JFACC: A Reattack: The Joint Force Air Component Commander And Joint

JFACC: A Reattack: The Joint Force Air Component Commander And Joint

Air Operations


CSC 1995








Title: JFACC: A Reattack, The Joint Force Air Component Commander and Joint Air



Author: Major James J. Drew, USAF


Thesis: Centralized control of joint air by a single air commander, the JFACC, is

essential to ensure unity of the joint air effort and realize the full impact of theater air



Background: The idea of a single air commander is not new but dates back to World

War II. The recent idea of a joint force air component commander (JFACC) in charge

of joint air operations got its first real test in Operation Desert Storm-and it worked.

The centralized control of joint air under a single air boss using a coordinated air

tasking order (ATO) was a major factor behind the dramatic success of the air

campaign. Although there is a general consensus on the need for a JFACC, service

views, reinforced by dissimilar service doctrine, differ considerably on how centralized

control of joint air is best achieved. Specifically, there is still considerable debate over

a number of issues which include: the JFACC as a commander and the apportionment

of joint air assets, the JFACC's role in the targeting process, his relationship with the

Joint Targeting Coordination Board (JTCB), JFACC control of deep attack assets, and

composition of the JFACC's staff. This paper examines each of these areas in light of

our recent experience in Desert Storm and proposes solutions to some past problems

which can alleviate similar difficulties in the future. It also examines the distinct

perspectives of the soldier and the airman, as well as different (and sometimes

conflicting) service doctrinal views, which contribute to the lingering controversies over

the concept of a JFACC.


Recommendation: Joint doctrine on the role and authority of the JFACC must be more

explicit. Service doctrines need to evolve to fully integrate the new paradigm of the

JFACC who can best employ joint air power to achieve unity of effort and maximum

effect. The air targeting and ATO processes must be streamlined to improve their

effectiveness, and the JTCB must assume a more conspicuous role in integrating the

targeting recommendations of ground commanders with those of the JFACC. The

JFACC's staff should be composed of a more equitable representation of each service

component Finally, the control of deep attack assets must be reexamined with the

JFACC's need to synchronize the theater deep attack effort in mind.







Executive Summary ii


Contents iii


List of Figures iv


Introduction 1


Historical Perspective 2


The JFACC Role: Command, Control, or Coordinate? 3


The JFACC and Apportionment 5


The JFACC and Targeting 7


The JFACC and the ATO 16


The JFACC and the JTCB 20


The JFACC and His Staff 24


The JFACC and Doctrinal Difficulties 26


The JFACC and Deep Attack 32


Conclusion 34


End Notes 38


Bibliography 44







Figure 1: Strategic Attack and Battlefield Preparation Sorties 12


Figure 2: The ATO Cycle 17


Figure 3: JTCB Under DJFC 23


Figure 4: JTCB Under JFACC 23




The Joint Force Air Component Commander and Joint Air Operations




Joint force operations are here to stay, and in most multi-service operations,


there will probably be a Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) to ensure


unity of effort among service aviation components. Yet the centralized command and


control of joint air operations under a JFACC still remains a controversial issue among


services. Different views abound on the JFACC's role as a commander or coordinator


that are reinforced by dissimilar service doctrines and distinct warfighting philosophies.


In particular, the JFACC's role in the targeting process and establishing target priorities


continued to be an area of ongoing debate. Service doctrines clash on how centralized


control of theater air assets is best accomplished. This paper's central theme is that


centralized control of joint air by a single air commander, the JFACC, is essential to


ensure the unity of the joint air effort and realize the full impact of air power. To that


end, lingering controversies over the JFACC as a commander, apportionment of air, the


JFACC's role in the targeting process and with the Joint Targeting Coordination Board


(JTCB), control of deep attack assets, the JFACC's staff, and conflicting service


doctrines must be settled. The JFACC experience in Operation Desert Storm provides


a rich basis for examining each of these issues as they emerged then and as they


stand now. These remaining issues that continue to hinder unity of the air effort under


a JFACC in joint operations need to be resolved. In short, it is time to put the joint" into




Historical Perspective


The idea of a single air commander goes way back to World War II. Since then,


the U.S. military has experienced a history of fragmented air operations. The


Solomons Campaign was the first true joint air operation in U.S. history with a single


airman commanding all the land-based aircraft of Marines, Army Air Force, and Navy


components. During the course of the campaign, officers from the Marine Corps, Navy,


and Army Air Force each served as the air commander. Perhaps it was limited air


assets and a situation in which the certainty of winning was actually in question, but not


until the Gulf War has the same degree of unity of effort in the planning and execution


of joint air operations again been displayed. In Korea, coordination control was the


byword where service air components operated practically autonomously. The Navy


adamantly insisted on independent operations based on geographic deconfliction while


the Air Force attempted to gain operational control over naval air. In Vietnam, the


laissez-faire control of air power continued with essentially five separate air wars taking


place along with the division of airspace over North Vietnam between the Air Force and


Navy into a "route package' system which proved very inadequate.1 The Commander


in Chief of Pacific Command ran the air war over North Vietnam while the Commander,


U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (COMUSMACV) controlled the air war in


the South and Cambodia. A bitter feud between the Air Force and the Marines erupted


over control of Marine air. Targeting was micro-managed by Washington, and even the


Air Force would not place its Strategic Air Command B-52 bombers under the control of


its own 7th Air Force commander. All of this led to an unsuccessful attempt by


COMUSMACV to tighten control in 1968 under a single air manager for Vietnam.


