Document created: 5 June 06
Air & Space Power Journal - Español Segundo Trimestre 2006
Maj Jose Palermo
The present work looks for to add elements that contribute to the development of a wider vision of the notion of asymmetric military conflict, in which the perspective is included which of this phenomenon one can have from a relatively small and institutionally strong country, being centered the study in particular on the application of the air power in this conflicts.
The article goes from the general thing to the particular thing, studying in first instance the nature of the asymmetric conflict, later on the asymmetric conflict from the military point of view and finally the employment of the air power in these conflicts, making stress in the double consideration that will be made of the same ones (strong-weak dichotomy).
The reflections poured next presuppose that the military forces that intervene in the eventual conflicts on those that it is speculated or they describe, they are enabled to participate in the same ones according to the juridical mark peculiar of each State and to the opportune ones directive legitimate of the corresponding government. It will be necessary to study the particular solutions by the light of each specific juridical order to effects of giving solution to such topics as in that cases the Police Forces or the Military Forces should intervene to neutralize the eventual threats, use of military forces inside of and outside of opposite, use of the mortal force, etc.
To begin the proposed study, you necessary restitution to define the study object clearly, this is to determine without place to doubts which the notions are of “asymmetric conflict”, “asymmetric war” and “asymmetric enemy”, since a promiscuous use of the terms exists, which are used in different meanings that although they are true in themselves, they are not very clear, they incorporate strange elements and they contribute in definitive to the reader's confusion, since they represent a very widespread tendency mixing the notion of “asymmetric conflict” with one in the ways (the most effective by the way) of approaching the same one. By way of example, coarse to point out that “Its refers to the way and extreme means of fight that they don't correspond to the objectives and means of the opponent's combat, using resources different to those of the opponent” or that it is “resource that uses the weakest power when attacking in an accidental way the vulnerable side of the strongest power” 1. You can perceive in these examples that a notion is appealed rather of intuitive type.
It is important to clarify that it should be delimited completely of the notion of “asymmetric war” the concept of “terrorism.” The terrorism is an illegitimate instrument of fight that can be an employee in conflicts “symmetrical or asymmetric” that is not adjusted to the rules of the conventional war and that it pursues infusing fear.
Any army or belligerent force can arrived –y the case it should—to use forms of asymmetric fight rightfully without for it to fall in the terrorist practices.
In definitive, the terrorism is a fight instrument that it can be used during any type of human conflict, (“symmetrical” or “asymmetric”, of “high intensity” or “low intensity”, “international” or “of national liberation”, etc.) and that therefore it doesn't integrate the definition of “asymmetric war” that proposes this work.
The conflict is defined as a dynamic process where attitudes, behaviors and structures are interrelated. The conflict arises when the interests of the parts enter in collision or the relationships among them you oppressive turning. This way, the parts in conflict begin to develop hostile attitudes and behaviors you conflict them.
The formation of the conflict, then, begins to be gestated, to grow and to be developed in a hairspring where the distrust and mutual mystification increase the distance among the parts. While this happens, the conflict expands, it can involve to other parts, to be deepened, to be spread and to generate derived secondary conflicts from the main one to the interior of the same groups or not enter third committed in the first conflict.
When one speaks of the conflicts in general, these can be classified assisting specifically to the factor “power”, in:
Symmetrical: The relationship of power is similar, that is to say, both parts have similar quotas of power.
Asymmetric: The relationship among the parts implies a considerable difference regarding the powers in conflict. E.g.: majority versus minority, boss versus employees, master versus servant, etc.
In the asymmetric conflicts, the root of the conflict is not necessarily located in a particular interest that can be generating opposition among the parts, but it indicates that the problem is in fact located in the characteristics of each one and the relationship that settle down. The resolution of conflicts in its traditional focus is mainly bounded to the symmetrical conflicts. In those of asymmetric type, the structure is certain in such a way that in theory, him stronger it should always win and that of inferior power to should always lose. For this reason, the only form of solving this conflict type in peaceful form is changing the structures, what doesn't represent the interest of the strong one obviously.
