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Document created: 1 September 04
Air & Space Power Journal - Fall 2004

Air and Space Power Journal wings


Airpower alone does not guarantee America's security. But I believe it best exploits the nation's greatest asset-our technical skill.

-Gen Hoyt S. Vandenberg

Making Airpower Effective against Guerrillas

Dr. Thomas R. Searle*


We are very good at conventional warfare. Too bad that isn't enough any more. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military quickly defeated enemy conventional military forces and brought down hostile regimes. Afterward, however, counter-guerrilla operations did not fare so well. In both countries, these operations have cost us more money and casualties than major combat did-and they have been less effective. Whether we call it low intensity conflict, small wars, counterinsurgency, counterguerrilla warfare, police operations, stability-and-support operations, or something else, the fact remains that our performance is dramatically less impressive after major combat.

Unfortunately, terrorism has become the greatest threat to our national security, and major combat operations alone will not win the global war against it. In many critical areas-such as Colombia, Yemen, or the Philippines-the war against terrorism may never reach the level of major combat operations. Even in Iraq and Afghanistan, our enemies have seized upon our relative ineffectiveness in counterguerrilla operations and now rely on guerrilla warfare as their primary means of continuing the conflict. We can expect our other foes to follow suit, avoiding major combat.

One reason the US military is so good at conventional war is that it knows how to achieve decisive effects with airpower and space power. But we have not mastered the use of these tools against terrorists and guerrillas. In fact, a number of our military people have trouble seeing how airpower and space power can contribute to operations short of major combat. For example, soon after the Army's 3rd Infantry Division captured Baghdad, the division released its Air Force air support operations squadron to redeploy, believing that the air-liaison element had nothing to offer at that point. Worse yet, the Airmen left because they were not sure how airpower and space power could contribute.1 Some Airmen, even now, believe that airpower and space power are irrelevant in the fight against the most serious military threat our nation faces. Before we disband the US Air Force and find better uses for its resources, this article will suggest ways to make airpower and space power effective against our new enemy.

The New Enemy

Guerrilla warfare and terrorism are extremely old forms of conflict, but the precise threat they pose to the United States has changed over time. The communist insurgents we faced during the Cold War employed guerrilla warfare, advocated a communist and nationalist ideology, and generally enjoyed Soviet support. Following the doctrines of Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse-tung, these leftist guerrillas tended to be well organized and highly disciplined. The local communist party formed an ideologically fanatical elite that led the insurgency, intended to lead the future government, and focused every act of violence on a clear political aim, while trying to demonstrate that it would not steal from the common people. Soviet support often gave these leftist insurgents access to enough funding to ensure financial solvency without "taxing" (read "stealing from") the peasants. The Soviets also provided them the latest technology. For example, in 1981 the Polisario rebels in Western Sahara received state-of-the-art military hardware, such as SA-6 air-defense missile systems, even though they were a very minor insurgent group.2

Instead of well-disciplined Cold War revolutionaries with easy access to money and the latest technology, the United States now faces loose coalitions of criminals, insurgents, and terrorists found not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Colombia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. They apparently make up the post-Cold War model for guerrilla warfare.3 Each sort of opponent has different objectives. Criminals are motivated by money, targeting whoever is in power to create a chaotic and lawless space where they can prosper. Insurgents attack the current government in an effort to replace it with a different one. Both groups might use terrorist tactics, like those of Pablo Escobar in Colombia and the Vietcong in Saigon, but the suicidal terrorists we now face have no intention of getting rich or taking power themselves.4 Their immediate goal is simply to tear down current power structures, including the influence of the United States. The exact mix of these different groups varies over time and between regions, making our enemy amorphous, evolving, and very difficult to destroy. For example, when we defeat insurgents, they may simply turn to crime (as did Confederate guerrilla Jesse James after the Civil War).

These new enemies generally lack the discipline and access to high-technology weapons typical of Cold War insurgents, but their undisciplined nature and the ever-evolving mix of different elements make them enormously complex. Worse yet, the old Cold War restraints have fallen away. The United States and Soviet Union not only refrained from direct attacks on each other's homeland, but also imposed that rule on the guerrillas they supported. Because the new terrorists observe no such restraints, our objectives have had to change as well. During the Cold War, we were satisfied with simply preventing an insurgent victory over a friendly government. But after the events of 11 September 2001, we must prevent the insurgents both from taking over an entire country and from establishing long-term local control of remote areas because these could become bases for launching international terrorist operations. Traditional counterinsurgency and "hearts-and-minds" campaigns are still necessary, but terrorists and criminals do not need popular support, so pure counter-insurgency is no longer good enough. We must not merely thwart the insurgents; we must defeat the guerrilla tactics of our criminal and terrorist foes. Why is that so hard?

