Air Force targeting reform: addressing the need for change
Waddle, Michael N.
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One prevailing trend characterizing US operations has been the emphasis on overwhelming military strength and technologies. Heavy reliance on sophisticated weaponry as the JDAM, TLAM, CALCM, and other precision weapons during recent conflicts helps illustrate this present trend. Precision guided munitions in combination with advanced technology led the US Air Force to measure success by counting total numbers of sorties flown and tonnage of ordnance employed versus assessing the effects that were achieved and goals obtained. However, as accurate as these "smart" weapon systems have become, without the benefit of a "smart" targeting process to identify the best means to employ these high tech solutions, their tremendous advantages in war are irrelevant. Targeting is a concept that is bound to and defines the very concept of airpower. Without a concept of targeting, the concept of airpower looses all meaning. Currently, the Air Force lacks overarching vision as to how the targeting process and those that perform this vital military function fit into the larger Air Force architecture. This lack of commitment to targeting negates the enormous advantages of America's sophisticated combat arsenal and if uncorrected, offsets the advantages of the precision and technology that so much faith is placed in.
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