In contrast with the fragmented approach to the air war in Vietnam, the


Commander in Chief, Central Command (ClNCCENTCOM), General H. Norman


Schwarzkopf, established centralized control of theater fixed-wing air operations under


a JFACC, Lieutenant General Charles A. Horner, from the very beginning.


Schwarzkopf was a firm believer in the JFACC concept and strongly supported the


notion that the JFACC was solely responsible for planning the air campaign. In


prosecuting the air campaign, Schwarzkopf gave Homer his full support saying,


"There's only going to be one guy in charge of the air: Horner... If you want to fight


your interservice battles, do it after the war."2 Operation Desert Storm was the first


practical test of the JFACC idea in a major military conflict. General Horner's challenge


involved orchestrating the air power capabilities of 14 separate national or service


component with those of 10 coalition forces.3 Although not without some growing


pains, the dramatic results of the air campaign demonstrated that the JFACC concept


works. Centralized control of air power contributed to the dramatic success of the 43


day air campaign. Operating under a single air boss and a single, coordinated air


tasking order (ATO) resulted in the efficient, coherent application of air power and


significantly lessened the possibility of fratricide among coalition aircraft.4




The JFACC Role: Command, Control, or Coordinate?


Despite disagreement over some specific issues, there is a general consensus


on the need for a JFACC in large joint air operations. Unity of effort, achieved through


centralized control of joint air assets through a JFACC, is the most decisive way to


employ theater air power. Centralized control allows the joint force commander (JFC)


to focus his air power on enemy targets that best support his theater strategy and use


air power's inherent flexibility and speed to effectively respond to changes in the


combat situation.5 It allows the JFC to employ air power at the time and place in which


it will have the greatest impact. How best to achieve this unity of effort and what


constitutes centralized control are key issues in the JFACC debate.


Does the JFACC command, control, or coordinate? The simple answer is yes.


According to Joint Pub 3-0, the JFACC derives his authority from the JFC who


establishes the JFACC's specific responsibilities and command authority. The JFACC's


four chief responsibilities are to plan, coordinate, allocate, and task in executing the air


portion of the JFC's campaign strategy. Typically, the JFACC exercises operational


control (OPCON) over assigned and attached forces as a functional component


commander and tactical control (TACON) over forces made available by other


components for tasking.6 Ultimately, the JFC defines the JFACC's command authority.


To effectively orchestrate the joint air operation, the JFACC must command his


assigned forces, control or task other air assets via TACON, and coordinate between


service components in setting targeting priorities and allocating actual sorties.


Coordinating authority defines a consultative relationship between commanders.


It usually applies more to planning activities and does not involve authority to task. A


coordinator can only ask. The JFACC does more. Since the JFACC is normally


designated a supported commander for the JFC's air effort, he exercises tactical control


which is the authority to "direct and control designated forces," in other words, to task.7


The single ATO is the JFACC's key instrument for exercising centralized control of the


joint air effort. The point is that operational control of all joint air assets is not


necessarily essential for the JFACC to run the air war. The desired unity of effort can


be achieved through tactical control.8 Coordination alone falls short. In Desert Storm,


the JFACC did not actually command (exercise OPCON of) Navy or Marine air units.


These units reported to their respective service component commanders. However,


General Horner exercised tactical control through the ATO by tasking these forces to fly


missions based on the CINC's apportionment guidance.9




The JFACC and Apportionment


The JFC is ultimately responsible for running the air war and apportions joint air


assets by percentage or weight of effort based on his priorities.10 The JFACC makes


recommendations on apportionment, usually based on the anticipated sortie rates of air


resources available in-theater, for the JFC's apportionment decision. Based on the


JFC's apportionment guidance, the JFACC then allocates sorties through the ATO.


The focus should really be on weight of effort in expressing JFC apportionment


guidance. Apportionment simply by percentages is undesirable because it limits the


JFACC's flexibility to best allocate sorties and may not result in optimum use of the air


assets involved. Here is why: The actual numbers, types, and unique capabilities of


the aircraft available in-theater can affect the percentage figures since some aircraft


only perform certain roles (or they perform certain roles only so well).11 For example, if


there are 30 F-15Cs out of a total of 100 aircraft, this 30 percent of theater air will be


allocated to the air superiority (anti-air warfare) mission because that is what F-15Cs


do--and all they do. Another equally unsatisfactory approach is to divide air assets in


shares to support each ground commander; in other words, the JFACC gives each


corps commander a certain number of daily sorties. However, concentration of air


power is a central principle of air warfare.12 Concentration allows the theater


commander to focus aerial firepower on the most important targets at the most


important time. Merely dividing air assets among ground commanders dilutes the


effectiveness of air power. This lesson was aptly demonstrated in the early fighting in


the North African campaign of World War II when aircraft were parceled out to Army


corps. As a result, there was no unity of effort for Allied air, no concerted effort to


achieve air superiority, and air losses were prohibitively high as German air devastated


small formations of Allied aircraft trying to support their ground units.13


In addition, the number of sorties flown is not what really matters. What counts


is the type of aircraft and ordnance mix applied against each particular target Different


types of targets require different aircraft and weapon combinations in varying numbers


to achieve an optimum probability of kill. The JFC should ideally provide his guidance


on relative air priorities through weights of effort and leave the actual determination of


how many aircraft are required to fulfill these priorities to his JFACC planning experts.


