A Historical Comparison Of TACAIR Doctrine Since World War II
SUBJECT AREA Aviation
Title: A Historical Comparison of TACAIR Doctrine Since World War II
Author: Major J.R. Keadle, United States Marine Corps
Thesis: The intent of this paper is to look into the
historical development of TACAIR doctrines, make comparisons
between those doctrines, and take an in-depth look at the
issues that surfaced during the Korean War, focusing on those
that still plague us today.
Discussion: Studying the historical development of each of
the Service's TACAIR doctrine, assists one to better
understand how each Service views the battlefield. Making
comparisons of these doctrines helps to understand the issues
from a broader perspective. The Korean War became the first
time all of the Service's TACAIR doctrines collided on the
battlefield, which has produced many inter-service TACAIR
issues. The Korean War gives us an opportunity for an
in-depth look at those issues from all perspectives. This
in-depth perspective helps mold an understanding as to why,
some of these same issues, are still debated today. There
have been many lessons learned from the TACAIR issues raised
during and after the Korean War; however, most of these
differences still persist today. Every war or conflict this
country has been involved in since the Korean War, with
Desert Storm being the latest, has resulted in many of the
same issues raised and old lessons having to be relearned
again. Today, in-light of the budget cuts and force
reductions, there seems to be a greater "jointness" trend
among all the Services. Because of this "jointness" trend,
the Services finally are making progress toward rectifying
the TACAIR issues that have plagued us for the past fifty
years. The key for continued progress is for all the
Services to set parochialism aside, learn and understand each
Service's doctrine, and to make a cooperative effort to
settle remaining issues over TACAIR.
A HISTORICAL COMPARISON OF TACAIR DOCTRINE
SINCE WORLD WAR II
Thesis Statement: The intent of this paper is to look into
the historical development of TACAIR doctrines, make
comparisons between those doctrines, and take an in-depth
look at the issues that surfaced during the Korean War,
focusing on those that still plague us today.
I. A Historical review
A. Pre-World War II
B. World War II
C. Post-World War II
II. TACAIR Doctrines
A. Army/Air Force Doctrines
B. Navy/Marine Corps Doctrine
C. Comparisons of the Two Doctrines
III. Influences of Korea
A. Korean War
B. Marines Enter the War
C. TACAIR Issues
D. Army/Air Force Issues
E. Marine Corps/Air Force Issues
VI. Lessons Learned
A. Issues of Today
A HISTORICAL COMPARISON OF TACAIR DOCTRINE
SINCE WORLD WAR II
Throughout the past 50 years, United States airpower
doctrine has been developed by four different Services: U.S.
Army (USA), U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Navy (USN), and the
U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). All have unique doctrines that
appear on the surface to be different. Yet a careful
study reveals them to be nearly the same. The real
differences between the doctrines is actually the level of
focus as applied on the battlefield. The Air Force views the
battle more on the strategic and operational level, where as
the Navy and, in particular, the Marine Corps sees the battle
more on the tactical level.
Ironically, the doctrines for the use of airpower,
specifically in the Air Force and Marine Corps, have grown
closer over the past 50 years. However, the same joint
issues of command and control in relation to the focus of
effort for tactical aviation have not changed. The Joint
Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) in Desert Shield/Storm
assisted all the Services in working together in the joint
environment. Nevertheless, some of the same joint issues
concerning command and control that were raised in the Korean
War surfaced once again.
In today's environment, with Congress calling for even
more large scale cuts in defense spending, the time is right
to set parochialism aside and to get serious about working
together in the joint environment. Future competition for
limited fire support platforms, such as fewer naval gun
ships, tactical aircraft, and smaller numbers of ground
forces will certainly compel the U.S. Armed Forces to think
"joint" in order to accomplish the mission. No longer will
it be feasible to "do it alone" as all the Services thought
they could in the past.
Much has been debated and written over the issue of
command and control of tactical aviation (TACAIR). A
comparative historical look at the Service's airpower
doctrines, and an in-depth look at the Korean War, is
necessary in order to understand the issues over TACAIR. The
intent of this paper is to look into the historical
development of TACAIR doctrines, make comparasions between
those doctrines, and take an in-depth look at the issues that
surfaced during the Korean War, focusing on those that still
plague us today.
A HISTORICAL REVIEW
During WW I aviation was in such an early stage of
development that it had little effect on the outcome of the
war, although in future wars airpower would play a
significant role. Many theories for the employment of
airpower surfaced during the two decades that followed WW I.
Some viewed the airplane as just another supporting arm, and
should be employed as such by the ground commander. Others
saw the strategic value of the airplane, and felt it should
be separated from the ground commander. Still others such as
Douhet, an Italian general and airpower theorist, saw
airpower potentially making ground and naval forces obsolete.
In his eyes, future wars would be fought only from the air.
The Army wrestled with these issues during the pre WW II
years. As early as 1927, there was a move afoot to make the
Army Air Corps (AAC) an independent armed service. MAJ GEN
"Billy" Mitchell, was actually court-martialed for voicing
his views for an independent Air Force. The ground component
of the Army vehemently opposed this idea. The ground
commanders wanted direct control of the air force to be used
as they saw fit on the battlefield. Hence, as the United
States entered the Second World War, the AAC had no air
doctrine. Each Army corps commander employed his aircraft as
he so desired.
The Marine Corps, on the other hand, did not experience
the same issues, due in a large part to its concentration on
small expeditionary operations. The air-ground relationship
was much tighter than what the Army/Army Air Corps
experienced. The Marine Corps spent the pre-WW II years
learning the value of the aircraft as a reconnaissance and
weapons platform to support the ground troops in actual
combat operations in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the
jungles of Nicaragua.
The discovery that the airplane could sink ships posed a
serious threat to naval fleets. As a counter, the aircraft
carrier was developed, perfected, and employed to protect its
fleet from the air menace. In the 1930's, developing a
strategy to defeat a potential Japanese threat, Naval Air
began to be viewed as more of an offensive weapon. The
intent was to use it in large scale naval clashes on the high
seas as well as to support the amphibious operations that
would become necessary in the taking or retaking of territory
owned by the enemy.
On December 7th, 1941, the surprise attack on Pearl
Harbor thrust the United States into WW II and became a "Day
of Infamy" in the words of President Roosevelt in a speech in
which he declared war on the Axis Powers. The war would be
the test bed for the individual Services to put their
airpower theories and doctrines into practice.
