Joint close air support in the low intensity conflict
Binney, Michael W.
Russell, James A.
Mislick, Gregory K.
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During the Gulf War, millions of people around the globe, courtesy of CNN, witnessed the seemingly massive use of precision-guided weapons against Iraqi targets in the largest air campaign since World War II. Most of the missions were flown against Iraqi targets with no friendly forces on the ground. This type of air campaign is known as Deep Air Support, or 'DAS'. Equally as important, but receiving less spectacular news coverage, is Close Air support, or 'CAS'. When conducting CAS missions, the chance for 'Friendly Fire' incidents, injuring or killing your own troops on the ground, increases dramatically as compared to DAS missions. This may seem to be an obvious deduction since there are no friendly troops on the ground during a DAS mission but when small, specialized units, such as SEALS, Special Operations Forces (SOF), or reconnaissance forces find themselves in the deep battlespace, operating in a low intensity conflict (LIC) environment, these simple doctrinal distinctions can sometimes lead to confusion, or worse, friendly fire fatalities on the battlefield. It could be argued that there is a disconnect between joint doctrine and joint training which creates an environment on the LIC battlefield, as well as in training, that can lead to faulty execution of CAS missions, and potentially disastrous results, jeopardizing the safety of the very same ground personnel we are trying to support.
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