Weight of effort is best expressed in terms of emphasis within the mission categories of


strategic attack, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), offensive counter air


(OCA), defensive counter air (DCA), close air support (CAS), and air interdiction (INT).


Weight of effort will usually vary with the particular phase of the JFC's theater


campaign. Early in a campaign, gaining air superiority through OCA and SEAD, along


with attacking key strategic targets such as command and control facilities, are usually


top priorities. Once control of the air is assured, other missions can be flown


unhampered by any significant enemy counterair threat. As a campaign progresses


further, certain aircraft such as F-16s may shift from SEAD to CAS or INT. With major


ground operations underway, priorities naturally shift to direct support of engaged


ground forces along with interdiction of rear echelon enemy forces. Certainly the


requirement for CAS is directly related to the progress of the ground operation.


However, some level of strategic attack may still be necessary to prevent the enemy


from reconstituting previously destroyed warmaking capabilities.





The JFACC and Targeting:


The targeting process-the identification, selection, and prioritization of enemy


targets for attack-is a significant area of friction between components and centers on


how target priorities are determined. The JFACC must carry out the JFC's


apportionment guidance by matching available air assets against the target list The


issue here is the relative priority of the targets nominated by ground commanders within


their respective areas of operation (AO) vis-a-vis strategic or theater targets identified


by the JFC and how the JFACC allocates air assets to each.


The disagreement on target priorities stems in part from different basic


perspectives of the airman and the soldier. The JFACC has a theater-wide view of the


battlefield-and seeks to employ air power in line with the JFC's priorities for maximum


overall effect. As an airman, this theater-wide view comes naturally because of the


range, speed, and expanse of his medium. The ground commander is concerned


about his AO-and rightly so. As a soldier, he naturally focuses on the immediate and


near-term battle within his geographic area, and he sees the enemy forces immediately


opposite him as the most important targets to win his battle. Surface forces typically


depend on geographic division of the theater for effective control, and the ground


commander's primary concern is to destroy the enemy within his battlespace with as


much firepower as he can obtain. The airman, unconstrained by geography in his


medium, favors direct attacks on enemy strategic targets as an expedient means to win


the war.


These two very different perspectives often clash, and Desert Storm was


no exception. Both the Army's VII Corps and the Marines' I MEF commanders


became concerned about emphasis on the strategic air campaign at the


expense of battlefield preparation.14 Prior to Desert Storm, joint targeting


procedures for component commanders and the JFACC were not clearly


established. General Schwarzkopf never established a CINC-level joint


targeting coordination board (JTCB). Technically, a JTCB did exist, but its


importance or authority in the overall targeting process is questionable since it


was not comprised of any flag officers or even full colonels.15 The absence of a


true high-level JTCB meant that the Army corps and division commanders did


not have a forum to express their concerns and views about targeting to the


CINC and the JFACC. A targeting process emerged that was sponsored by the


JFACC who hosted a daily joint targeting meeting. However, the JFACC's


Guidance-Apportionment-Targeting (GAT) cell, also known as the "Black Hole",


assumed many functions normally performed by a JTCB. It exercised the


greatest influence on the targeting process since it controlled the Master Target


List and MAP. Although it had some planners from other services who could


provide some oversight of the process, the vast majority were Air Force officers.


This led to allegations that the JFACC-led targeting process lacked the


necessary balance between the Air Force's strategic view and Army and Marine


Corps concerns of shaping the immediate battlefield. Ground commanders felt


that the air effort was weighted too heavily on strategic targets instead of such


targets as artillery on the front lines in Kuwait.16 The CENTCOM J-3 never


became involved to level the playing field, and there was no effective joint


campaign oversight by the CENTCOM staff who primarily ran CENTCOM's


operations center.


A major area of debate was (and still is) over who should integrate the


target lists of various components, the JFACC staff or a theoretically more


objective JFC-level JTCB. On 31 January with the ground offensive


approaching, Schwarzkopf told Horner:


Target development and nomination during the early phases of the

campaign were clearly led by the... [JFACC]. As we move into

battlefield preparation, maneuver commander input into the target

selection process becomes even more important. Therefore, the

opportunity for corps and other subordinate commanders to plan for and

receive air sorties to fly against targets of their choosing must increase.17


Because of ground commander concerns that battlefield preparation was not receiving


enough emphasis, General Schwarzkopf charged the Deputy ClNC (DCINC),


Lieutenant General Calvin Waller, with the responsibility for reviewing targets


nominated by ground commanders and arbitrating disputes over the corresponding


apportionment of air.18 General Waller, along with General Horner, developed initial


sortie allocation recommendations 72 hours prior to ATO execution, reviewed these


with ground commanders, and made a final proposal to Schwarzkopf 48 hours prior to


ATO execution.