Why Guerrillas Pose Such a Difficult Problem

One astute scholar describes US Air Force counterguerrilla doctrine as "a short journey to confusion."5 Others characterize the current lack of attention to counterguerrilla operations throughout our military as "scandalous."6 But so what? At first glance, guerrillas do not appear to be formidable opponents; in fact they seem exactly the sort of "threat" we can defeat without special doctrine or training. After all, the guerrillas we now face are small forces with only light weapons and fairly primitive command, control, and information systems.7 Without Soviet sponsorship, their financial resources are tiny compared to ours, and their technology is a generation or more out of date.

The problem is that the guerrillas have a concept of operations (CONOPS) for which we are not prepared. They, like organized criminals, work the seam between military and law-enforcement organizations. The guerrillas are too numerous, aggressive, and heavily armed for police agencies to deal with (particularly the disorganized and lightly armed ones, such as the newly reestablished Iraqi and Afghan police). However, they are too small and hard to identify for military forces to handle (particularly foreign military forces). These guerrillas and organized criminals will attack and kill, drive off, or take over the local police and intimidate the civilians. When our military forces arrive to restore order, they face endless harassment from insurgents, terrorists, and criminals who seem to blend seamlessly into the civilian population. US military forces lack the investigative skills to track down criminals and have very few sources of information within the alien and intimidated civilian population to help them sort friend from foe.8

Airpower and space power are inherently flexible, but we have purchased equipment and trained our Air Force with major combat in mind. Assumptions that drove our training and equipment design do not necessarily apply to the guerrillas' CONOPS, and the habits we have ingrained in our officers do not always prove effective. For example, Air Force officers have been taught to think in terms of observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loops and sensor-to-shooter time. But the OODA loop applies specifically to air-to-air combat, and sensor-to-shooter becomes an issue only for large bureaucracies that have decided to develop separate intelligence (sensor) and operational (shooter) communities. In a guerrilla ambush, the sensor and the shooter are the same, so there is no time lag. In terms of the OODA loop, guerrillas have no trouble observing soldiers, Airmen, and policemen because of their uniforms, but we have plenty of trouble observing them because they look like civilians. If the on-site guerrilla leader conducting the ambush does not like what he sees, he waits for another day. If he likes what he sees, he opens fire-as do the other guerrillas-and flees after a few seconds. Either way, the sort of move-countermove interaction assumed by the OODA loop never takes place. It is worth noting that, in pursuing the Mafia, the FBI does not talk about the OODA loop because it is not a particularly helpful concept for dismantling that organization. Neither will the OODA loop play a key role in defeating guerrillas.

When confronted with an enemy, many of our officers reflexively ask, What is the enemy's command and control (C2) system? What sorts of signatures do his communications leave? How can we target those communications? All of these questions assume that the enemy has and needs centralized C2 of his activities and that he needs a vulnerable communication system to exercise that centralized control. But such may not be the case. The Vietcong had a very hierarchical structure but operated with extremely slow communications, such as notes carried by messengers and face-to-face meetings. The central-command elements laid out a general policy, but the details of when and where to conduct guerrilla attacks resided with low-level local leaders. Thus, our interdiction of their communications often had little or no impact on the frequency or effectiveness of guerrilla attacks. Criminal organizations operate with even less structured communications than those of insurgents, and terrorist leaders can monitor subordinates' activities by reading the newspaper as well as provide guidance through public press releases sent to sympathetic news organizations.

At a more basic level, our approach attempts to achieve rapid, decisive strategic effects on the enemy-and we assume that the enemy tries to do the same thing to us. Unfortunately, guerrillas follow a strategy of "protracted war." Like criminals, they assume they cannot achieve rapid, decisive effects and do not attempt to do so. Instead, insurgent, terrorist, and criminal organizations consciously design themselves so that our military and police forces cannot rapidly and decisively defeat them. They intend not to destroy, but merely hurt us-all the while staying out of reach. A "major combat" mind-set that seeks immediate, decisive results will simply lead to frustration because the enemy tailors his every action to make it impossible for us to achieve rapid, strategic success against him. Worse yet, this mind-set will lead us to organize and plan in ways that pursue an impossible goal, rather than in ways that will achieve the sort of slow, incremental success that is possible.

