The role of airpower in irregular warfare for the 21st century
Huebert, Kevin D.
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Throughout the history of warfare, the use of non-traditional soldiers, weapons and tactics to counter the conventional military has become increasingly important. Our enemies in the 21st century rely upon unconventional and irregular methods of warfare to attack the United States. To counter this threat, the U.S. Air Force must ensure the right mix of aircraft to protect America from attack. What is the role of airpower in this new era of conflict? These roles will be defined through case studies in both unconventional warfare (UW) and counterinsurgency (COIN). I will argue that despite the capabilities of the current Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) fleet of aircraft, it lacks the capability to successfully engage in UW and COIN throughout the globe. The current attack and mobility fleet is too large for a majority of the world's airfields, and is too expensive (required infrastructure to support such aircraft) to transfer to partner nations. I recommend AFSOC acquire additional light attack, light mobility, light utility and rotary wing aircraft to meet the 21st century requirements of irregular warfare.
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