A master target list, initially developed before the war by the Air Staff's


Checkmate division and the Navy's Strike Projection Evaluation and Antiair Research


(SPEAR) team, eventually grew from 300 to over 700 targets and was a comprehensive


description of strategic targets in Iraq.19 Targets submitted by ground commanders for


battlefield preparation in Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO) were integrated into a


separate DCINC target list. The reason for two distinct target lists may be that the master


target list was developed during the early stages of Desert Shield by Checkmate as part


of its air-only option named Instant Thunder. The list was further refined by the Black


Hole planning cell as the air campaign plan developed into its four stage form. The KTO


planning cell was separate from the Black Hole team during this process. The two


planning cells were finally merged to form the Guidance-Apportionment-Targeting cell


just before Desert Storm. The DCINC consolidated and prioritized corps commander


targets into a single KTO target list which went to the JFACC who then allocated sorties


against it.


JFACC planners envisioned the air campaign as a phased application of air


power. The first phase would destroy Iraqi's air defense system, gain air superiority,


attack strategic Iraqi targets such as its command and control network, and strike key


warfighting industries and infrastructure such as Iraq's nuclear, biological, and chemical


production facilities. Next, the campaign featured a short second phase to destroy air


defenses in the KTO followed by a third phase which focused on preparing the


battlefield for the coalition ground campaign in Kuwait. The last phase would provide


air support for the ground offensive. In reality, the strategic attack, interdiction, and


battlefield preparation phases all merged into a single, enormous air campaign which


soon brought different service views on the best ways to allocate air power to the


forefront. The Air Force generally emphasized attacking strategic Iraqi targets, the


Army and Marines stressed targeting front-line Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and the Navy


emphasized fleet defense targets. Although part of the disagreement had to do with


different views on what wins wars, certainly some of it also had to do with the timetable


of the individual phases. The Air Force was reluctant to shift from strategic attack to


battlefield preparation so early in the air campaign.20


The best way to allocate air power is the JFC's way. During Desert Storm,


General Schwarzkopf, was given a nightly briefing on the next day's ATO that included


strategic targets to be hit and number of sorties by type of aircraft allocated to battlefield


preparation in Kuwait. He took an active role in determining the air targeting decisions in


the KTO and often made adjustments that he deemed appropriate.21 Even though the


DCINC's JTCB did not review target nominations generated by the GAT, General


Schwarzkopf and General Horner knew of, and agreed with, the target selections.


Target priorities were discussed at the CINC's daily 1900 target selection briefing, and


Army and Marine representatives were present at these briefings. During one briefing,


ground commanders complained about not enough attacks on front-line Iraqi forces in


the KTO. Horner replied that they misunderstood the best way to use air power.


Schwarzkopf ended it by saying, "Guys, it's all mine, and I will put it where it needs to be


put."22 At the 1900 meetings, General Horner and Brigadier General Buster Glosson


would brief General Schwarzkopf on the ATO for two days in the future. Horner


recounts: "[Schwarzkopf] would say, 'No, no, no, here is what I want done... Put 200


sorties on this one [Iraqi division], and 30 sorties on that one' and stuff like that. So that


is what we did. Now that frustrated the Army greatly because they felt nobody was


listening to them. Well, the trouble was they weren't in charge. They wanted to be in


charge, and they weren't in charge. Schwarzkopf was in charge."23


Click here to view image


Figure 1: Strategic Attack and Battlefield Preparation Sorties (Source: A League of Airmen)



Despite dissent to the contrary, the battlefield was well-prepared for the ground


offensive by G-day. After just seven days into the air campaign, the majority of sorties


were allocated to battlefield preparation, and from day thirteen through the coalition


ground offensive, over 80 percent of ATO sorties were for battlefield preparation (see


Figure 1).24 Battlefield preparation sorties flown in Kuwait exceeded 35,000 including


5,600 against the Republican Guard.25


Repeated air attacks reduced the military effectiveness of Iraqi front-line units along the


Kuwait-Saudi border to less than 50 percent, less than 70 percent for second echelon


units, and less than 80 percent for (primarily) Republican Guard forces along the Iraq-


Kuwait border near Basrah. A sign in a JFACC planning cell read: "We are not


'preparing the battlefield,' we are destroying it"26


Apparently unknown to corps commanders, the CINC had directed the JFACC,


General Horner, not to bomb Iraqi units that were below 50 percent strength.27 General


Schwarzkopf's focus of effort was to reduce Republican Guard strength which he saw


as the Iraqi center of gravity.28 Since the Guard units were deployed in reserve behind


front-line regular Iraqi divisions facing coalition ground forces, this decision probably


reinforced ground commanders' concerns that they were not being allocated enough air


against the front-line forces facing them. Schwarzkopf had also directed the JFACC


staff not to attack front-line artillery until just before G-day to prevent it from being


replaced. In addition, the CINC limited attacks on Iraqi forces in the west so as not to


tip off the Iraqis to the coalition's "left hooks attack plan.29 This CINC guidance largely


determined the way the JFACC allocated sorties against corps commander targets.


The JFC has the lead role in theater-level targeting, but this role is not well defined in


current joint doctrine. This may be at the root of the confusion in Desert Storm.


