Fratricide in air-land operations
Cruz, Enrique E.
Wirtz, James J.
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This thesis identifies evolutionary trends in ground maneuver, tactical air power, and fratricide during the 20th century. It explores two variables that account for most fratricides in warfare: (1) the loss of situational awareness, and (2) the lack of positive target identification. This study also addresses how contemporary U.S. warfighting doctrine contributes to the loss of situational awareness and compounds an already faulty target identification process. This thesis argues that the primary causes of fratricide have remained constant despite rapid changes in technology and the increasing complexity of U.S. air land operations. When normal human failings are coupled with the absence of positive target identification, the end result may often be casualties from friendly fire. The complexity of maneuver and modern air land operations often compound errors in human situational awareness. This thesis provides recommendations to help the U.S. armed forces improve combat identification efforts and reduce fratricide while retaining their existing superiority in air land operations.
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