In consequence, a result winner-winner can not exist for bilateral commitment (that is the most rational form of solving a conflict of symmetrical type). The necessary intervention of a third part is required him to join efforts with those that represent the weak part of the conflict to reach a negotiated agreement him to avoid the violence.
The asymmetric conflicts represent a high cost for both parts (it is oppressive to be oppressor although not as much as being oppressed). There are also costs for the strong ones that should maintain a standard of constant oppression to impede the subversion. In severe asymmetric conflicts a moment arrives in that the cost becomes untenable for both parts. Here, the dynamics to solve the conflict goes by a change of the current structure of relationships to other 2.
If we appeal to the dictionary, in the same one we will be able to find an academic definition of the word war: ” (Of the German werra, discord fights)... it fights armed between two or more nations or among decrees of oneself nation....” 3.
Therefore, it is clear that the war is a conflict (discord, fights, it fights) in great scale (between two or more nations or among decrees of oneself nation) and it is distinguished of other conflicts because in him the weapons are used (armada fights). Said in another way, the is used “military power.”
Combining this definition of war like conflict form in which the military power is applied with the previous of “asymmetric conflict”, this is, that conflict in which the relationship among the parts implies a considerable difference regarding the powers in conflict, we can arrive to a clear notion of the term “asymmetric war”, the one that would be defined as that conflict armed in great scale where the relationship among the parts implies a considerable difference regarding those “military powers” in conflict.
The parts in a war are denominated enemies, therefore, the true essence of the asymmetric war is the imbalance of the military power that exists among the enemies.
It is clear because that the means of fight ends or novel, the use of exotic and accidental resources, etc., on the part of the opponent whose military power it is the weakest, it constitutes a natural consequence of this type of war and although they characterize it, they should not integrate their definition, since they are the consequence of a difference of powers and it doesn't leave of their essence.
The asymmetric war.
The concept of war and asymmetric enemies are not new, although it has taken force in the last decade. Let us remember the biblical allegory of David and Goliat for example where they are present all the elements of the asymmetric confrontation. David represents very well to a small, not well armed but extremely resolved town that faces a giant, strong enemy, equipped for the combat, what constitutes an imbalance of power paradigmatic, David, by means of the use of a wave tactical –employed of novel combat - it is able to defeat their strong enemy without this he had the opportunity to make use of a conventional armament for the time like era their sword or without their armor could end up protecting it.
They exist two forms basically of facing an asymmetric war, this is a traditional form using the same means and the same techniques that for the “symmetrical war” and the focus “not traditional” or “asymmetric” properly this, introducing in the conflict those “extreme means of fight that they don't correspond to the objectives and means of the opponent's combat, using resources different to those of the opponent.” To these two forms we should add a third that is the version “terrorist”, with the exceptions that were made at the beginning of this work on a condemnable criminal practice that can not be adopted by a respectful State of the conventions about the war.
Clausewitz in their work “On War”, he gives bill of the existence of wars that they are given among extremely disparate enemies when he says “... the difference in force physics should not be bigger, at most that what could be neutralized by the force moral ...in consequence, if we have seen certain wars that take place among unequal states in might, it is due to that in fact the war goes away much of our original theoretical conception” and immediately next he offers an explanation for such a phenomenon, “they exist in the practice two causes to make the peace that you/they can occupy the place of offering bigger resistance: one, the improbability of the success, the other one the excessive cost to pay for him” 4
The German general was great admirer in the way in that Federico “El Grande” obtained important military and political achievements in spite of the relatively poor of his military might. Referring to this tells us, “to the front of a small nation that resembled each other to the other ones in many things and it only led them in some aspects of the administration, it could not become an Alejandro and it had finished in a disaster like XII Carlos. For it, in all their warlike address you translucent a limited power, always even and never exempt of force ...attribute that we emphasize also in the campaign of 1760, in the other ones, but particularly in this, because in her it sustained the balance facing a very superior hostile force and only making a small sacrifice.”5
Clausewitz was then, fully aware of the existence of asymmetric conflicts in those that a small nation could even achieve the success provided can discourage the opponent, achieving that this it gave up the fight due to the high cost or to the unlikely of its success. In definitive, the objective of the weak one was to achieve its enemy to not pay the price in material and blood for the political ends that it sought to achieve.