During the 1942-43 land campaign in Northern Africa,
doctrine for the use of airpower began to be shaped. Up
until the battle for the Kasserine Pass in 1943, the air
forces were in direct support of ground commanders who
employed them on the battlefield as they chose. Ground
commanders, like GEN Patton, were major proponents of having
air units in direct support of the ground troops. Army Air
Corps commanders complained that the air forces were being
piece-mealed into the battle, thereby suffering unnecessary
losses to the German Luftwaffe. Additionally, air
commanders thought they could do more damage if air
superiority could be gained, thus allowing the interdiction
of German ground forces before they could get to the close
battlefield. Air commanders argued that all of the air
forces in theater should be organized in general support
rather than direct support to the ground forces, in order to
mass at the appropriate place and time. Centralized control
would ensure unity of effort. Additionally, the air
commander should have coequal status with the ground
General Eisenhower's decision, as Theater Commander, to
centralize command and control of all theater air assets
under one commander, certainly proved to be correct one
(5:359). The ability air to concentrate air assets on the
Luftwaffe, cutting off the lines of communications while
attriting the German reinforcing efforts, was a significant
contribution to the Allied victory over Rommel's German
forces. As a result of the AAC's success, the foundation for
an independent air force was given birth. This foundation
would later be the basis for the formation of the Air Force.
Because of the lack of close supporting fires from
aircraft, many Army commanders became bitterly opposed to the
idea of an independent Air Force. What they saw was the loss
of airpower for their use on the battlefield. The fact was
that this centralized system did protect the ground forces
from enemy air attack and, although unobserved by the ground
commanders, enemy reinforcements were being systematically
destroyed by the AAC. Myopically, the major complaint was
the loss of the organic direct air support, once owned by the
ground commanders. (After the AAC separated as an
independent Air Force, Army doctrine has adapted and
compensated to this loss of organic airpower by employing
attack helicopters for close-in fire support.)
On the other side of the world, the Navy and Marine
Corps were developing their own versions of airpower. In my
opinion, hind-sight allows us to see that the Japanese did
the Navy a favor by sinking most of the United States'
battleship fleet. Operations in the Pacific would later
prove that the decisive weapon of war on the high seas was
the aircraft carrier. The carrier, combined with land-based
Marine aircraft, also proved indispensable during the
amphibious assaults in the Pacific.
During the second battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the
Navy/Marine air-ground team played a significant role.
During this campaign carrier platforms were not available to
provide dedicated air for the landing force commander because
the Navy carriers were busy defending and protecting their
own fleet. The "Cactus Air Force," a collage of AAC,
displaced Navy carrier aircraft, and predominantly Marine
aircraft were flown to Henderson Field. The Cactus Air
Force, commanded by aviator Major General Roy S. Geiger,
USMC, possessed centralized command and control of the air
assets, worked for and in concert with the Landing Force
commander, a ground officer. Combined with the Navy Carrier
Air, it proved to be a decisive element for victory on
During the battle for Okinawa, Navy/Marine amphibious
doctrine achieved its highest level of perfection, with air
and ground units working together better than ever before.
Nearly 14,000 support sorties were flown by Marines from Navy
carriers, Escort Carriers, and land bases in direct support
of the landing force.(16:369) This battle ended the Navy/
Marine air-ground team participation in the war and served as
the foundation for current Marine Air Ground Tasks Force
(MAGTF) doctrine of today.
POST WW II
Immediately following WW II, there was much debate
amongst the Services over airpower, who should control it,
and who should own it. President Truman tried to unify the
Services into one department from the existing two; the War
Department (Army/Army Air Corps) and the Navy department
(Navy/Marine Corps). The Army fully supported this effort.
Ground Army officers were still smarting from the sting of
the separation over the centralized command of air assets
during the North African campaign. Even though the AAC
managed to maintain its independence after this campaign,
the Army wanted the air back under the control of its ground
commanders. The AAC ready to declare its independence from
the Army, certainly wanted no part of this unification.
The AAC not only wanted its independence, it also wanted
to control all aviation assets. For the Navy, loss of its
air assets would be disastrous to their power projection role
in seapower. Concerned for their aviation assets, the
Navy/Marine Corps not only fought the idea of unification but
also an independent Air Force. In their opinion, the Army
should be able to form an air ground team similar to
that of the Navy/Marine Corps without having to form a
separate Air Force. The Marine Corps, well aware that
President Truman was no ally, simply feared for its very
A compromise was agreed upon and the National Security
Act of 1947 was signed by President Truman into law on 26
July 1947. What had originally been intended to unify all
the Services, ironically created an additional Service, the
Air Force. The Act also guaranteed the Navy the right to own
its own air force in the execution of its roles and missions,
and the Marine Corps itself was made into law, comprised of
three ground divisions supported by three aircraft wings.
The Army not only lost its bid for a unified service,
additionally they lost control of their own air assets. The
newly formed Air Force, with lessons freshly learned from the
European and North African Theaters of WW II, wanted
possession of all United States airpower; in other words,
centralized command. The Navy was pleased that it retained
the integrity of its own air force, but was wary of this
newly formed Air Force. After its near brush with
extinction, the Marine Corps now solidified into law, but
mistrusted both the Army and Air Force, and kept a distant
trust with its Navy brethren. Each of the Services now began
to view itself as a self contained fighting force. This
inter-Service rivalry over airpower was to be the foundation
upon which the services would build for future joint
ARMY/AIR FORCE DOCTRINES
Because of its experiences in WW II, principally in
Allied operations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe,
the Army Air Corps insisted that air warfare had become a
distinct and potentially decisive type of combat. The Air
Force view was that strategic bombardment became the
foundation for this belief and justified the creation of an
independent Air Force in 1947. In addition, tactical air
force commanders insisted that they, too, needed autonomy for
their part of the air war, i.e. a distinct separation from
ground commanders. Publication of FM 100-20, "The Command
and Employment of Air Power" in July 1943 provided the
foundation for today's Air Force doctrine, AFM 1-1, "Basic
Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force.
FM 100-20 first claimed that land and airpower are
coequal and interdependent forces; neither is an auxiliary to
the other. Command of the air forces rested with an air
commander who would only take orders from a theater
commander, not a land component commander. Additionally, FM
100-20 spelled out the kind of air warfare American Air Force
officers favored: strategic bombardment; air superiority
operations, to destroy any enemy offensive air threat; air
interdiction operations, to destroy the enemy's units and
supply before they reached the battlefield; and close air
support (CAS), air strikes against the enemy ground forces on
the close battlefield. The CAS mission, unlike all the other
air warfare missions, required detailed planning,
coordination, and control with ground troops to avoid
fratricide, reduce air losses to enemy ground fire, and
ensure that air attacks hit intended targets.