For example, air doctrine holds that airpower-ideally, all military operations-should be centrally planned but decentrally executed. This approach helps achieve rapid, decisive strategic success but may prove dysfunctional against a dispersed, distributed enemy who deliberately organizes and operates to keep his losses at an acceptable level. Typical law-enforcement operations, on the other hand, are locally planned and executed. The more our foes operate like criminals, the closer counter-guerrilla operations must come to the law-enforcement model, with less centralized planning and operations. With some difficulty, US ground forces can plan and conduct counterguerrilla operations at a very low tactical level (battalion or company). The Air Force, however, has traditionally integrated with ground planning and operations at a much higher level (corps or division), and this often takes air out of the fight.

Increasing the Effectiveness of Airpower

Obviously, our new foes have successfully adapted to our dominance in air and space power. It is now our turn to demonstrate the inherent flexibility of that power by rededicating ourselves to meeting this new challenge. Fortunately, there are many ways we can enhance the effectiveness of airpower against our new foes.

Decentralizing Airpower Planning

Currently, we assign air-liaison elements to relatively high ground-command levels, based on the size of the ground unit rather than the need for air support. Because of the decentralized nature of counterguerrilla operations, we need to push air-liaison elements (real air planners, not just enlisted tactical air controllers) down to lower ground headquarters. The current shortage of such planners will force us to train more of them and carefully determine where to focus them. Pushing planners down to lower levels in one region will leave larger units somewhere else with fewer such personnel-a situation that entails risk. Sometimes we will focus the planning effort in the wrong place, but the current system assigns air liaison to the wrong command level without regard to either the mission or the threat, thereby wasting a precious resource.

Identifying Guerrillas among Civilians

By posing as peaceful civilians, our foes make themselves very hard to identify. Although the entire US intelligence establishment is trying to improve its gathering of human intelligence, this data-even in combination with that obtained by other intelligence sources and persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)-will not solve the problem if our personnel are not trained to exploit it. If we are to track down guerrillas, the US military's intelligence training and collection must concentrate more on understanding criminal, terrorist, and insurgent networks, even if this means putting less emphasis on the traditional strengths of our military intelligence, such as determining the conventional ground order of battle and targeting power grids and transportation networks. Even in these areas, we need to alter our approach. For example, we should train analysts not only in how airpower might best attack enemy power grids, but also in how guerrillas might threaten friendly grids. Our study of enemy transportation systems also needs to expand beyond the interdiction of conventional military traffic to include an assessment of how transportation patterns indicate the routes used by criminals, terrorists, and insurgents so that we can interdict these "rat lines." Fortunately, US intelligence agencies and civilian law-enforcement organizations already have some of this expertise and can provide training until military schools catch up.9

During operations, guerrillas sometimes hide in a large crowd of civilians to protect themselves from our firepower. Currently, airpower can arrive rapidly but cannot identify these terrorists; large ground elements, on the other hand, can sort these people but may not arrive until the crowd has dispersed and the terrorists have escaped. We need to develop nonlethal weapons that will either hold the crowd in place or identify its members so that ground elements can sort them out when they arrive. For example, the high-powered microwaves we are testing for driving personnel away from air bases could be mounted on aircraft and used to herd people together, keeping them in an area until ground forces arrive. Another option would allow us to use aerial-delivered ink or dyes to mark all of the people in a crowd, enabling ground forces to round up and question the ones caught "red-handed." Furthermore, we could even use inks visible only under ultraviolet or infrared light to mark people without their knowledge-for example, by spraying the ground in places where terrorists often explode improvised devices and then following footprints back to their hiding place.

Devising Highly Tailored, Air-Delivered Effects

In our efforts to produce ever-more-precise results against enemy power grids, we developed such things as carbon-filament munitions that short-out the grids without doing long-term damage, unlike conventional bombs. We need to apply that same sort of imagination to the current challenge involving guerrillas in order to achieve precisely tailored effects, rather than try to employ weapons designed for major combat.