The Prussian genius was not able to imagine “you solve novel” or the “employment of different resources”, because it always maintained in its mind a conception of traditional confrontation among the opponents, still among the asymmetric ones. The solutions that it contributed in these cases implied confrontations in foot of equality and conventional, happening but well for an appropriate use of the audacity, the surprise, the strategic defense and in definitive a pondered use of the resources in the dissuasive process. Fair it is to clarify that it was almost impossible in their time to conceive the degree of asymmetry of powers to those that you can arrive in the modern world (a superpower like USA in front of a third word country) and, on the other hand, he was heir of a long European military tradition, too much tied to a combat form ordered in meticulous formations, what created in him a very important imprint.
In July of 1755, in America of the north (25 years before the birth of Clausewitz), an important British force endowed with powerful artillery to the division general's Edward Braddock control was defeated by a small and relatively poor it forces of French and Indian, those which taking advantage of the land and hiding in the forests, they were able to cause the Britons -that responded in traditional form concentrating its means, what transformed them in white easy - 900 drops, including at 15 of the 18 officials and that of the own Braddock.6
Here we have in an almost contemporary example to the experience of Clausewitz, a more practical focus of the “asymmetric war”, where the essence of the conflict was – for Steven Metz and Douglas Johnson of the Superior School of War they say of the I Exercise of the United States - in “...action, organize and to think in way different to our opponent, in way of maximizing our own advantages, to exploit the opponent's weaknesses, to obtain the initiative and to achieve a bigger action freedom.”7
In colloquial terms it would mean to not make the same thing that the strongest opponent attempts, because in that I outline the weak one it is already defeated. It is preferable to exploit the own advantages and the enemy's weaknesses in a different form. An example of this can it turns in the war that sustained the army of the USA against the Indian Seminola, according to John D. Waghesitein: “when the Indians faced with a power of more fire and in an unfavorable tactical situation, they were simply dispersed in small groupings fighting a war of guerrillas ...When it was expected that other natives of the east follow the game rules of defending a fixed position and to be defeated, the Seminolas ...rejected regularly the pitched battles and in their place they used tactical as the ambushes and other sudden attacks...”8.
A third form of manifestation of the conflict asymmetric armada that is given by working of certain fundamentalist, nationalist groups exists or related with the national and international organized crime, which appeal to the instrument of the terror that they can, given its reach and magnitude, to have very serious consequences. By way of example it is enough to contemplate the Colombian reality, the attacks with gas Sarín in the underground of Tokyo or the attacks of September 11 against the USA.
These practices are condemnable, they should be pursued and repressed who perpetrate them they are or non combatants, infringe the national and international laws.
A legitimate military force that belongs to a “State of Right”, it can never appeal to terrorist practices.
Due to the abundant of the literature of North American origin that is in charge of of the topic of the asymmetric military conflicts, it is spread in general to approach these matters from a perspective too much grasped to the vision that the specialists of this country have of the same ones.
From the North American and given point of view their current status of superpower hegemonic, they don't exist more than eventual enemies, threats and wars of asymmetric type, being always their country in the opponent's position “strong”, I save perhaps in the unlikely case of a conventional or nuclear military confrontation with China.
This is not neither good neither bad, it is only partially, because it is important to highlight that just as the Roman god Jano, this problem has two faces because in anyone of the focuses before mentioned to face an eventual one “asymmetric enemy”, it should not be considered alone the perspective of the strongest but also that of the weakest.