The missions of strategic bombardment, air superiority,
and air interdiction all required very little coordination
with the ground commanders. Hence, the air commander could
conduct his own air war unimpeded by the ground commander's
demands. The Army tried desperately to regain control over
tactical aviation, but lost the battle with passage of the
1947 National Security Act. To summarize, the Army did not
expect integrated CAS, nor did the Air Force intend to
deliver it, except under carefully prescribed conditions.
These conditions included a clearly marked target and readily
identified friendly troops, positive observed direction from
Air Force ground or air controllers, near absolute safety
from friendly artillery fire, and employment only against
targets that could not be attacked with heavy artillery.
Concerned over the loss of tactical aviation, the Army
provided doctrinal refinements in FM 31-35, "Air-Ground
Operations (1946)." This manual would be the foundation the
Army and Air Force would build upon to standardize future
air-ground operations. The theater air commander retained
absolute authority over all tactical air forces, answerable
only to the theater commander. A tactical air command or air
force would be assigned to support each army group or army.
The tactical air force commander would determine air mission
priorities, but would cooperate with his ground force
counterpart, the army commander. These two commanders would
establish a Joint operations Center (JOC), collocated with
the Army headquarters, to coordinate air-ground operations.
Three things to note: Air Force and Army ground commanders
have coequal status, CAS missions require both air and ground
approval before they were flown, and the actual conduct of
operations remain firmly in the hands of air officers(5:349).
The JOC was both an Army air-ground operations section
and an instrument of command for the tactical Air Force. The
purpose of the JOC was to serve as an air request network for
the Army and then to task the Air Force CAS missions to
support ground operations. The JOC processed Tactical Air
Requests (TAR) and directed tactical air missions through two
Air Force agencies, the Combat Operations Section (COS) and
Tactical Air Control Center (TACC). Ground commanders were
responsible for initiating air requests through the chain of
command to the senior ground force headquarters. The senior
Army officer of the Air-Ground Operation Section (AGOS), in
the JOC, would decide from among the air requests submitted,
which mission had the highest priority from the Army
commander's perspective. The ground forces were required to
provide the communications equipment to support this request
Once priorities were set, the AGOS would submit the air
request to the COS, the Air Force's counterpart to the Army's
AGOS inside the JOC. Within the COS, the senior air officer
would decide which mission would be flown, guided by the
priorities established by his air force commander. Those
missions would then be passed to the TACC, the Air Force
command and control agency, who would pass the mission
requirements down to the squadrons.
The control of air attacks remained the responsibility
of Air Force personnel. The two different types of close
control agencies were the ground Forward Air Controller (FAC)
of the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), and an Airborne
Tactical Air Coordinator (TAC) flying in a light observation
aircraft or a tactical fighter. Doctrinally, the lowest
echelon where the TACP could be found was at the Army
division level. The TACP consisted of one aviator (the FAC)
and a small crew of enlisted communicators. Although the
Army chose the TACP as their desired means of controlling air
strikes, the Air Force preferred the Airborne TAC during the
Even after eight major joint tactical air exercises
conducted between 1947 and 1950, the JOC system proved to be
just too cumbersome and unresponsive. The Air Force and Army
created a JOC for all the exercises, but the performance was
disheartening for the Army. There were several reasons why
this system failed during the exercises. Neither Service
could properly man or equip it. The TACPs demonstrated
little skill or interest in their mission. Communications
capability between the Air Force and the Army was poor.
Thus, in the Army's eyes this air request and air control
system had major defects and many senior Army officers were
resigned to the fact that they would see little or no CAS on
Because of the poor performance of the JOC system, the
attitude of the "bombline" formed prior to the outbreak of
the Korean War. This bombline was an imaginary line on the
battlefield where, inside the line, Army artillery would
destroy targets. Outside the line, the Air Force would be
responsible for the destruction of enemy targets. Very
little coordination was required. The Air Force was quite
content with this bombline approach.
NAVY/MARINE CORPS DOCTRINE
Navy and Marine Corps doctrine of airpower as published
in PHIB 12/NAVMC 4159 "Amphibious Operations: Air Operations
(1948)," viewed tactical air warfare in much the same way as
the Air Force. Like the Air Force, the critical aviation
mission was air superiority in order to protect the naval
fleet and the amphibious landing force. The basic
differences was over priority of air interdiction and CAS.
Air interdiction was the priority for the Air Force. For the
Navy/Marine Corps team, no priority could be seen. CAS,
which requires more coordination and control was just as
important to the Marine ground troops as air interdiction.
Largely due to their experience in amphibious operations
against Japan, Navy/Marine Aviators viewed CAS with greater
enthusiasm than did their Air Force counterparts.(5:352)
The Navy/Marine Corps system for air requests and air
strikes stressed rapid response and decentralized management
of CAS sorties.(5:370) By centralizing air requests at
battalion level TACPs, Marine Aviators and ground officers
created a system that would ensure CAS strikes would arrive
within minutes. The TACP consisted of two Marine Aviators
and eight enlisted communicators, who maintained a
communications net that reached directly to the Tactical Air
Command Center (TACC). The assumption by intermediate
headquarters was that the air-ground liaison at the battalion
level had already determined that air was a better source of
supporting fire than artillery or naval gunfire. Upon
receiving the CAS request, the TACC would review its
available aircraft and competing air missions, but assumed
the request had to be filled as quickly as possible. Like
the Air Force/Army system, the Marine Corps had two strike
controlling agencies, the ground FAC and the airborne TAC.
The opinion of the Marine Corps was that the ground FAC
provided better service for the ground commander's needs for
CAS than could the airborne TAC.
Navy/Marine Corps aviation doctrine viewed the tactical
war much the same as did the Air Force: only centralized
command and decentralized control under air officers ensured
that aviation units performed the full range of tactical
missions with maximum effectiveness. The degree of influence
the ground commanders had in achieving air support for ground
operations is the significant difference. Ground commanders
did not have the authority to allocate more air support
sorties for the ground force's use. Such authority rests
with the amphibious task force commander or senior aviation
commander, for amphibious operations.