The need to destroy hard targets and survive in a high-threat environment led the Air Force to develop large bombs and dispensers for cluster bomb units that deliver enormous effects from a small number of passes. But these conditions do not apply to the guerrilla threat. Enemy air defenses are generally negligible, so there is no need to limit the number of passes, which can provide a deterrent effect. By operating in small, widely dispersed elements, guerrillas have made themselves difficult for our small number of large weapons to kill. Moreover, their presence in civilian areas discourages use of these weapons due to the risk of severe collateral damage and counterproductive effects. For example, the Taliban are known to move about on small motorbikes, usually two men per bike. Even if it can find and hit such small vehicles, an F-16 with two 2,000-pound bombs can expect to destroy exactly two of these bikes; it also risks inflicting serious collateral damage if the attacks occur in civilian areas. The aircraft would be vastly more effective against these sorts of targets if it delivered a large number of much smaller, individually targetable weapons. Clearly, we need to continue to accelerate our research into smaller, smarter weapons.

However, until we have a five-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition and a mini-Maverick, we will have to use existing weapons to defeat guerrillas. One quick fix calls for making better use of our guns. Although some individuals consider strafing an act of desperation, it might offer the ideal way to destroy Taliban motorbike teams. Improving fire-control software so that it gives good fire solutions for strafing at safe altitudes could provide part of the answer; additionally, replacing bombs with gun pods would increase the effectiveness of strafing. Given rates of fire between 50 and 100 rounds per second, expected dispersal at realistic engagement ranges, and the killing power of high-explosive rounds, a burst of less than one second should put down a cone of fire that would easily and cheaply kill two Taliban motorcyclists-and do so with only a fraction of the potential for collateral damage caused by our smallest current bomb. Another option worth considering involves modified Hellfire missiles, about one-sixth the weight of a Maverick and with a warhead about one-tenth the size of the larger missile's. Thus, our aircraft can carry many more Hellfires than Mavericks and produce much less collateral damage.10 Inert practice bombs-used against Iraq during Operation Northern Watch-may also be worth another look.11

Our need to achieve very precise effects against guerrillas does not stop with smaller missiles, smaller bombs, and the use of guns in place of bombs. We must also develop air-delivered, nonlethal weapons that facilitate the capture of suspects. Currently, commanders know that they can kill people with airpower but cannot capture them or determine whether they are in fact someone the United States wants to kill. Many of our rules of engagement wrestle with exactly this question of when to shoot and kill and when not to shoot (and therefore allow to escape); indeed, some of the toughest decisions confronting our commanders arise from the fact that airpower can kill but cannot capture. If we could detain individuals from the air until ground elements take custody of them, as mentioned above, many of these difficulties would subside. Our engineers have conducted a good deal of work on devices that electronically incapacitate vehicles and on sticky slimes and foams that have the effect of radically slowing down any sort of movement. Disorienting weapons-for example, the "flash-bangs" that temporarily stun people with a blinding flash and deafening bang-are already in use. By developing the ability to air-deliver these sorts of weapons, the Air Force could escape the classic airpower bind of being able to kill people but not capture them.

Responding Immediately to Attacks

The United States has excellent space-based systems that spot the characteristic signatures of ballistic-missile launches. In the counterguerrilla fight, the threat is not ballistic missiles but rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). We need to bring our space-based concept down to the counterguerrilla level by deploying persistent aerial ISR platforms that provide similar wide-area coverage focused on the specific signatures of these weapons. The air platforms could take the form of tethered blimps, unmanned aerial vehicles, or manned aircraft.12 Whatever the system, it would have to provide the location of the enemy weapon that fired. Thus, we need to organize our ground and air assets so that the grid of the firing location would immediately cue other ISR sensors to get images of the site and signal strike assets and/or friendly artillery and mortars to return fire. Ground and air assets would also receive instructions to quickly seal off the area from which the fire came in order to catch the enemy, even if he flees before we can engage.

This sort of real-time, precision return fire features some effects-based advantages over other methods of catching guerrillas. Like the criminal who goes to jail with no intention of giving up crime and every intention of not getting caught again, the guerrilla turned in by locals or caught due to his own incompetence often does not regret his attacks on US forces but does regret his capture. This scenario has the effect of making would-be guerrillas hide better and become more ruthless in finding and punishing those who speak out against them, but it may not deter future attacks. On the other hand, destroying the enemy while he is either conducting an attack or attempting to flee afterward is much more likely to have the desired effect of making guerrilla attacks seem dangerous and unproductive to would-be attackers.