Ground commanders were dissatisfied with the JFACC targeting process for not being


responsive to their target nominations, but at the same time, the JFACC's targeting


conformed to the CINC's priorities and supported his deception plan. Ground


commanders nominated targets of immediate tactical importance to them while the


JFACC and CINCCENT took a theater-wide approach. Tension resulted because the


ground commanders did not understand that the ClNC's preference for striking the


Republican Guards sometimes outweighed their own preferences for striking front-line




After Desert Storm, the Army's VII Corps complained that the JFACC actually


allocated sorties against only 15 percent of some 2,000 nominated targets.31 Of the


3,067 total targets nominated by the Army for air attack during the course of the war, a


little over one-third were actually hit.32 However, there were problems with many of


targets the Army submitted. Some nominated targets were outdated with validations


over a month old. Others could either not be confirmed or had repositioned, had


already been hit and were awaiting battle damage assessment (BDA) results, or simply


were not suitable as an air target. Suitable targets that could be revalidated were


normally targeted although some were not necessarily the Army's higher priority


targets.33 A major shortcoming in the process was a lack of feedback to the ground


commanders on the status of various targets, not unresponsiveness to ground


commander targeting requests. The JFACC staff provided no explanation when


unsuitable targets were dropped from the target list. Some targets within kill boxes


were attacked, but in those cases, the Army generally had no way of knowing what was


actually destroyed. In addition, problems with outdated intelligence and limited air


targeting expertise hampered corps ability to provide suitable air targets. Doctrinally,


for a JFACC to commit sorties against outdated, mobile, unconfirmed, or otherwise


unsuitable targets might waste valuable sorties that could strike other validated targets


elsewhere in-theater. Furthermore, it may result in risking aircrews and aircraft




Along with the misunderstanding between the JFACC and ground commanders,


problems with timely and accurate BDA greatly complicated the air targeting process in


Desert Storm. The CINC gave both the Army Component, Central Command (ARCENT)


and the Marine Corps Component, Central Command (MARCENT) responsibility for


assessing battle damage within their respective AOs. This decision seems to make


sense; however, ARCENT and MARCENT each used different criteria to determine BDA.


Initially, ARCENT used only A-10 mission reports (MISREPs) or confirmation by imagery


intelligence to determine a tank kill. Other coalition aircraft mission reports were not


counted until later confirmed by overhead sensors. MARCENT counted MISREPs from


A-10s and AV-8s.34 At first, MISREPs from F-15Es, F-111Fs, and A-6s were not credited


as kills despite cockpit video showing targets blowing up. Later, ARCENT changed its kill


criteria and credited one-third of A-10 and one-half of F-111F, F-15E, or A-6 claimed kills


in their official counts The JFACC staff initially assumed that pilot MISREPs would be a


primary means of BDA. Since no common method of determining BDA was agreed upon


by the JFACC, ARCENT, and MARCENT, all parties had trouble agreeing on when a 50


percent attrition level was achieved. Without this common reference, ground


commanders also lacked a reliable basis for assessing JFACC support in their AOs. As


mentioned earlier, attrition levels determined the focus of the JFACC's targeting efforts in


the KTO, and these results remained subject to dispute depending on the criteria used.


Lack of real-time BDA had a significant impact on the air targeting process.


The absence of BDA on targets just hit-or being hit-to a certain extent determined


which targets in the JFACC's Master Attack Plan (MAP) were scheduled to be attacked-


-and which were not.36 The BDA process simply could not keep pace with the


enormous scope and rapid tempo of the air campaign.37 The attrition level confusion


was compounded by independent (and more conservative) Defense Intelligence


Agency (DIA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assessments which were


significantly lower than CENTCOM's own estimates. DIA did not have access to aircraft


imagery and relied on national-level overhead reconnaissance assets which, designed


primarily to monitor relatively static strategic areas of interest, could only detect


catastrophic damage.38 Due to delays in assessing data from overhead sensors,


attrition figures fluctuated from one day to the next and complicated the JFACC staff's


attempts to effectively allocate sorties against targets. In addition, the lagging BDA


cycle affected the ATO development cycle. Target selection and ATO development


were often complete before BDA results of previous sorties became available.39 The


JFACC's attack planners were often forced to make their own damage assessments


using cockpit videotape recordings.




The JFACC and the ATO


The air tasking order is the JFACC's key tool for ensuring unity of effort in the


air war, and its development is directly affected by the targeting process. The ATO is a


two part document consisting of a main section with mission and target information and


a special instructions (SPINS) section containing necessary information on topics such


as aircraft deconfliction, radio frequencies, aircraft routing and airspace control


measures, search and rescue, and air refueling procedures. The ATO is an Air Force


mechanism for directing a large-scale air campaign. It allows a JFACC to concentrate


air strikes involving large numbers of aircraft from different units and different bases


across multiple targets in a short period of time. The ATO also enables the JFACC to


selectively employ platforms best suited to attack particular targets with the most


effective munitions. Its significance was summarized by General Horner, "Without the


ATO, you don't have the JFACC. With the ATO, you don't have anything but a


JFACC."40 The ATO concept is in keeping with the Air Force's philosophy of centralized


control and decentralized execution, but this differs from the Navy and Marine


philosophy of centralized command and decentralized control using mission-type


orders. The Navy had never favored an ATO system because of the less predictable


nature of war at sea or along a coast. The Navy also had reservations about


involvement in a centrally directed air campaign by a JFACC, but had no alternative to


the ATO system. It had no similar system for command and control of an air campaign


of such scope or duration. Both the Navy and the Marines were willing to sacrifice


efficiency in air operations for a less rigid approach.41 In Desert Storm, the ATO often


exceeded 700 pages and this size, along with some communications interoperability


problems, caused dissemination delays. As a tasking mechanisms the ATO process


was frequently criticized as inflexible and too slow to quickly respond as the fast-


moving air campaign progressed.42


Click here to view image


Figure 2: The ATO Cycle (Source: Gulf War Air Power Survey, Vol. I)