COMPARISONS OF THE TWO DOCTRINES
A summarized comparison of the two systems, Army/Air
Force vs Navy/Marine Corps, and Service views, is in order
before we proceed. First, both systems stressed that
centralized command by an air commander was critical to
ensure unity of effort. Second, both viewed air superiority
as the number one priority mission. Third, Navy/Marine Corps
emphasized CAS while the Air Force prefers air interdiction
over CAS. Fourth, communication capability between the
Navy/Marine Corps air and ground units was good, but poor
between the Air Force/Army units. Fifth, Marine TACPs (2
FAC) were pushed down to the battalion level, where as the
Air Force supplied a TACP (1 FAC) only as low as the
divisional level. Sixth, Marine TACP's air request from the
battalion level went directly to the TACC who assumed the
request should be filled as quickly as possible. The Air
Force TACP's were only allowed to request air strikes "under
special circumstances, ...... in the absence of Army
communication." The Army ground commanders were responsible
for submitting the air requests, which had to go through
several layers of Army headquarters, before entering the
AGOS, inside the JOC. Once the request entered the AGOS, the
Army would either veto or pass the request over to the Air
Force. The COS, which is the Air Force's counterpart, also
inside the JOC, would then have final authority as to whether
the request would be filled. Last, both possessed two strike
control agencies. The Air Force preferred the airborne TAC,
however, the Marine Corps' preference was the ground FAC.
On the eve of the Korean War, the Navy and Marine Corps'
perspective of war was on the tactical and operational level.
The Air Force viewed war on the operational and strategic
level and had concluded that the Army should be able to deal
with any enemy on his tactical front with his organic
weapons. Meanwhile, the Army was rapidly realizing it had
lost its bid for control of any air on the battlefield.
The Korean War stands today as the point were the TACAIR
doctrines for the U.S. Military Services collided on the
battlefield. The Services found themselves not only fighting
the North Korean and Communist Chinese war machines, but also
each other in attempts to apply their own doctrines and
beliefs for the proper employment of TACAIR.
While the world focus, in particular the U. S., was on
the Soviet threat and another possible war in Europe, the
North Korean invasion on 25 June, 1950 came as a complete
surprise. At the onset of the war, unprepared South Korean
(ROK) and United Nation Forces (UNF) found themselves reeling
in retreat. The successful counter-attack by friendly forces
(ROK and UNF), nearly achieved the re-unification of the
Korean peninsula and the demise of the North Korean Peoples
Army (NKPA). Communist China's entry into the war in
December 1950, forced friendly forces into retreat once
again. This new Communist offensive finally stalled near the
38th parallel and the remaining three years of the war turned
into a stagnated defensive war of attrition.
Early in the war friendly air forces were composed of
the following: U.S. Fifth Air Force, comprised of a mixture
of heavy bombers, fighter-bombers, and fighter aircraft; the
Navy's Seventh Fleet Task Force 77, with five large carriers
(each with 4-5 squadrons); the Marine Corps 1st Marine Air
Wing, three squadrons which flew from escort carriers or land
bases; and non-American aircraft (which comprised only 5% of
the overall sorties flown).
In all phases of the war, TACAIR played a significant
role. The U.S. Far East Air Forces established early air
superiority over the Korean peninsula. This in turn lent
freedom of action for friendly ground forces and freedom of
friendly air forces to concentrate on destroying enemy ground
units. The North Korean Army's mechanized and motorized
rifle divisions made excel lent targets for air attacks,
especially when they were on the move. The logistical trail
of convoys carrying supplies to keep the NKPA combat capable,
were themselves lucrative targets. By the end of 1950, the
Air Force had flown over 41,500 air interdiction and CAS
sorties. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft added an additional
13,000 sorties to the TACAIR effort.
GEN George E. Stratemeyer, commanding officer of Far
East Air Forces, was deeply concerned over the organizational
problems that could limit the air war. He desired unity of
effort for friendly air forces vice each of the three
services conducting their own independent air campaigns. In
GEN Stratemeyer's opinion, the Korean air war needed a
centralized theater air commander to command and coordinate
the entire air war effort, much like what was established
during the North African Campaign in 1943.
The Navy wholly opposed this centralized theater air
commander concept. Both the Navy and Marine Corps preferred
to establish Areas of Responsibilities (AOR) for their
exclusive use to support the air war. Visions of Naval Air
flying in support of the Air Force was repugnant to senior
Naval officers. Fear of losing control of its aircraft could
put the fleet at risk of a potential submarine threat. In
addition, concern of this centralized air commander would
reduce the Navy's ability to respond to other crises spots in
the Pacific region, namely Formosa.
The Marine Corps also opposed GEN Stratemeyer's idea;
however, as long as Marine Air could support Marines on the
ground, the Marine Corps could live with this centralized air
commander. By the end of 1950, the centralized air commander
concept would become a "bitter pill" to swallow as Marine
ground commanders watched as their primary supporting arm,
Marine Air, was taken from their chain of command.
A number of events accelerated GEN Stratemeyer's efforts
to integrate tactical air operations. With hurried orders
from Far East Command Headquarters, the aircraft carrier
VALLEY FORGE launched air strikes on targets near Pyongyang,
North Korea. Learning of the carrier air strikes, GEN
Stratemeyer had to cancel his own air strikes on those same
targets. That same day, 4 July 1950, GEN MacArthur, American
Theater and United Nations Commander, requested the Joint
Chiefs of Staff to send a Marine brigade with an attached air
group for an amphibious landing. The request was approved
the next day. GEN Stratemeyer predicted that aerial
confusion would soon reign in the air over the Korean
peninsula. On 8 July, GEN MacArthur was persuaded to
designate GEN Stratemeyer as theater air commander; however,
only MacArthur would define the missions for the Navy's
GEN Stratemeyer was given operational control over all
land based aircraft, including land based Marine Air, and
further "coordination control" of carrier aviation in the war
zone. The term "coordination control" was vague and
controversial throughout the war. In simple terms, it meant
GEN Stratemeyer could only veto proposed carrier strikes, if
he knew about them. Navy carrier fleets normally maintained
radio silence as standard operating procedures.
Communication and encryption procedures between the Navy and
Air Force were incompatible, which all meant that Stratemeyer
would learn of carrier strikes only if the Navy chose to
inform him. Ultimately, the Navy grudgingly agreed to
dedicate eighty sorties a day for the theater air commander's
tasking. Joint operations between the Navy and Air Force
remained tenuous throughout the war.