Any state, international contingent or belligerent community, can it turns involved in an asymmetric military conflict in which plays him to carry out some of these lists, be that of the strongest, be that of the weakest.
A country like Uruguay, in spite of their relatively small size and peaceful vocation, are not other people's neither to this reality because the eventual threats that it can face in the future, will always be asymmetric and it is for that reason that the oriental reality (it is equal to Uruguayan to say) it can be good as example to illustrate us in this point.
Attack external: the external attack is always a possibility although with a very low degree of probability. Of taking place, it could only have their origin in border neighbors or in an enemy unaware to the region, but with capacity to project their military force in overseas. In all these hypothetical and at the moment not very probable cases, Uruguay would be involved in an asymmetric conflict. Coarse with seeing the size and the resources of the neighboring states and of the countries that today is capable of overseas military adventures to realize that in this confrontation it would be carrying out the list of the weakest part.
Interior shock: in the always possible and more probable case of having to face an internal shock or to a leaning autochthonous belligerent group or not from the exterior, the oriental military forces would be also involved in a conflict of asymmetric type, although this time in a surely advantageous position.
Missions of peace: the troops of Uruguay that complete missions of peace abroad for the United, given Nations the nature of the same ones, will be involved in conflicts of usually asymmetric nature in those that will be able to carry out, as it is the case, the list of the strong one or of the weak one.
Actions before those “new menaces”: the Uruguayan state could have necessity in the future of using validly and inside an appropriate juridical mark, to the military forces to face to armed groups of criminal or terrorist type, related for example with the drug traffic or the smuggling, in case the police forces were overcome in number, fire power or in some other form for this organizations. In these cases we suppose the military forces they would be carrying out the list of the most powerful part.
The employment of the Air Power against asymmetric enemies.
We will take as starting point a classic definition of air power as the one that two Britons proposed, the marshal of the air R. J. Armitage and the Vice Marshal of the air R. A. Masón in their work “Air Power in Nuclear the Age”, where they affirm that it is “the capacity to project military force in the third dimension starting from a platform above the terrestrial surface” (9). This is a definition enough accepted that it has the virtue of to sometimes include the gone by high capacity of the air power of working like potential threat, although it leaves outside of her some types of vectors that can affect it, as being the ballistic missiles and the earth-air.
Let us also clarify that the air power can be perceived like a sophisticated tool and polyvalent that it can be used against enemy's type, be symmetrical or asymmetric. The difference between a rolling success or a catastrophic failure in the use of this wonderful tool resides in using the appropriate function for the concrete necessity, without attempting “to kill mosquitoes to gunshots” neither to stop an elephant with a toothpick.
Established with clarity the notion of air power, next we will begin to evaluate the forms and methods of their application against asymmetric enemies, using for it the outline developed until this point and different available historical examples.
Considering the “asymmetric war”, we will study the employment of the air power from an angle “traditional” and “not traditional.” In each one of them we will assist the strongest opponent's perspective and of the weakest, finally we will analyze the employment of the air power against asymmetric enemies (weaker than the armed forces of the State) and that they have opted for the “terrorism”
Strong: it uses the air power in the traditional form, recommended by the big ones theoretical as Douhet and Mitchell. Against a weaker asymmetric enemy, it can not be adapted and even counteractive.
The destruction of the enemy air force, for example, is not a valid objective since this it can be unable to dispute the air superiority and even to not exist.
The employment of the abundant, complicated and expensive air means can not have the effect wanted on the enemy as it happened during the last two years of the war in Korea, when the northcorean and Chinese opposed a weak resistance along the parallel 38º N. The intense application of conventional air means for the North Americans, it didn't achieve the looked for goal that it was the progress of the negotiations to preserve a Korea of the non communist South.
In another case paradigmatic, we can see that they were carried out numerous air interdictions against the routes northcoreans of supply during the operation “Strangle”, without achieving in any moment to radically cut the flow of supplies because the Asians used a primary technology for the transport along this routes. For example, it could demonstrate himself that 100 men transporting mortar grenades on their back, they could cover the required daily quota of that ammunition for indefinite time 10.