Protecting Infrastructure and Controlling "Empty" Areas

Large parts of Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, the Philippines, and other countries are uninhabited.13 Airpower can (and probably should) take the lead in controlling many of these areas, releasing ground forces to focus on urban areas where airpower may prove more effective in a supporting role. These uninhabited locales contain pipelines, power lines, national borders, vital roads, rivers, and sea routes that need monitoring to prevent terrorists from entering the country, damaging infrastructure, mining roads, and moving freely along rivers, roads, and sea routes. Remote ground and water sensors, combined with small surface patrols and airpower, offer a means of controlling these areas with minimal manpower. In some places, the first reaction force might consist of heliborne infantry that can apprehend/detain suspects. In other instances-particularly when the small infantry/police element meets resistance-aircraft can destroy the enemy. The Air Force already conducts pipeline-security missions in Iraq, but it must develop and codify doctrine; CONOPS; and tactics, techniques, and procedures for these sorts of operations, which attempt to secure and control sparsely populated areas. This new doctrine must also include aircentric counterguerrilla operations in these areas, with the air component as the supported commander.

In Africa and South America, contract security firms have effectively patrolled pipelines with refurbished former Air Force O-2 aircraft equipped with commercially available forward-looking infrared. These inexpensive platforms may be nearly as effective as the much costlier Air Force combat aircraft used in this role. Contractors or allies could make a significant contribution in this niche because they can afford to provide large numbers of low-cost platforms such as O-2s, T-6s, AT-37s, or comparable foreign platforms, which they could turn into very effective counterguerrilla platforms.

Building Counterguerrilla Air Forces

Ultimately, we must turn over the mission of patrolling and protecting borders and infrastructure to local (in Afghanistan and Iraq, newly re-created) air forces. Even though these air forces can't bear the cost of a useful number of high-performance aircraft such as AH-64s or F-15Es, they can afford a much larger number of less expensive platforms. The latter could be just as effective as more expensive platforms in counterguerrilla operations but ineffective in aggression against neighboring countries. They would therefore enhance internal stability without destabilizing the regional balance of power, making them more effective for achieving our goals than more capable aircraft would be. Consequently, we must expand our foreign internal-defense squadron (the 6th Special Operations Squadron) and prepare it to create these new-counterguerrilla-air forces. We need to provide not only pilot and mechanic training, but also a comprehensive program that can forge an entire air force, including the training infrastructure that the new organization will need to sustain itself and build upon.

This is a tall order, but the United States and its coalition allies have already committed themselves to establishing new armies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because these nations need new air forces as well, we must develop the capability to help create them, particularly those designed to perform counterguerrilla, border-patrol, pipeline-security, and counterdrug operations. When we are able to form entire counterguerrilla air forces, we can assist friendly nations in developing the counterguerrilla capabilities of their existing air forces. For example, the Pakistani air force could use a more robust counterguerrilla capability, but dramatically enhancing its conventional aspects could destabilize the entire region. The United States, therefore, must learn to lend this type of support without establishing the means of conducting deep, offensive air strikes.14

Preparing Intratheater Airlift Warriors

Even with our best efforts to secure surface lines of communication, guerrillas will increase the expense and risk of surface transportation. Allied commanders will respond to this situation by increasing their demands for intratheater airlift. Thus, in counterguerrilla warfare, airlifters will find themselves on the front lines, taking enemy fire and suffering casualties. They need to understand that they are indeed warriors and must plan and operate accordingly. When the threat so dictates, they will vary their times and routes, "packaging" their missions with strike aircraft-including attack helicopters-during the most dangerous portions of their flights. Airlift operations may also help lure guerrillas into places where we can capture or kill them. Specifically, the long, static nature of roads makes them difficult to secure; furthermore, mines enable the enemy to attack vehicles long after he has left the area. Airlift, however, is largely immune to mines and much harder to ambush because aircraft can follow a vast array of different routes between two points. Thus, airlift forces guerrillas to focus their efforts on bases where aircraft take off and land. The characteristics of RPGs and MANPADS, on which guerrillas rely, combine with our takeoff and landing patterns to create both obvious areas from which the enemy can attack our aircraft and very specific times when these transports are vulnerable, making the enemy more predictable. Protecting the aircraft during such well-defined times is much simpler than securing many thousands of miles of roadway over an entire country around the clock. Most importantly, by focusing our ISR and strike assets on the MANPADS launch areas at the appropriate times, by conducting cordon-and-search operations on the ground, and so forth, we can take the offensive against the guerrillas. To do so, which requires achieving real synergy in ISR, airlift, and attack missions, the United States must fully integrate fixed-wing and rotary-wing aviation across service lines. Although current doctrine places such synergy at the level of the combined force air component commander and Army Corps, in the counterguerrilla fight, we need to establish true joint air interdependence at a much lower level of command. That requires us to think and organize differently.