The Army, outgunned and outmanned by the North Korean
Forces, needed all the supporting arms it could muster. The
Army/Air Force doctrinal JOC system was plagued with
communication problems and shortages in personnel from both
sides of the system. During the initial stages of the war,
with friendly ground units in retreat, the Fifth Air Force
was instrumental in stalling the North Korean offensive
around the Pusan area. The tactical situation was so chaotic
that the air request system on the Army side was falling.
Fifth Air Force created an ad hoc request system that did not
depend on Army personnel in order to be effective. This
system helped save the Eighth Army from defeat.
Additional TACPs were sent to the Army in order to
increase their ability to control air strikes. The TACPs
were eager to control, but continually received hostile fire
from the communist forces. After two TACPs were killed and
nearly all of the others had their communication equipment
destroyed, TACPs were ordered no further forward than
infantry regimental headquarters. This ultimately resulted
in the TACP or FAC serving merely as an air liaison officer
because he was now too far to the rear to effectively control
Because of the problems experienced by the TACPs, the
Air Force depended on the airborne TAC to control air strike
missions. During the war, the Air Force concentration was
on making the airborne TAC more effective, which it did.
From the Air Force's viewpoint, this airborne TAC strike
controller required less coordination with the ground
commander than did the TACP method of control. This lack of
coordination with the ground commanders, was the reason the
Army preferred the TACP method of control. Because the TACP
was operating from the same level as the ground units, the
Army felt that this method better served his needs.
MARINES ENTER THE WAR
By the time the Provisional Marine Brigade moved into
the Pusan perimeter defense in August 1950, the Army/Air
Force air-ground system had become overwhelmed with
communication problems and, therefore, the JOC only exercised
nominal control over Marine Air. The Air Force had accepted
the argument that Marine Air should support Marines on the
ground, at least for the time being.
The Marine Brigade was composed of the following: the
ground element; a regimental combat team of three infantry
battalions, and the Brigade Air Group; composed of three
Marine squadrons of F-4U Corsairs, to support the ground
element. This Air Group's average Marine pilot had over 1000
hours of flight time, was a WW II combat veteran, and had
extensive close air support training. More importantly,
combination of the ground FAC, who was assigned to each
battalion, and a responsive air request system proved to be
the backbone of success for the Marine air-ground team.
Since WW II, Marines had come to expect air support to
respond quickly to the ground commander's needs. Weapons
delivery by Marine air was as close as a half mile from
Responsiveness of strike air was critical for the ground
commander. The difference of fifteen minutes could mean
victory or defeat of the immediate close ground battle.
Before Stratemeyer took control of Marine Air, the average
response time for Navy/Marine Air was five to ten minutes
from request to bomb release. For a comparison, the Air
Force's average time ranged from one to two hours.(5:381)
This kind of air support (Marine's) came as a revelation to
Army officers, who watched the Marine Brigade operate during
the defense of Pusan.
There were several reasons to why the differences in
response times. First, Marines employed air alert aircraft,
flying close to the battlefield. The Air Force viewed this
method as an uneconomic use of air assets. At times these
aircraft would orbit for as long as four hours awaiting a CAS
mission. Second, Air Force aircraft had to fly from Japanese
air bases, while the majority of Navy/Marine Corps aircraft
flew from carriers just off the coast of Korea. Therefore,
transit time for the Air Force was much longer. Third, the
Marine Corps air request system was much simpler, requiring
less layers of command to go through. Last, the Navy/Marine
Corps, with better communication equipment and compatibility,
did not experience the magnitude of communication problems
that plagued the JOC system early in the war.
Once friendly forces had blunted the North Korean
offensive at Pusan, "Gen Douglas MacArthur dreamed of a
dramatic blow that would crush the NKPA."(5:485) This blow
would be the now famous amphibious assault at Inchon on
"...South Korea's western coast that would disrupt the NKPA
supply system and demoralize the Communist invaders." (5:485)
As an independent task force, X Corps, commanded by GEN
Almond, would become the main assault force spearheaded by
the 1st Marine Division, under GEN Oliver P. Smith.
An Amphibious Area of Responsibility (AOR) was
designated around the Inchon Area, precisely the way Navy/
Marine doctrine expected. As long as X Corps remained an
independent task force, the Air Force JOC system allowed the
Navy and Marine Corps team to implement its form of TACAIR
control system inside this AOR. This was precisely the style
of operations the Navy/Marine Corps were accustomed to and
many Army officers became converts to this doctrinal way of
supplying air support to the ground commander.
Although the JOC system was improving, Gen Almond of the
X Corps wanted no part of it. He wanted to continue to use
the Marine Corps air support system. In order to fill a
deficiency in his combat capabilities, GEN Almond requested
that Fifth Air Force supply him with thirty-six TACPs, which
would allow one per battalion like his attached 1st Marine
Division had. GEN Stratemeyer allowed the Marine system to
support the X Corps; however, his TACPs were undermanned and
under-equipped, he pleaded "TACP poverty" and refused to
provide any additional TACPs.
Concerning the TACP issue, the Air Force was looking
from a much larger perspective, namely a potential war with
Russia in Europe. Senior Air Force officers knew they could
not supply the Army those numbers of TACPS that a European
war would require. In the Air Force's eyes, if they were to
give into this request a precedence would be set for them to
supply more TACPs than was possible.(5:388) Besides, the Air
Force favored controlling the air strikes from the airborne
TAC rather than by the TACP (ground FAC). Conversely, the
ground commander favored the TACP and this same disagreement
still exists today.
The TACPs became one of the reasons for disgruntlement
between Air Force and Army officers. Because the Marine
Corps' air support system had surpassed the JOC system in
every way, Army officers began to make comparisons. One such
comparison was with, the 1st Marine Division who deployed
twenty TACPs, meaning each infantry battalion had one party.
In contrast, 7th Army Infantry Division of the X Corps had
nine TACPs, supplied from both the Fifth Air Force and 1st
Early in the Korean War, many critics in the U.S.
Congress charged that the Air Force was not supplying
adequate air support for the Army. To counter these
criticisms, the Air Force conducted a study, with Army
support, to determine if FM 31-35, "Army/Air Force Air-Ground
Doctrine" was sound. Early in December 1950, the study group
concluded that neither the Army or Air Force had supplied the
trained staffs, control agencies, and communications
equipment to make the doctrine work. The solutions were
simple: provide better trained and fully manned staffs,
allow for the proper control agencies to function, and
acquire compatible and improved communications equipment.
