a series of well-planned, set-piece offensives from April to August of 1988, these Republican Guard formations quickly swept away depleted Iranian formations, helping to bring decision to long-stalemated battlefields and a brief peace to the northern Persian Gulf.

    The Republican Guard formations were equipped with Iraq’s best and most modern equipment. While regular heavy divisions were primarily equipped with obsolescent T-55, type 59, and T-62 tanks, Guard heavy divisions were equipped with the "well-known and very capable" T-72. Reflecting their offensive and mobile orientation, RGFC heavy divisions were equipped with modern Soviet built self-propelled artillery in addition to towed weapons that equipped the remainder of the Iraqi Army. Air defense artillery units assigned to Guard divisions were more robust than regular army units, as some operated radar-guided SA-6 batteries in addition to the normal infrared-guided SAMs and anti-aircraft artillery systems. Additionally, the RGFC maintained an independent supply system and enjoyed priority for all supplies.

    Western impressions of the Republican Guard were shaped by its offensive role in 1988, its elevated reputation, and robust tables of organization and equipment. Rightly acknowledged as Iraq’s best troops, many writers have found it easy to overestimate the abilities of the Republican Guard. Analogies have been made in U.S. military writings between the RGFC and Napoleon’s Old Guard, or Hitler’s politico-military elite, the Waffen SS. Oft-touted as an elite force hardened by years of battle, proud of the "fire brigade" role, "possessing excellent reactive abilities," and "the world’s most seasoned [troops] in carrying out assaults preceded by chemical attack," Guard formations gained a fearsome reputation. Indeed, when compared to the armed forces of Iraq’s neighbors, the Republican Guard was the most powerful military organization in the Persian Gulf region.

    An evaluation of the Republican Guard must be balanced by an examination of Iraqi military doctrine, which reveals major shortcomings. Despite the Guard’s offensive successes of 1988 and 1990, some important limitations have been illuminated by several authors. Republican Guard tactical successes were largely set-piece affairs, hinging on extensive planning, logistics stockpiling, and rehearsals. After 1987, all Guard offensives were conducted against vastly weaker forces: Iranian formations encountered in 1988 were debilitated by the failed Karballa offensives of 1987 and collapsing civilian morale. Kuwaiti armed forces were taken by surprise in 1990, only one brigade of which opposed the RGFC as the bulk of the Kuwaiti forces were over-run in garrison. Republican Guard tactical doctrine was probably strongly shaped by (if not identical to) regular army tactical doctrine. The only significant tank battle the Iraqis fought was a static defense against a grossly mis-handled Iranian armored division in January 1981. The Iranian division blundered into an Iraqi anti-tank kill zone piecemeal (over the period of three days) and was obliterated. An excellent analysis by Colonel Wallace Franz (USA, Ret.) further emphasized the likelihood of a static Iraqi strategy because the army had been molded by its eight years of fighting a "war of position, tied to fortifications, communications nets, against a low-tech enemy." Iraqi officers were inexperienced at handling large mechanized formations in mobile operations and would be unable to "think rapidly" or "improvise in the heat of battle" due to Iraqi political preferences for loyalty over independent thought or initiative.

    Despite doctrinal shortcomings, Republican Guards were the most potent and best equipped units in the Iraqi Army, marking them as an important operational center of gravity in the campaign to liberate Kuwait. As the offensive arm of the Iraqi Army and the most potent military force in the region, the Republican Guards were also a strategic center of gravity, a powerful military instrument of coercion or decision. The Republican Guards also played an important political role. Guard units were the most overt element of the Baath Party’s control over the country. The superior equipment operated by the Republican Guard units ensured that they would be well equipped to defeat potentially rebellious Regular Army units. An RGFC mechanized division was stationed in Baghdad throughout the Gulf War, a visible and powerful deterrent to potential mutineers. Additionally, four RGFC infantry divisions, not committed to the KTO, were formed during the war to provide internal security. Guard units were believed to have been involved in the suppression of dissent before the Gulf War, and surviving elements were reported to have participated in the suppression of the Shia and Kurdish revolts after the war. Top U.S. military commanders, Powell and Schwarzkopf correctly perceived the Republican Guards as operational and strategic centers of gravity, forming perceptions that profoundly affected U.S. planning.

    Although there were seven Republican Guard divisions deployed in the KTO, the three Guard heavy divisions that spearheaded the Kuwait invasion captured the interest of the theater CINC. These three divisions were emplaced along the Kuwait-Iraq border as a theater reserve. The remaining four divisions were infantry formations entrenched in an east-west line between the heavy units and the Euphrates River.