The lengthy 48 hour ATO development cycle (depicted in Figure 2) was another


factor in the overall air targeting process. The ClNC's targeting and apportionment


guidance was passed at the daily 0700 JFACC staff meeting. The MAP for the day two


days in advance was then created by the GAT cell of the JFACC's staff. Once


approved by the Director of Campaign Planning at 2000, the GAT targeting cell officers


would perform weaponeering-determine the specific type and quantity of weapons


required to achieve the desired damage level given target vulnerability, weapons


effects and reliability. The MAP information went to the ATO Division in the form of


target planning worksheets. The ATO division developed a flyable ATO which was


finally disseminated to units around 1800 the next day for execution beginning at 0500


the following morning. Coalition land-based forces including the Marines received the


ATO by computer via the Computer-Aided Force Management System (CAFMS) to


land-based units which proved to be cumbersome and time-consuming. The Navy had


no capability to receive the ATO electronically. Navy communications equipment was


not compatible with CAFMS so the ATO was flown out to sea from Riyadh by S-3


courier daily.43 As a result of these difficulties, changes were rarely made to Navy


missions once the ATO went out.


Numerous changes to the ATO during Desert Storm, sometimes because of late


BDA, hindered its timely dissemination. Changes issued to the ATO comprised a


significant percentage of the total sorties flown. ATO sortie changes, primarily changes


in timing or target changes, averaged over 500 per day out of around 2,550 average


total sorties flown each day. In all, approximately 23,000 ATO changes were made


during the course of the air campaign.44 The JFACC should minimize changes to the


ATO once it is published since effects tend to ripple throughout the product affecting


not only the planners attempting to put the ATO together but also on the fliers who


need adequate time to effectively plan their individual missions. Many fliers noted that


the ATO changes made daily in the ATO became almost overwhelming.45 Unless they


is not absolutely critical, changes should be incorporated into the next day's ATO. The


CAFMS software was designed to handle a maximum of 2,400 planned sorties per day.


The ultimate result was that the ATO was disseminated several hours late for the first


three weeks of the war. Clearly, the ATO development and dissemination process


needs to be streamlined and shortened to increase the flexibility in execution and


responsiveness of joint air operations. An more aggressive enemy could take


advantage of inherent time lags and inflexibility. The best way to shorten the ATO


cycle is to reduce the CAFMS processing which took over 13 hours during Desert




In addition to a shorter ATO development cycle, the targeting cycle of


nominating, validating, and revalidating air targets must be cut down from


approximately 48 hours to 36 hours. For the ground commander, one issue is


responsiveness. He must be able to nominate a target within his AO (but unable to


strike with organic assets) and have it taken out quickly if it affects his close battle.


Also, to effectively prosecute the deep battle, the ground commander must be involved


in the target selection process. For example, targets that might normally be selected


for air attack by the JFACC staff because of their importance to the enemy may, in fact,


be of even more importance intact to the ground commander's future plans. Therefore,


the ground commander may want to restrict certain targets within his AO from air




Finally, since the BDA cycle provides a key input for the daily targeting process,


real-time, accurate BDA is essential for JFACC planners to concentrate successive


attacks--or reattacks-on the most important remaining targets. The damage


assessment function itself should be centralized. A single agent such as a joint


intelligence center (JIC) should be ultimately responsible for collating BDA inputs from


various sources into a single overall picture. Furthermore, BDA should be principally


determined by the JFC's staff in the theater of operations, not Washington, The JFC in


the combat theater is in the best position to make the ultimate assessment. In addition,


greater emphasis must be given to cockpit videotape imagery as a reliable, real-time


validation of MISREPs in determining BDA.46 MISREPs validated by cockpit video


should be given full credit for targeting purposes. Also, unmanned aerospace vehicle


(UAV) imagery, the Navy's Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS), and the


new Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System (ATARS), must be exploited


as primary sources of real-time BDA imagery to shorten the joint targeting cycle.


Satellite imagery is a valuable source of BDA, but it cannot be relied on as the primary


source. Analysis of these products is an inherently time consuming process, and the


systems limited total capacity cannot meet the demands of large, high tempo





The JFACC and the JTCB


To prelude similar difficulties between the JFACC and ground commanders


over targeting in the future, a joint form to give ground commanders a greater voice in


the target selection process is needed. A joint targeting coordination board (JTCB)


chaired by the deputy JFC (DJFC) and made up of senior component representatives


of the JFACC, land component commander (which could include representatives of


Army and Marine corps-level elements), naval component commander, J-2


(intelligence), and J-3 (operations) should be established to evaluate, consolidate, and


prioritize targets. For multinational operations, membership could even include certain


coalition force representatives. While membership may vary somewhat, the object is to


have senior (O-6 to O-7) decision-makers from every component present to ensure


target priorities within each AO are addressed along with theater-level targets. The


DJFC should chair the JTCB since he has the authority to task the three functional


component commanders.