Assuming these solutions were taken to heart by Army and Air
Force leaders, the FM 31-35 JOC system was determined to be
When the study group compared the JOC system with the
Marine Corps system, the investigators favored the JOC
system. They determined that air alert aircraft (a USN/USMC
common practice) were uneconomical. Ground commanders had no
need to "control" air strikes nor did they have a need to set
a quota for CAS sorties. Additionally, the Air Force could
not envision being able to supply the same number of TACPs
that served in Marine divisions to an Army large enough to
fight a war with the Russia in Europe.
In late November of 1950, while the study group was
still in the midst of their work, China entered the war.
Once again, friendly forces were forced to retreat from the
Chinese Army. Supported by the JOC system the Fifth Air
Force did its best to cover the Eighth Army's hasty retreat.
Without a solid ground control system, the ".. .2d and 25th
U.S. Divisions could not coordinate their retrograde with air
strikes. The 2d Division particularly suffered..." (5:372)
in its retreat below the 38th parallel. On the other hand,
the 1st Marine Division broke out intact from the Chosin
Reservoir and destroyed seven Chinese divisions in the
process. Even given the events of the December retreat, the
Air Force still stood by the study group's findings.
Once the friendly forces consolidated along a defensive
line, X Corps' role as an independent task force ended. The
Air Force was determined to make the JOC system work. "On
December 11, 1950, Stratemeyer, citing the July 8 agreement
on operational control, announced that 1st MAW would
henceforth support the entire United Nations Army." (5:373)
This marked the end of a Marine Air Wing dedicated to support
its Marine ground components during the remainder of the
Marine ground commanders, as well as the Army GEN
Almond, complained bitterly that fewer and less timely air
support missions were observed flying in support of the
ground troops. The Air Force worked hard trying to make the
JOC system produce satisfactory results. However, with the
enormous successes of the Marine Corps' system still fresh in
the soldiers' and Marines' minds, the JOC system just could
not compete. As Marine complaints began to grow louder, the
Fifth Air Force commander ".. .insisted that the 1st Marine
Division receive no special treatment." (5:379)
Both, the Navy and Marine Corps bitterly opposed this
JOC, centralized air commander. This centralized air
commander issue sparked many inter-Service and parochial
debates over TACAIR for the next forty years.
The Army began to acquire more artillery to augment its
corps in order to increase their supporting arms fire. This
increase was partly due to the changing nature of a once
fluid war to a stagnate defensive war; also in part, to
compensate for the lack of close air support. The "bombline"
attitude, discussed earlier, became common thinking by both
the Army and Air Force, during the remainder of the war. The
Air Force did not plan on attacking enemy targets that could
be targeted by Army artillery, nor did the Army expect to see
much of CAS from the Air Force.
Was the JOC system a failure? Certainly not! GEN
Stratemeyer's concern that the Korean peninsula would reign
with aerial confusion unless a centralized air commander was
designated, was well founded. The Navy and Marine Corps'
desire to geographically divide up Korea's air space, the
practice in the Pacific during WW II, just simply would not
work. The air space was just too small. The friendly ground
fighting forces were outclassed by on the ground and airpower
would prove to tip the balance in their favor. In my
opinion, GEN Stratemeyer and Air Force doctrine was
absolutely correct, a single air commander was required to
coordinate the air efforts against a common enemy.
The primary issue was over CAS. If aircraft did not fly
CAS missions then there was little coordination required
between the air and ground forces. The "... Air Force could
not afford the wealth of sorties that characterized the
Navy-Marine Corps system, which might be necessary for
amphibious warfare, but had little value in an extended land
campaign." (5:395) The Air Force viewed CAS as unnecessary
unless the target was out of range of Army artillery. Even
today, the Air Force remains committed that air interdiction
is the principle instrument of air war upon enemy forces.
Navy and Marine Corps opinion is quite the opposite. In
1952, Admiral Clark, Commander Seventh Fleet, best summed up
both the Services' positions by stating, "...at the front,
every bullet, every round of artillery, every pound of
supplies was twice as expensive to the Reds as it was
crossing the Yalu." (5:388)
Following the Korean War, in August 1953, an air-ground
conference was held by all the Services. The intent was to
glean lessons learned and to strike agreements between the
services for a unified course of action concerning command
and control of TACAIR.
All four Services agreed upon several issues. First,
the JOC system had become a joint activity, at least better
than it was in 1951. Second, flak suppression artillery was
essential to aircraft survivability, later to be called
suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD). Third, electronic
guidance weapons provide a great potential for all-weather
operations, today referred to as" smart weapons." Fourth,
aviation/ground personnel needed far greater training in
air-ground operations. Fifth, improvements in all types of
communications equipment would pay additional dividends.
Last, all participants needed to pay more attention to post
strike damage assessment, today's bomb damage assessment
(BDA).(5:394) Today, these same lessons are being re-learned
during joint exercises and actual combat operations such as
The other Services did not challenge the Air Force's
doctrinal foundation for air operations, which is to gain air
superiority first. Nor did anyone challenge the assumption
that air interdiction paid greater dividends than CAS. After
three years of war, all the Services agreed with the Air
Force that the Korean Theater air operations required a
single air commander/manager. However, the conference did
produce several issues that are still with us today. The
heart of these issues is timely and reliable CAS.
ARMY/AIR FORCE ISSUES
The Army attacked the Air Force's doctrine, seeking
changes in the air request and air control system. First,
the JOC should become truly joint and not controlled by the
Air Force with just liaison officers supplied by the Army.
Second, set numbers of sorties should be allocated for the
ground commander's use. Third, Army corps commanders need a
predictable time-table of scheduled sorties otherwise, it is
impossible to integrate airpower into his scheme of maneuver.
Fourth, certain TACAIR wings should be placed under the
control of Army division commanders. Fifth, a slower
aircraft specifically designed for the CAS mission be
developed. Sixth, the air request system had to be
decentralized, especially for emergency CAS missions. Last,
the number of TACPs should be increased to four per regiment
vice the then-current four per division.
The Air Force was pleased that its basic doctrine of a
centralized theater commander was no longer being challenged
as it had been during the Korean campaign. However, these
issues raised by the Army were the same ones that had
persisted throughout the war. We will take each of the seven
Army/Air Force issues and review the Air Force's response.
First, the joint/liaison officer issue of the JOC. During
President Eisenhower's `New Look' at the military, the Air
Force published "Air Force Manual 1-2". This manual
supported the JOC in becoming an all Air Force Agency, with
the other services providing liaison officers. Today, change
JOC to read JFACC and we still have the same issue.