    The Guard divisions used the five-month lull between the invasion of Kuwait and the coalition counteroffensive to prepare vast defensive positions. The units were widely dispersed and deeply entrenched. Engineers prepared thousands of horseshoe-shaped berms to protect individual vehicles. Personnel were protected by shallow five- to ten-man bunkers. Units were stocked with up to thirty days of provisions, and the Guard Corps straddled a huge fortified corps-sized depot and logistics area.

    Iraqi intentions for the use of the RGFC were unclear to Coalition commanders. Once the threat of an invasion of Saudi Arabia subsided, it was widely believed the Republican Guard divisions would be held in reserve and then committed to repulse Coalition ground units depleted by battles with the first and second Iraqi echelons. This mission--counterattack--would be similar to much of the Guard’s experience in the Iran-Iraq War; heavy air attack, however, would be a new experience for a force that had always enjoyed air superiority.

    The United States Air Force

    The USAF waged an intense air-to-ground battle against the Republican Guards for forty-three days; its ability to conduct this battle was shaped by pre-war doctrine, training, and equipment. Doctrine provided the basis for many USAF weapons system acquisitions and, within the context of the European NATO-Warsaw Pact scenario, shaped Air Force tactics throughout the 1980s.

    "The [U.S.] Air Force has articulated aerospace doctrine at different levels and depths of detail in the forms of basic, operational, and tactical doctrine." Basic USAF doctrine, as established in AF Manual 1-1, anticipated the attack on the Republican Guard in the broadest sense. Air operations to "attack the enemy in depth" were considered an "imperative of effectively employing aerospace forces" by the authors of the 1984 version of Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force. More explicitly, air commanders were urged to exploit airpower’s "devastating firepower" to disrupt enemy momentum and "place his surface forces at risk" with attacks on enemy forces in "reserve or rear echelons." Such attacks fell under the category of air interdiction (AI), which was intended to "delay, disrupt, divert, or destroy an enemy’s military potential before it [could] be brought to bear broadly against friendly forces." Although attacks on distant ground units have always been a subset of interdiction, they are considered to be best accomplished along lines of communication when ground units are moving and vulnerable to air attack.

    Official operational-level doctrine was completely unsuitable for preparing USAF units for the attack on the Republican Guards because it focused entirely on enemy lines of communication. Prescribing attacks to disrupt the flow of "personnel, supplies, and equipment . . . required to sustain the enemy’s war effort," AFM 2-1, Tactical Air Operations was written in 1969 and reflected contemporary interdiction efforts being used in Southeast Asia. Elusive enemy forces were not considered to be a suitable target for interdiction. Instead, interdiction efforts were directed against lines of communication, enemy concentration points, supply stockpiles, and reconstitution facilities. AFM 2-1 described the protracted interdiction battle waged over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. After Vietnam, however, the possibility of a rapid Soviet blitzkrieg across Western Europe threatened to render this mode of interdiction less than optimal.

    "Semi-official" operational doctrine developed in the early 1980s had a much more profound effect in shaping the Air Force that would counter the Republican Guards in 1991. Developed in response to political requirements for increased conventional capability against growing Warsaw Pact conventional capability, the USAF’s Tactical Air Command (TAC) and the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) developed the joint operational concept of joint attack of the second echelon (J-SAK). Published in 1982, J-SAK was an important adjunct to the U.S. Army’s airland battle doctrine. J-SAK was "semi-official" doctrine because its approving official, General W. L. Creech, (TAC commander), could not speak for the entire USAF, nor was TAC a warfighting command: its role was to provide forces for the theater commanders-in-chief. Tactical Air Command Pamphlet 50-26 (J-SAK) described a deep battle against second echelon units that was intended to provide time and space for ground commanders to win the close battle being waged with the first echelon.

    J-SAK was designed against the specific threat of echeloned attack posed by Soviet tactical doctrine. Echeloned attacks would "attempt to retain the initiative by maintaining momentum and rapidly exploiting the success of . . . first echelon forces." Although 50-26 briefly noted the possibility of countering a "U.S.-type reserve" force vice a Soviet-style second echelon, virtually all other discussion focuses on defeating the Soviet model. Key elements of the Soviet doctrine included a fast-paced attack by a numerically superior enemy, continuous operations to sustain initiative and momentum, and the reinforcement of success until the enemy is defeated. Second echelon targets included "combat forces, their support elements, as well as lines of communication."