The JTCB receives validated targets nominated by all major elements. Army


corps targets may be submitted through the battlefield coordination elements (BCE)


located within the JAOC. The JTCB reviews the nominated targets daily and develops


an integrated list that establishes relative theater targeting priorities which, in turn, will


drive attack sequencing and allocation of air assets. Other major functions of the JTCB


include balancing conflicting component target priorities, coordinating the type of deep


attack asset to be used against theater interdiction targets, and ensuring target


priorities are both consistent with the JFC's campaign strategy. A final function is the


coordinated joint targeting effort with all players understanding the intent and focus of


the game plan. An additional feature is that the JTCB will provide and avenue for


necessary feedback and dialogue between the JFACC and ground commanders on the


status of their previously nominated targets.

As a JFC review mechanism, the JTCB must take a macro view of the entire


theater. It must focus primarily on target categories and not involve itself in the details


of attacking individual targets. This should be left to the JFACC staff to work out.


Moreover, the primary focus of the JTCB should be on future operations in the 72 hour


time-frame. However, some targets are time-critical, since not striking them first might


result in an unacceptable threat to friendly forces, they may be of a fleeting nature


because they are temporarily vulnerable, or important operational benefits may be


gained by destroying them as soon as possible. In such cases, the JTCB process must


be flexible enough to also address such targets of opportunity.


Current joint doctrine on the JTCB and its relationship with the JFACC is


extremely vague; more specific guidance on JTCB role in joint targeting is required. A


future Joint Pub 3-56.1, "Command and Control of Joint Air Operations," currently in


draft form, provides little useful guidance on the JTCB or authority of the JFACC.


While it affirms the JFACC's authority to task and direct missions in the ATO to meet


the JFC's theater objectives and ensure unity of effort, it fails to address the JTCB or


the JFACC's role in the joint targeting process other than to acknowledge that it is the


JFC's decision on whether or not to establish a JTCB. Meanwhile, in the absence of


more concrete guidance, the U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Pacific Command have


both developed JFACC concepts of operation which outline specific JFACC functions


and responsibilities as well as a JTCB structure. U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and


U.S. Atlantic Command (LANTCOM) place the JTCB, chaired by the DJFC, under the


JFC (depicted in Figure 3).


Click here to view image


The JFACC's and His Staff


Another controversial JFACC issue during Desert Storm was the composition of


the JFACC's staff. The JFACC staff was not joint. Although it had representatives


(liaison officers) from the other services and the British Royal Air Force, its membership


was predominantly Air Force. Both the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Major


General John A. Corder, and the Director of Air Campaign Planning, Brigadier General


Buster Glosson, were U.S. Air Force generals.47 This naturally tended to reinforce


perceptions of parochialism. A truly joint staff in the Air Operations Center (AOC),


composed of representatives from each service, would go a long way towards


alleviating such concerns. A joint JFACC staff involves more than a handful of liaison


officers from other services performing in an advisory role. Instead, the JFACC's staff


should be composed of a mixture of talented officers drawn from each service in


proportion to the approximate number and type of air assets each contributes to form a


Joint AOC (JAOC).48 This more balanced staff would also provide the JFACC and JFC


with a solid range of expertise across all service aviation specialties. The real role of


these JFACC staff officers is to combine their individual service expertise in planning


effective joint air operations, not to ensure that their service views prevail.49


The JFACC himself is normally the component commander with both the


preponderance of air assets in-theater and the best capability to direct and control air


operations.50 For most large operations, this usually (although not always) means that an


U.S. Air Force officer will assume the JFACC role since the Air Force will probably


provide both the preponderance of aircraft and the AOC infrastructure. A deputy JFACC


or director of operations from a service other than the JFACC's should be appointed. In


Desert Storm, a U.S. Navy officer in such a position would have provided better service


component representation and also helped allay suspicions of service bias. Furthermore,


the Area Air Defense Commander (AADC) and Airspace Control Authority (ACA) duties


are normally performed by the same individual because joint air defense efforts and


airspace control measures are closely interrelated. Although the duties of the AADC and


ACA can be performed by the JFACC himself, as was the case in Desert Storm, the


scope of responsibilities is large enough that these are better delegated to another flag


officer. To minimize the possibility of fratricide, both joint air defense operations and


airspace control procedures must be integrated together in the ATO and airspace control


order (ACO). Since, the JFACC is in the best overall position to synchronize the entire


counterair effort of both aircraft and ground defense systems, it follows that the AADC


and ACA should report to the JFACC as an element of his staff.


"Dual-hatting" of the JFACC, who is probably also a service component


commander, is another area of debate. Lt. Gen. Horner was both the commander of


the Air Force Component, Central Command (CENTAF) and Commander, Ninth Air


Force in addition to being the JFACC. Although serving in these two different and


potentially conflicting roles, General Horner did much to accommodate the interests


and concerns of the other services.51 The willingness to deal is a characteristic of an


effective JFACC. As JFACC, Horner was willing to make tradeoffs with other


component commanders and enjoyed good working relationships with each. This


avoided open conflict over the JFACC's status and authority. Also, daily dialogue of


the JFACC with other senior leaders is vital in ironing out difficulties that arise. Still,


with dual-hatting, concerns over conflict of interest, such as assigning key missions or


targets to one's own service to steal the limelight, are bound to arise. When dual-


hatting is unavoidable, the perception of conflict of interest can be minimized by a


balanced JFACC staff consisting of officers from each services and aviation specialty.