The USA, during the war of Vietnam, they failed in the recognition and identification of the nature of the armed conflict that faced, incurring in some of the same errors that had made in Korea again. They began a classic campaign of strategic bombing by means of the operation “Rolling Thunder”, attacking such objectives as deposits of petroleum in the outskirts of Hanoi without obtaining significant results in the war in the south. The forces of the Vietcong and the one exercises to regulate of Vietnam of the North they didn't have big necessities of petroleum, such which affirmed the general Bay Alejandro that was in charge of the training of Fidel Castro's insurgent troops and he said: “the feet and the legs are the guerrilla's motors” 11.
The bombing of populations civil unprotect and the collateral damage, they can turner the public opinion so much national as international against the “strong”, just as it happened to the USA during the war of Vietnam.
In definitive, to apply the air power “traditional” against a notoriously weaker enemy it can be onerous, disgusted, not very effective and to commit the political objectives of the war.
Weak: the traditional employment of the use of the air power on the part of the weak opponent is equally dangerous and possibly harmful.
Usually, just as it happens in Uruguay, the air power has a dissuasive function 12, that is to say, of latent threat. It has as primary end to create the certainty in the eventual enemy that, in the case that decides to attack, he will sell very expensive the possible defeat and that can commit the achievement of their political objectives for extremely onerous.
The problem of this attitude is that the deterrence will only be effective if it constitutes a real and believable threat, since its main objective is to avoid the armed conflict. When this takes place, the deterrence fails. If the asymmetry is of such a magnitude that the weak air power is not perceived as a threat by the strong air power, it takes place the armed encounter then. If the weak one carries out what is expected from him, that is to say, it uses their air power in traditional form, it is defeated inevitably.
The problem is increased due to the endemic economic crises that suffer certain regions of the world and to the onerous thing that it turns out to acquire or to develop air platforms and systems of weapons. That circumstance contributes to create a great technical dependence and to increase the technological breach, making every less believable day the traditional air answer of the military forces of the third world and of the countries in development.
In 1982, in the conflict of the Malvinas (Falklands), the Argentina air force appealed to a traditional focus to face with success to the British, technologically more advanced sea and air forces. 20 years have passed and during that time the systems of weapons of Uruguay that in that then could be considered relatively contemporary to those used by the Argentineans, they continue being basically similar. Is it necessary to wonder, does the same thing happen in the countries of the first world or in the neighboring countries? The answer is obviously not, reason why it is necessary day by day to conclude that the technological breach becomes bigger and it is directly proportional to the passage of the time. That diminishes the own dissuasive capacity and it forces us to restate the convenience of maintaining a traditional vision on the employment of the air power in the defense of a country like Uruguay.
Air Power employment in the “Not traditional” focus or “Asymmetric”
“Nobody begins a war or plans to make it without before to have in clear what intends and the means to achieve it”
K. von Clausewitz
Strong: this will evaluate and to define their political objectives clearly in the conflict before deciding the best form of using their power air superior against the weak one.
Therefore they should be determined:
The political objectives “positive”, I eat for example it was to achieve the unconditional rendition of Germany during the Second World War or to get the exit of the troops Iraqis from Kuwait during the first war of the Gulf. On the base of these objectives it is determined clearly which is the best application that one can give to the own military resources.
The political objectives “negative” and a good example of them can be “to preserve the Alliance during the war of the Gulf of 1991, avoiding to all coast the intervention of Israel.” These negative objectives spread to establish the limitations to those that he goes to be subjected the application of the military force for the achievement of the positive objectives.
In general it is possible to affirm that the importance that they charge the negative objectives for the strongest is directly proportional to the asymmetry of the conflict. It is so in a symmetrical war where the objectives prevail “positive”, there will be few limitations for the employment of the military might in general and air in particular. During the Second World War the allies bombarded until reducing to ashy the German cities, they didn't doubt to attack you dam in the valley of the Rurh and they even ended up using nuclear weapons against two Japanese cities.