The second and third issues over allocation of a set
number of sorties on a predictable time table were eventually
won by the Army. During the Vietnam Conflict the
apportionment and allocation of CAS sorties (similar to the
Marine Corps system) was adopted by the Air Force. Today,
this same system is in operation, although the Army complains
that the Air Force still has too much authority in deciding
the percentage of sorties allocated to the Army.
The issue that draws the most emotion from Air Force
officers is whether or not a TACAIR Wing should be in direct
support of an Army unit. This issue diametrically opposes
basic Air Force doctrine. Prior to the centralization of the
air commander in the North African Campaign, the AAC was
piece-mealed in direct support to Army corps commanders.
Naturally, the Air Force's position is to never allow this to
happen again. To compensate, however, the Army has acquired a
sizable attack helicopter force. The Army found in Vietnam
that these helicopters provided the type of direct air
support it had desired since the Army lost its Air Corps
during the North African Campaign in 1943. The Air Force has
all but ignored the helicopter issue, but has maintained that
the Air Force will provide all TACAIR fixed wing support to
the Army. In addition, the Air Force has killed any Army
initiatives to acquire its own TACAIR (like the Navy/Marine
The issue to design and develop an aircraft specifically
for CAS missions is still opposed by senior Air Force
leaders. The Vietnam Conflict found the Air Force unprepared
for a conventional war because their efforts had been
dedicated in building an Air Force for all-out nuclear war.
Due to the nature of the Vietnam Conflict, a slower aircraft
with greater loiter time was required. Ultimately, during
the 1970's the A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft was designed and
built specifically for CAS. The Army won this issue;
however, no follow on replacement is planned for the
A-10,e.g. . .slow, specific CAS aircraft.
The sixth issue is decentralization for emergency CAS
missions. The real concern was the many different layers of
control air requests had to go through in order to acquire a
CAS sortie. Time was, and still is, the major factor.
During Vietnam, the Air Force's average response time for
emergency CAS missions were 15-20 minutes (average for Marine
Corps was 5-10 minutes).
The Army/Air Force took the JOC system as the
foundation, developing and refining it to the current
air-ground system in use today. I will dispense wIth
explaining the system because ultimately it looks nearly
identical to the old JOC system. This current system, when
compared to the Marine Corps system, is still plagued with
many different command levels an air request must traverse
through. However, the system has gotten much faster at
processing the request than it had been during the Korean
The last issue is the number of TACPs assigned to Army
units. The Army's persistence that the TACP provided better
aIr strike control for the ground commander than the airborne
TAC, finally paid off, with the Air Force reluctantly
agreeing to increase the numbers of TACPs. Ultimately, TACPs
(1FAC) would be supplied down to the battalion level. As a
comparison, today the Marine Corps maintains one Air Liaison
Officer and two TACPs (2FAC's) per battalion.
MARINE CORPS/AIR FORCE ISSUES
The Marine Corps fully supports the Army's proposed
changes. For the Marine Corps, command of Marine Air
was the heart of the issue that surfaced during the Korean
War, the Vietnam Conflict, and also during Desert Storm. The
Marine Corps felt that its own command and control system was
much more effective in meeting the ground commanders needs
than the JOC system; however, "work-arounds" could be
generated to compensate for delays in the JOC system.
For the Marine Corps, Vietnam was just a repeat of the
Korean War when TACAIR was centralized in 1968. Once again
they lost control of their TACAIR. Unlike the Army, the
Marine Corps could not afford to offset its loss of air
support by increasing the number of artillery pieces. The
amphibious mission and expeditionary nature of the Marine
Corps requires that the ground force be lightly armed (in
comparison to the Army). To offset this deficiency, the
Marine Corps has refined its combined arms concept in the
Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) of today. The MAGTF
relies on its TACAIR to tip the balance on the battlefield.
When GEN Westmoreland, the Theater Commander for South
Vietnam in 1968, chose to shift from geographical control of
air to a single air manager (like Korea), Marines were
worried and upset over his decision. This single air manager
meant, from a Marine commander's point of view, "...replacing
my aviation commander and control over his assets with one
who is not directly under my command; yet may overall
operational responsibilities...remain the same." (5:460)
Today, this is still a typical Marine reaction when
discussing JFACC issues.
To summarize the concern Marines have over the loss of
organic TACAIR, GEN M.P. Sullivan, USMC, while serving as
Director of the MAGTF Warfighting Center, prepared a white
letter in which he so eloquently articulated as follows:
The Marine Corps considers organic MAGTF aviation
as a supporting ARM in operations where the ground
battle is paramount. Marine Aviation is organized,
trained, and equipped to be the Aviation Combat
Element (ACE) of a MAGTF that is immediately
responsive to the needs of the Marine Ground Combat
Element (GCE) commander. The integrated
employment of MAGTF aviation is designed to offset
and augment the Marine GCE commander's relatively
light organic fire support. The directly available,
short response time criteria for aviation
employment makes it an acceptable alternative to
artillery or Naval gunfire. (19:55)
ISSUES OF TODAY
During this century, nearly every war or conflict this
country has been involved, has required the military services
to work together in the joint environment. Each time
hostilities ceased, the Services would all revert back and
convince themselves that the last conflict was an anomaly and
the next time, each individual Services would fight it alone.
This joint environment issue, as well as several of the same
issues over TACAIR during the Korean War, are still in debate
During the first three quarters of this century,
coordination between the Services was quite minimal. In the
past fifteen years the Services have been making great
strides forward in this joint environment. Even though the
Services were showing signs of improvement, Congress has
grown weary of the inter-Service rivalries, parochialisms,
each Service `can do it alone' attitude, and all the Services
wanting a `piece of the action', vice sending in the best
trained and equipped force for that specific mission.
Congress has become impatient and dissatisfied with the
Services' track record in working together in the joint
environment. Therefore, Congress was motivated to enact the
Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986. The
overall intent of this Act was to enhance the effectiveness
of military operations by promoting and stimulating the
Services to work closer together in the joint environment.
(21:2) Today, a positive `jointness' attitude is beginning
to blossom amongst all the Services, one I will discuss is
the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC).
During deliberations in 1986 to approve JCS Pub 26 (now
joint Pub 3-01.2) "Joint Doctrine for Theater Counter-Air
Operations" the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) developed the
concept of the JFACC. The JCS's concerns were that the Joint
Force Commander (JFC) needed a command and control system to
ensure unity of effort for employing air forces. While at
the same time, allowing the various components to use the
remaining air relatively unrestrictive to support their own
needs. Although the decision rests with the JFC whether a
JFACC will be designated, the common assumption in times of
conflict one will be designated.