Airpower remains the single greatest asymmetrical advantage the United States has over its foes. However, by focusing on the demands of major combat and ignoring counterguerrilla warfare, we Airmen have marginalized ourselves in the global war on terrorism. To make airpower truly effective against guerrillas in that war, we cannot wait for the joint force commander or the ground component commander to tell us what to do. Rather, we must aggressively develop and employ airpower's counterguerrilla capabilities. This article has attempted to address how we might go about doing just that.

*The author is a military defense analyst with the Airpower Research Institute, College of Air and Space Doctrine, Research and Education, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Maxwell AFB, Alabama


1. Lt Col Bill North, director of operations, 15th Air Support Operations Squadron, interview by the author, Fort Stewart, GA, 15 October 2003.

2. For information about the strategic paralysis that the SA-6 imposed on the Polisario's enemy-the Royal Moroccan Air Force-see Lt Col David J. Dean, The Air Force Role in Low-Intensity Conflict (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, 1986), 41-51 and 67-70.

3. Of course, violent insurgency is generally considered "criminal" behavior, but the methods of contemporary opponents-drug trafficking, bank robbery, kidnapping, and so forth-are clearly more criminal than "revolutionary."

4. Both the Colombian drug cartels and the Vietcong made liberal use of car bombs to kill specific enemies and to sow chaos and fear. They generally did not use suicide-bombing tactics in the way many Middle Eastern groups have during the last few decades.

5. Dennis M. Drew, "U.S. Airpower Theory and the Insurgent Challenge: A Short Journey to Confusion," Journal of Military History 62, no. 4 (October 1998): 809-32.

6. James S. Corum and Wray R. Johnson, Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003), 4.

7. Some unclassified accounts estimate that, in Iraq, more than 100,000 US and coalition troops are opposed by only 5,000 or so full-time guerrillas. See Jim Krane, "Iraqi Attacks Show Central Planning," Philadelphia Inquirer, 18 December 2003.

8. For an example of US military-intelligence personnel learning to become detectives, see Farnaz Fassihi, "Two Novice Gumshoes Charted the Capture of Saddam Hussein," Wall Street Journal, 18 December 2003, 1. For the use of civilian law-enforcement software in the fight against Iraqi insurgents, see Bruce Berkowitz, "Learning to Break the Rules," New York Times, 19 December 2003.

9. For an example of US military-intelligence personnel teaching themselves police investigative techniques, see Jim Krane, "Software Lets U.S. Forces Predict Sites, Timing of Attacks," San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 December 2003.

10. Even though the Israelis have numerous Mavericks, they prefer to use Hellfire missiles in their targeted killing of terrorists in populated areas because the latter produce less collateral damage. The Hellfire gives up considerable range to keep its weight down, but in a low-threat environment, one does not need as much standoff range. Weight and warhead comparisons come from David F. Crosby, A Guide to Airborne Weapons (Mount Pleasant, SC: Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of America, 2003), 11-13 and 22-24.

11. During Operation Northern Watch, inert bombs proved less successful in limiting collateral damage than anticipated because they sometimes ricocheted and skipped far from their intended target. The answer would seem to be some sort of nonexplosive, disintegrating kinetic device that would hit the target like a 50-pound sandbag at terminal velocity, killing an individual or demolishing the cab of a truck, but leaving only a cloud of dust as collateral damage.

12. In October 2003, the Department of Defense requested $38.3 million to purchase tethered blimps for use in counterguerrilla operations. See "New Spy Gear Aims to Thwart Attacks in Iraq," New York Times, 23 October 2003, 1.

13. In the Philippines, water makes up many of these uninhabited areas; however, the terrorists, criminals, and insurgents use faster boats than the Philippine government, so airpower will be of key importance in controlling these areas.

14. Building a counterguerrilla air force instead of a conventional one would be like building a coast guard instead of a navy.


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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