The fallacy of single source fire support
Aitken, David M.
Rothstein, Hy S.
Tucker, David C.
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This thesis examines the reliance on air power for fire support by light forces and whether other fire support assets could perform these missions better. By studying the historical evolution of fire support, air power and small wars doctrine, patterns emerge in how these developments interrelate. These patterns have led to a system that does not take advantage of some of the capabilities of other fire support assets, mainly artillery and mortars. The case of Operation Enduring Freedom, in Afghanistan, highlights how light forces have come to depend on airpower. Could other forms of fire support have provided coverage that would have been more effective than the air support received? Light forces need to be aware that they have more choices for fire support than calling in air strikes and that artillery and mortars provide capabilities that air power cannot currently duplicate. Afghanistan demonstrated that artillery remains relevant. In a very permissive environment with few competing missions, there were times when air power could not provide the needed fire support to the ground maneuver forces.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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