On the contrary, the achievement of negative objectives always implies limitations to the employment of the own might. The more limited it is the war, adult it is the weight of the negative objectives and more blocks the employment of the air power.
Coarse to only mention by way of example limitations like the bombing of the south head of certain bridges in Korea or the inhibition of attacking important military team parked in the suburbs and even inside sacred places for the Islam during the war of the Gulf.
It is obvious that the contradictory nature of the positive objectives and negatives believe a dicotomía that of not being happily resolved for the responsible ones political, it can induce a true paralysis just as which happened in Vietnam during president Lyndon Jonson's administration, when the negative objectives neutralized to the positive ones 13. That was completely reflected in a sentence attributed to an anonymous general during the conflict, mentioned by the analyst military bigger North American Robert M. Cassidy in one of their works: “I will never allow the destruction of the Army, their institutions, their doctrine, or their traditions only to win this stinking war” 14
The positive political objectives of the war determine which will be the superior strategy to -invade Iraq, for example. The negative political objectives affect to the military strategy directly –el way of make this invasion - and to the military objectives – military goals notices and what types of material objectives they will be attacked during the operations - arriving to the executive steps in form of “rules of engagement” or “rule of combat” to those that the companies will be adjusted under its strict responsibility.
They exist - according to the military analyst Dr. Mark Clodfelter - a series of variable factors that they will be evaluated before determining the air power can contribute to the achievement of the positive goals without committing the negatives in a conflict of asymmetric type in what occasions. They refer to the enemy's nature, the type of war undertaken by this, the characteristics of the land where you combats, the magnitude of the military controls and the nature of the political objectives.
Weak: the weak opponent should face the conflict from a focus “not traditional” or “asymmetric.” With a new mentality, we have to abandon the concept of own military victory since to obtain it is impossible due to the overwhelming inequality of the forces. The objective should consist on trying to hinder the victory to the enemy, increasing its waste (we don't forget that it is oppressive to be oppressor), committing this way the achievement of its political objectives. That can take it to a final defeat in spite of having won all the previous battles.
This attitude in front of the enemy about the victory is achieved abandoning the paradigms of the classic combat, attempting “to play another game”, trying to maximize the own advantages, exploiting the weaknesses of the contrary one and impeding him at the same time the usufruct of its own advantages.
In Chechenia, for example, the local forces always knew that a victory was almost impossible. For it they always avoided the combat open with the armored vehicles, the artillery and the Russian air power, forcing them to begin the combat in urban land where they had advantages and they could cause them bigger number of low without vulnerable tornarse to the power of superior fire of the Russians.
During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Afghans that lacked air force could not dispute the air superiority and they conformed to (being very effective in it) with complicating the activity air Soviet, made dribs insofar as possible by means of the employment small weapons and of antiaircraft missiles shot from the shoulder, cheap, easy to hide, extremely mobile and safe of the weapons of suppression of air defense (missiles antiradar, etc.). On the contrary, the antiaircraft batteries ZPU-4 of the Force of Panamanian Defense (I use traditional) they were neutralized quickly during the operation “Just Causes” (December 1989) and they constituted a smaller threat for the North American airships that the fire of small weapons 15.
It is necessary also to be innovative when scarce resources are used. Let us remember the example of the chechenios that you/they used commercial technology to intercept the Russian military transmissions and the experience of the North Americans in China, where those “Tigre Voladores” of the General Chennault, scarce and equipped with hunts P-40 (smaller maneuverability that the Japanese Zero), they should develop tactical new avoiding the “fight of dogs” to all coast. To that end they implemented the procedure of “to itch (taking advantage of the superior speed in having itched), to strafe and to avoid” with excellent results.
