The Air Force Role in Low-Intensity Conflict

Overview

This book grew from an opportunity to study a third world air force fighting an externally supported insurgency. The players were the Royal Moroccan Air Force and the Polisario, the latter trying to wrest control of the Western Sahara from the Kingdom of Morocco. The United States has also been a player in the Morocco-Polisario war as the source of much of Morocco's war material, especially the weapons used by the Royal Moroccan Air Force. Help from the United States was especially important when the Polisario ...
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More About This Book

Overview

This book grew from an opportunity to study a third world air force fighting an externally supported insurgency. The players were the Royal Moroccan Air Force and the Polisario, the latter trying to wrest control of the Western Sahara from the Kingdom of Morocco. The United States has also been a player in the Morocco-Polisario war as the source of much of Morocco's war material, especially the weapons used by the Royal Moroccan Air Force. Help from the United States was especially important when the Polisario deployed Soviet-built SA-6 surface-to-air missiles to counter the growing effectiveness of the Royal Moroccan Air Force. For many reasons, the United States and the US Air Force were not able to assist the Moroccans effectively. The Morocco-Polisario-US scenario that provides the basis for this study was a tiny aspect of the US foreign and military policy in the early 1980s. But it shows a political-military problem that deserves a good deal of thought now. That problem simply stated is: How is the United States going to exert political-military influence in the third world during the next twenty years? Clearly, overall US influence in the third world will be a combination of political, military, economic, and social activity. But the military, in many cases, will be the most visible form of assistance, and one upon which the recipient nation will depend for immediate results. Are the military components as instruments of national policy able to act effectively in the third world? If not, what needs to be done? The US Air Force (and the other services) needs to consider the question of effective assistance to third world countries as part of a basic shift in strategic thinking. Our primary strategic planning effort has been to insert large numbers of US ground and air forces into an area such as the Persian Gulf to accomplish our policy objectives. That planning effort must continue, but with the understanding that inserting a major US force in any third world region is extremely unlikely, both for domestic political reasons and because potential host nations are reluctant to support large US forces. Our primary strategic focus for planning needs to shift to providing effective leverage for third world friends and allies. That leverage can be in the form of arms sales, training, doctrine, or even small specialized forces. But providing leverage depends on effective planning that builds the data base which allows us to pinpoint the host country's needs and capabilities. Developing that kind of expertise in the USAF, and in the other services, will be a difficult and frustrating long-term proposition. The Air Force must recognize the need for a change and must act upon it. Planning to exert effective political-military influence in the third world may not be a glamorous task, but it will be the name of the game for the next twenty years and beyond. This book offers some ideas in that regard.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781478379393
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/6/2012
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

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