    Follow on Forces Attack (FOFA) was a similar doctrine approved by NATO’s Defense Planning Committee in November, 1984. Beginning in late 1979, the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) staff developed FOFA to bolster the alliance’s conventional capability against Soviet offensive doctrine and a "continuing massive Soviet conventional forces build-up." Closely related to J-SAK, FOFA was more authoritative and prescriptive, but geographically limited to NATO’s theater of operations. FOFA was designed to attack enemy forces "from just behind the troops in contact to as far into the enemy’s rear as our target acquisition and conventional weapons systems will permit."

    The aim of J-SAK and FOFA (hereafter combined and referred to as "deep air attack") was to delay, disrupt, or destroy second echelon mechanized units. This operational concept optimized airpower’s ability to impose an "intractable dilemma" on the enemy commander: if the second echelon attempted to advance rapidly (as Soviet doctrine prescribed), it would be vulnerable to air attack. If advancing forces took defensive precautions against the air threat (through dispersal and camouflage), they would be unable to maintain a rapid rate of movement. Maximizing the advantages of synchronized air and ground efforts, deep air attack principles resonated with many airmen.

    Despite J-SAK’s authoritative limitation and FOFA’s geographical limitation, the combination of the two had a powerful impact on USAF equipment and tactics. Based in part on emerging weapon and sensor technologies, deep air attack generated the requirement to develop several weapons systems that would eventually be used against the Republican Guard. The most pressing need was to develop sensors capable of looking deep behind enemy lines and detecting advancing second echelon forces. Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) was the Army/USAF solution; its powerful radar was capable of tracking moving vehicles over wide areas of the battlefield or examining selected fixed sites in a narrower mapping mode. Another capable radar, Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar II (ASARS II), was fielded on the TR-1 aircraft, and dedicated down-link and command and control systems were deployed to take advantage of the real-time imagery available.

    The USAF and U.S. Army fielded several air-to-ground delivery systems that enabled deep air attack, including the F-15E long-range interdiction aircraft, F-16C fighter-bombers equipped with radar capable of tracking moving vehicles, and night navigation and targeting systems (Low Altitude Navigation Targeting and Infrared for Night--LANTIRN). Advanced anti-armor weapons developed and deployed during the 1980s included the imaging infrared (IIR) AGM-65D Maverick Missile, an advanced cluster bomb--the CBU-87 combined effects munition (CEM), and an air scattered anti-tank and anti-personnel mine--the CBU-89 Gator. Army systems included the multiple launcher rocket system (MLRS), Army tactical missile system (ATACMS), and Apache attack helicopter.

    Employment of these weapons systems is described in USAF tactical doctrine. Tactical doctrine outlines a broad range of tactical considerations in the 3- series multi-command manuals (MCM). There are separate volumes for each type of combat aircraft, a general planning volume, and an enemy threat volume. Standardized volume outlines and chapter headings result in the consideration of a wide variety of potential missions. Tactical considerations described in these volumes are not prescriptive, but are intended to "stimulate thinking." MCM manuals "consolidate tactical considerations learned from past armed conflicts, operational evaluations, training exercises, tactics development programs, and analyses of the threat." Updated on a twenty-four month cycle, MCM 3-1 is a living document reflecting tactical thoughts of the combat air forces. Each volume encourages "personal initiative and innovative thinking. . . to improve our combat capability" and challenges "all echelons of the combat air forces" to "build and expand on these tactics."

    MCM 3-1 discusses the best available thoughts on a variety of potential missions. Its scope, however, is too wide to guide Air Force training and preparations; finite training resources and time limitations force tactical units to make choices and establish training priorities within 3-1’s repertoire. Although headquarters staffs determine minimum semi-annual training events for combat crews, the real tactical emphasis is determined within a flying squadron by the combined efforts of the commander, operations officer, flight commanders, and weapons officer. Normally following general guidance provided by the squadron commander, flight leaders conceive hypothetical scenarios, determine tactics, and evaluate performance during routine training missions. Although Pacific-based squadrons had a Korean orientation, most other TAC and USAFE squadrons were focused on the European scenario and prepared for it throughout the 1980s. All but one of the USAF wings that participated in Operation Desert Storm had formal tasking for the European theater in the event of war.