Another interesting and very illustrative experience was the one that the Colonel Lee. Robert Lee Scott Jr. who in May 1942 while the only Kittyhawk steered in the whole India and Burma attacking in solitary to the Japanese troops, it used different fields distributed in the forest and it changed the outline of painting of its airship continually as well as the address of the attacks, convincing its enemies that faced an entire squadron “...departed early of tomorrow with the cube of the painted helix of white and it attacked Lashio or Mogaung from the south. Then it attacked from the west with the colored cube of blue. After the lunch the painting enthusiasts or my own mechanics gave another color to my next flight...” .
Another illustrative example finds it during the insurrection in Biafra in the decade of the ´60, where slight airplanes were used steered by mercenaries. Armed unexpectedly and using the factor surprise, they were able to destroy in earth to modern airplanes of combat MIG Nigerian, delivering this way a terrible blow to the power air enemy.
One of the objectives of the “weak” it consists on to identify and to exploit the limitations correctly in the use of the military force that you car imposes the “strong” with the intention of reaching its own negative political objectives. Once identified correctly, they can be exploited in several ways. For example, if the enemy doesn't attack certain places, it should transform them to him in sanctuaries, if the enemy wants to avoid collateral damages or to the civil population, when these facts take place for some error it is necessary to give them the biggest possible international diffusion, just as it happened during the War of the Gulf when some of the weapons “intelligent” (that are not certain) it failed and it impacted against some refuge where there was civil.
As it had already cleared up from the beginning, the “right state” it is incompatible with the use of the terrorist instrument, they is to the legitimate armed forces absolutely forbidden the use of this instrument, is for it that the analysis will only embrace the litigant's point of view “strong”, since we suppose that this it is the paper that would fit to this forces in an eventual asymmetric conflict against of aggressors that use the terrorism in the mark of the new threats that faces the modern world.
Strong: in an asymmetric conflict of this type it should adopt a similar position to the one suggested for the focus “not traditional”, that which induces it to apply the air power against their rival evaluating the factors up pointed out, defining the positive and negative objectives clearly, and establishing the limitations and “rules of engagement” (R.O.E.) clear. These rules should take into account the rights of the innocent citizens that they can it turns involved. By way of example we do imagine the situation of a company forced to carry out the car rotation of a helicopter on a humble neighborhood during support tasks to the control of social disturbances and where it should face the local hostility, how should it protect their physical integrity, how should it protect their airship?, etc.
To avoid the collateral damage and of the civil population it is of a lot of bigger importance in this type of procedures that in the cases of “asymmetric war” due to the vicinity or overlapping that it is verified among the sector to protect and the enemy to defeat.
It should be kept in mind that in this type of asymmetric conflict there are big discrepancies. For example, let us notice the differences among the effective and successful actions of the units of Operations Special Americans supported by near air fire and ammunition of precision guided against the Talibanes in Tora-Bora (these forces operated in Afghanistan like guerrillas with success in that asymmetric conflict) and the employment of Uruguayan helicopters in support tasks to the police in outlying neighborhoods or in the border area.
Those “asymmetric enemies” they are a reality, they are between us and the question it is not if we will face them, but when, how and where we will make it.
The “asymmetric war” it is the armed conflict of the XXI century. On the other hand, the existence of the new threats constituted by terrorists, mafias, drug dealer - international mafias, traffic of weapons and smuggling, among other, joined to the growing globalization, it makes to be impossible to subtract us of this reality. Behind they are, for anachronic, the visions westfalian of neutrality.
We should be watchful and to get ready for this type of conflicts, taking the lessons that teaches us the history and the experience of who have been involved already in them, but without falling in the comfort of caring without another consideration the visions that abroad are had of the same ones.
To defend our country in this new era constitutes a great challenge due to the big budgetary restrictions that we face. For it is necessary to develop our own asymmetric vision. If we are those “weak”, we should prepare a coherent defensive proposal that incorporates our asymmetric reality and grant credibility to our military answer in front of an eventual attack, giving a new sense to the “deterrence” and getting new life to it as if we are those “strong”, we should develop the asymmetric conscience requesting, if it is necessary demanding for the appropriate institutional means to the responsible politicians of the conduction of the conflict, certainty and clarity in the fixation of the positive and negative objectives. We should ponder all the variable factors and to establish our strategy, military objectives and “rules of engagement” operative (R.O.E.) in form white.