A whole myriad of issues between the Services have been
generated since the inception of the JFACC. It is not my
intent to dissect each of these issues, rather, to highlight
the similarities to those created by the AIr Force's JOC
system during the Korean War. Like in Korea, the Air Force's
interpretation of the JFACC, Is `Operational Control' of all
theater TACAIR assets, which poses the same dilemma wrestled
before by the Navy and Marine Corps. While the JCS were in
deliberation over JCS Pub 26, the JCS also approved a new
polIcy for "...command and control of USMC TACAIR in
sustained operations ashore...", better known as the `Omnibus
Agreement'. (19:50) Besides specifying how Marine TACAIR is
to be utilized in sustained operations ashore by the JFACC,
more importantly to Marines it also specified that the
"...MAGTF commander will retain operational control of his
organic air assets."(19:50)
During Desert Storm, for the first time this JFACC
concept was to be combat tested. After the conclusion of the
war, the JFACC (centralized theater air commander) raised
similar issues as did the air-ground conference in 1953.
First, command of Marine Air troubled Marines again.
The MAGTF commander managed to retained command over his ACE,
however, throughout Desert Shield/Storm Marines were watchful
not to lose control of its TACAIR. Through the air tasking
order (ATO) process, the JFACC was able to task all theater
air assets, including Marine Air. When the ground war
commenced, Marines raised the question as to why Marine
aircraft were still flying strategic missions into Iraq when
its ground forces were engaged with the enemy.
Secondly, the communication compatibility of the
Services posed as an obstacle once again. Basic
communication was not a real problem; however, for the Air
Force and Navy/Marine Corps aircraft to communicate in a
`anti-jam' mode of operation became virtually impossible.
The Air Force's `Have-Quick' anti-jam system, which is its
normal operating procedures, was incompatible to the
Navy/MarIne Corps' normal operating procedures during the war
(Navy/Marine Corps does not own the `Have-Quick' system).
Communication incompatibility not only fell into the voice
arena; it was also fell In the electronic data/signal arena.
The ability for the Data Link systems of the Air Force and
Marine Corps to link-up was good. Conversely, the ability of
the Air Force and Navy to link-up virtually did not exist.
Thirdly, issues over the importance of air interdiction
over CAS (or now the close in battle) were raised once again.
The Army voiced its displeasure in the lack of dedicated air
support missions flown in support of their scheme of
maneuver. The Army accused the Air Force of concentrating
too much on the strategic air campaign just prior to and
during the ground campaign. Conversely, the Marines were
pleased. However, unlike Korea, the Marine Corps retained
command of its ACE (who supplied more dedicated sorties than
the ground commander could actually use).
Still, today the Air Force concentration on the
strategic and operational level has not changed. Nor has the
Army and Marine Corps ground commander's view changed much
above the close battle, at the tactical level of war. Army
(attack helo's) and Marine Air main focus is still to support
the ground commander. Like the Air Force, their views have
not changed since the Korean War.
Fourthly, the Services again voiced their displeasure in
the Gulf over the lack of `jointness' inside the JFACC. Like
the JOC system, the other Services only were allowed to
provide liaison officers. Currently, there is a move to
"doctrinalize" the JFACC into a truly joint system, vice the
one service dominated system with liaison officers from the
remaining Services. USCINCLANT's JFACC concept of operations
is precisely that, a joint JFACC.(21:16) USCINCPAC is also
interested and all indications are they will incorporate this
kind of JFACC in future contingency planning. The Air Force
senior leaders are reluctantly giving way to this joint JFACC
idea and I predict that it will become doctrine in the near
Lastly, bomb damage assessment (BDA) created problems
for intelligence and targeting efforts. Poor BDA resulted in
additional sorties attacking targets already destroyed. Even
following forty years of technological developments, the air
forces still had problems in producing timely BDA's. Again,
this issue was addressed after the Korean War.
Although the JFACC experienced problems between the
Services, the concept proved joint TACAIR could work.
The ATO system, not as responsive and flexible as the
Navy/Marine Corps would like, did manage to put all TACAIR on
the same `sheet of music.' The Navy found itself entering
the theater without any computer terminals to receive the ATO
and this caused the Navy many problems during the war.
Additionally, the Navy discovered its data link systems were
incompatible with Air Force air defense systems. Currently,
the Navy is rectifying these shortfalls.
The single largest concern Marines had was the
".. .belief that once Marine Air was under the control of the
JFACC, it would be used for nontraditional/non-Marine
task..." (6:34) After the initial strikes against strategic
targets in Iraq and northern Kuwait, the majority of Marine
Air sorties "...were flown almost exclusively in direct
support of I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF)." (6:34)
Like the Navy, the ATO system also caused some problems
for the Marines. Based on a 72 hour cycle, the ATO was just
too inflexible for the Navy/Marines, whose system is based on
a 24 hour cycle. `Work arounds' were created and the system
managed to serve all the Services' needs. Currently,
proposals are forward to make the ATO system more responsive
and compatible for all the Services.
The JFACC, like its JOC brother, experienced grievances
amongst the other Services. However, this time all the
Services are serious about rectifying discrepancies and
working closer together in the joint environment.
Electronic, communications, and computer equipment is being
procured in order to improve inter-Service capability.
Although parochialism still exist, the mood now is one of
`jointness'. Especially in light of the defense cutbacks
ahead, no one Service believes he can `do it alone' in the
future. After forty years, jointness in TACAIR finally seems
to be making positive progress. The key for further progress
in joint TACAIR, is for each Service to learn and understand
each other's doctrine.
Learning the historical development of each of the
Services TACAIR doctrine's, assists one to better understand
how and why each Service views the battlefield. Making
comparisons of the two systems, Army/Air Force and
Navy/Marine Corps, helps to understand the issues from a
broader perspective. The Korean War magnified the issues
over TACAIR, many of which still plague the Services today.
Although the growing evolution in the joint TACAIR
environment has been painfully slow, Congress helped
stimulate its growth with the passage of the Goldwater-
Nichols Act of 1986. The JFACC, a derivative of this Act,
has been instrumental in bringing the Services to a closer
joint working relationship. Certainly, the key for success
is for all the Services to set parochialism aside, learn and
understand each other's needs, and to make a cooperative
effort to settle the remaining issues over TACAIR.
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