Air Forces in Irregular WarfarePrintable Version
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Norton Schwartz, spoke to a packed crowd on May 6 on the role of air forces in irregular warfare as well as their place across the broader spectrum of conflict.
To illustrate one of the Air Force's most important roles, Gen. Schwartz talked about the development of the Afghan National Army's Air Corps. With training from the Air Force, the ANA Air Corps has taken on an increasing role in providing lift capabilities to ANA soldiers, both on medevac missions and maneuvering soldiers into place for counterinsurgency operations. In addition to providing greater cohesiveness of the ANA, lift capabilities have also enhanced governance in Afghanistan by providing a way for officials in Kabul to establish and maintain relationships with Afghan citizens in remote territories.
Gen. Schwartz also spoke about the way that air forces can enhance Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) functions in irregular warfare scenarios, as well as aiding in cyber security. He spoke about the role of the USAF, as illustrated by the Afghan case, in building partner capacity in the nascent air forces of US allies through training on light attack aircraft. He contested the notion that a choice must be made between maintaining proficiency at either the high end or low end of the spectrum; he believes the USAF can and must do both. Gen. Schwartz noted that current US platforms and the addition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will continue to allow it to do so. For more on this topic, see "Schwartz: No Light Attack Aircraft in Combat"