It is not an easy proposal, because it almost requires a revolution copernican of the military thought. In an asymmetric proposal they become in our against those that up to now were our truths rectors. In her we should maybe abandon the notion of military victory, perhaps even the direct operations against the enemy air force to give priority to the near air support, maintaining the air action to low height and speed, complicating the enemy's air operations insofar as possible, favoring the air platforms of take off and short or vertical landing, maybe abandoning the concentrated air units and opting rather for the dispersion to achieve the survival, but conserving the aptitude to gather our air means in quick and flexible form by means of an appropriate one “command and control” with excellent redundant communications of simple, cheap and as much as possible autochthonous technology.
Anyone that you are the solutions to that you arrives, will be realistic, with an asymmetric vision and adapted to her, because all the future wars will be disputed this way. We should be alert for not making what the enemy expects from us, because it implies it our defeat. Be prepare to intervene in “another game type.”
1. Clodfleter Mark Dr. “The Air Power against Asymmetric enemies”, Air & Space Power Journal Spanish Second Trimester 2003. P. 85.
2. Summarized of Extractado de "Nuevas tendencias y herramientas para el análisis de conflictos"2003. Artículo elaborado dentro del Proyecto de Investigación N° 12-02/6-2, "Prevención, Manejo y Resolución de Conflictos Internacionales Contemporáneos: de la Teoría a la Práctica", Departamento de Investigación y Desarrollo, Universidad de Chile, 2003-2004, por la Srta. Pía Lombardo, Cientista Político, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. MA en Ciencia Política, mención Relaciones Internacionales, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. MSc en Seguridad Global, Royal Military College of Science, Cranfield University. Profesora Investigadora del Instituto de Estudios Internacionales, Universidad de Chile. www.cesim.cl
3. Encyclopedic dictionary Salvat. Salvat Publishing CORP. Barcelona 1978.
4. Clausewitz K.V. Of the War. Editorial Need. Good Aires.1997. P. 50
5. Clausewitz K.V. Of the War. Editorial Need. Good Aires.1997. Págs 157/158
6. Skelton Ike Congresista. “Lessons for asymmetric conflicts.” Military Review. Hispanic-American March-April 2002 .Pag.3.
7. Idem previous
8. Mentioned by Skelton Ike Congresista “Lessons for asymmetric conflicts.” Military Review. Hispanic-American March-April 2002 Pag 5 and 6.
9. Clodfelter Mark Dr. “The Air Power against Asymmetric Enemies. A study for the effective evaluation.” Air & Space Power Journal Spanish Second Trimester 2003. Pag 86
10. Kirtland Michael Tte. Cnel (USAF) “Lessons of the Operación Strangle in the war of Korea” AirPower Journal. Spanish American edition. Spring 1993.Pág. 43.
11. Wend, Diego M Lieutenant USAF. “Using a mandarria to kill a mosquito” Spanish American .AirpowerJournalEdición. Autumn 1992. P. 70
12. Menéndez Edgardo Cnel (R) “Defense of a small country” Airpower Journal Edición Spanish American Autumn 1994. P. 42.
13. Clodfelter Mark Dr. “The Air Power against Asymmetric Enemies. A study for the effective evaluation.” Air & Space Power Journal Spanish Second Trimester 2003. P. 89.
14. Ibarrola Javier Periodista “U.S. not learned Lessons” www.mexico.com
15. Bateman Vance Captain USAF, “The function of the tactical Air Power in the conflicts of low intensity.” AirPower Journal. Edition Hispanoamericana.Primavera 1992. P. 32 Mentioned by Caidin Martín “Los Guerreros Implacables.” Javier Vergara Editor. Buenos Aires 1981.Pág. 215.
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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