    The bulk of TAC’s tactical training was geared towards executing deep air attack in the European environment. The Air Force’s premier training program, Red Flag, emphasized deep interdiction in large "gorilla formations" to counter high threat environment. The exception was USAF close air support (CAS) training, for A-10 wings, which concentrated attention on high threat, low-altitude employment along the front lines to support an Army pressured by large enemy mechanized units. Many crews were exposed to flying in Europe during overseas assignments or frequent training deployments to European bases (called "Checkered Flag" deployments). TAC’s only fighter wing free from European tasking, the 363d TFW, shared the remainder of TAC’s tactical vision. Wing training focused on low-altitude deep attacks against a a Soviet mechanized thrust into north Iran. Virtually all air-to-ground training throughout the tactical air forces (TAF) involved low-level navigation and weapons deliveries, which were required for survival on the high-threat battlefields of central Europe, and for target acquisition which could be impaired by low European ceilings.

    Despite its Eurocentric orientation, the USAF’s philosophy guiding weapons acquisition and training built in considerable flexibility. Most of the USAF’s air-to-ground weapons systems were designed to perform several missions in a variety of environments (high-or low-altitude attack, in day or night). The swing-role F-15E and F-16 are prime examples. They were well-equipped with highly-capable radars capable of functioning in air-to-air or air-to-ground modes, and the latest air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, and comprised most of CENTAF’s fighter force. CENTAF’s B-52 bombers had proven their flexibility long before Desert Storm. Specialized fighter aircraft were present in more limited numbers. The F-111 was optimized for night low-altitude interdiction, and the A-10 was designed for day low-level CAS. Both, however, proved versatile enough to operate in unanticipated environments. The major exception was the F-117 stealth fighter: with its highly specialized role of night precision penetration and limited bomb load had limited utility in other missions. USAF munitions were another key to flexibility. Radar fuses permitted all-altitude employment of cluster bombs (CBU), while guidance kits of U.S. laser guided bombs permitted a wide range of delivery options. Flexible USAF weapons and munitions characteristics were of major significance because they allowed a considerable margin for error in tactical doctrine or practices.

    Realistic and demanding training allowed USAF crews to accomplish unanticipated tasks in unexpected situations. Day-to-day training of aircrews emphasized tactical employment in realistic scenarios developed by flight leaders. Frequent multi-unit exercises and composite force training with dissimilar aircraft (such as that done at Red Flag) built familiarity with other systems and enabled crews to solve different tactical problems. Nellis AFB NV, home of the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center (TFWC), played a key role in the training of these combat aircrews. Red Flag is a recurring training exercise conducted at Nellis to expose crews to the most realistic combat environment possible; it provides an opportunity to solve difficult tactical problems in a controlled environment. Adversaries for Red Flag exercises were often provided by the Aggressor Squadrons, two specialized units that simulated Soviet tactics. The Fighter Weapon School (FWS), also located at Nellis, is a graduate-level tactics school that cultivates aggressive problem-solving in a select group of USAF crews. FWS students are required to solve a wide variety of demanding tactical problems throughout the course. Once back in their squadrons, FWS graduates (called "patch wearers" or "target arms" due to the distinctive patches awarded at graduation) provide a foundation of tactical know-how and problem solving within the unit. The thinking, teaching, and flying conducted at this center would have a powerful influence on USAF conduct in the Gulf War.

    Both forces were products of their times and experiences: the Iraqi Army was a product of the static war of attrition with Iran, U.S. forces were products of the Cold War. Neither had tactical doctrines that adequately anticipated the Gulf War. USAF training, flexible weapons systems, and a core belief that "flexibility is the key to airpower" provided a sizable margin for errors in USAF doctrine.
     
  8. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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  9. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thanks A .V . for this Article

    Sometime back I read on the internet ,in some other forum ,about the COLD START DOCTRINE that 180 planes or 10 squadrons of a modern fighter bomber is equal to 3 STRIKE CORPS .
    That article suggested that investing in IAF is a better option than heavy and slow moving strike formations.

    In any case modern warfare is joint AIR- LAND battle .Any Army is a sitting duck without air cover.

    Even the first 50 JF 17 are designated for close air support to Pakistan Army to blunt rapid thrusts of Indian Army strike corps
     
  10. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    This is a great strategy used in fighting conventional armies of the cold war era. But air power has its own limits. If the enemy has a large area and dissipates his resources and maintains a cood command and communication infrastructure then the air power is not as useful. This weakness was shown by the Taliban and the Vietcong. In terrain like dense forests and mountainous regions a huge stokpile can be stored and that is as far as the air power can be useful. Having men on ground is as important as having aircrafts in air. If the enemy starts to move his troops isn platoon or corps then we have a severe problem as there will be a problem faced in feasibility of an attack.

    So my conclusion is air power is as important as the man on foot.
     
  11. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Good reading but i believe India's Safed sagar operation is more impressive
     

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