Airpower’s Crucial Role in Irregular Warfare
Major General Allen G. Peck writes in Air & Space Power:
Because the dominance of America’s airpower in traditional wars has not been lost on those who threaten our national interests, we can logically expect them to turn increasingly to irregular warfare (IW). The ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan reflect the ways that US military power has had to adapt and transform to meet new challenges presented by enemies who have respect for our conventional dominance and the determination to find exploitable seams in our capabilities.
Although the capabilities and effects that America’s airpower brings to the fight are not as visible to the casual observer as the maneuvers of ground forces, airpower (including operations in the air, space, and cyberspace domains) remains an invaluable enabler for those forces. Airpower can also serve as a powerful IW capability in its own right, as it did early in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. No one should dismiss IW as falling strictly within the purview of ground or special operations forces. Understanding the IW environment and, in particular, airpower’s immense contributions is critical for America’s future Air Force leaders, who will prove instrumental in ensuring that the service continues adapting to an ever-changing enemy and bringing relevant capabilities to bear in an ever-changing fight.