The JFACC's task, whatever his service, is to make the most effective use of all the air


assets available, regardless of their service source. As one JFACC planner in Desert


Storm aptly summarized, "It's a war; we're not trying to make budget decisions, we're


trying to defeat someone."52





The JFACC and Doctrinal Difficulties


Different service perspectives and doctrine on the control and employment of air


power fuel arguments over the JFACC's role in joint air operations. The phrase


"shaping the battlefields may mean two very different things to an aviator and an


infantryman. Furthermore, the airman and soldier may differ in defining the enemy's


center of gravity. The airman may view the command and control network or other


strategic targets as an enemy center of gravity while the soldier tends to see the enemy


force itself as the center of gravity. Each service has a distinct view of joint warfighting


which is shaped by their respective service doctrine. Admittedly, each point of view has


sound rationale supporting it. But while doctrine serves a useful purpose in that it


defines the service's mission and identity, it can sometimes serve as a barrier to true




For the Air Force, the principal doctrinal precept is the primacy of the strategic


air war. The Air Force's doctrine is that centralized control (if not command) of all


service component air assets, under a single air commander, allows air power to be


focused where it will do the most good in achieving theater objectives and promotes


both unity and economy of effort. The JFACC, in the Air Force view, is in the best


position to determine priorities among various theater air assets in keeping with the


JFC's guidance. He fights the entire depth, width, and height of the battlespace. The


Air Force's greatest fear is the misuse of air by failing to achieve air superiority at the


outset or diluting air power, a concern not altogether unfounded in U.S. military history.


General Momyer, former commander of Seventh Air Force in Vietnam, wrote:


Throughout the three wars, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, the

command and control of airpower has been a major issue. Airpower has

great flexibility to perform many tasks in war, and its ability to respond

with varying levels of firepower to a variety of targets has led Army and

Navy commanders to seek control of airpower as part of their forces.

But to give in to these understandable wishes of surface commanders is

to destroy the very thing that gives airpower its strength-the ability to

focus quickly upon whatever situation has the most potential for victory

or for defeat Airmen know that centralized control of airpower in a

theater of war can best serve armies and navies; to fragment airpower is

to court defeat In North Africa, Europe, Korea, and Vietnam this

principle has been proven time and again. As Air Marshal Tedder writes,

'Air warfare cannot be separated into little packets; it knows no

boundaries on land or sea other than those imposed by the radius of

action of the aircraft; it is a unity and demands unity of command.'53



The danger lies in suboptimizing the battlefield which can result in the diffusion of air


power at the expense of the theater objectives. Air Force officers argue that the


soldier does not understand the synergy of focused and direct attacks on strategic


targets of the enemy.54 The Air Force position is that early destruction of the enemy's


leadership, command and control capability, lines of communication, industrial


infrastructure, and other warfighting capabilities through strategic attack can help


ensure a decisive victory.55 Attacks against command and control centers and airfields


play a major role in the air superiority battle. The Air Force believes that air superiority


is a fundamental priority and a precondition for the effective conduct of joint ground or


air operations.


While the Air Force acknowledges its support responsibilities to ground forces, it


does take a decidedly strategic focus with air superiority, deep attack, and interdiction


as elements of a larger air war executed independently of the ground battle. Indeed,


Air Force doctrine states that air power employed primarily in a close air support role


(as opposed to interdiction and strategic attack) is not likely to achieve campaign-level


effects.56 This statement seems to ignore the point that air power may provide crucial


support which ultimately helps the Army win a major land battle. That victory, in turn,


can have a profound effect on an entire campaign, and air power has therefore


contributed to that effect. Despite the claims of those who advocate the classic


strategic bombing campaign, history has shown that a strategic air campaign can have


a devastating impact on the enemy, but it will not win a war by itself.57 In General


Horner's words, "See, the trouble with our air power people is that sometimes they get


too carried away with what air power is all about.. They wanted the Iraqi army to


surrender without the ground battle taking place so that it would vindicate them as


airmen... The reason you would want that to happen is so that no U.S. soldiers were


killed on the battlefield."58


The Navy's focus is on the primacy of the war at sea that involves sea control,


forward presence, and power projection in the littoral or near-land environment. In this


context, the Navy views its carrier air as an extension of the fleet and is reluctant to


surrender control to a land-based commander. The Navy sees its air performing a


combination of fleet defense and strike operations along the littorals. Naval air is an


essential part of overall fleet operations, and the traditional view holds that since carrier


air supports naval operations, it should therefore fall under the command of the naval


commander afloat. However, while maritime missions have priority, sorties in excess of


maritime air requirements are made available for JFACC tasking. The Navy's strictly


maritime missions were not normally included in the ATO. The JFACC does not need


to control these sorties, only those which are integrated with the joint air effort inland.


The Navy has recently come a long way in its shift from war in the open ocean


towards becoming part of the joint sea-air-land team. Going into Desert Storm, the


Navy's focus was on maritime battle against the former Soviet navy and independent


contingency operations. It was not well prepared to integrate with land-based air forces


in an extended air campaign. The Navy lacked a developed system for planning and


directing an air campaign comparable to the Air Force's AOC or for developing an ATO


to integrate employment of aircraft from multiple bases. This capability to control an air


war is an essential prerequisite for a future Navy JFACC. Also, the Navy's limited


number of precision munitions and lack of onboard target identification systems for


beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile employment tended to limit its participation in


certain aspects of the air campaign which called for those capabilities.59


The Marine Corps' fundamental precept is the primacy of the Marine Air Ground


Task Force (MAGTF). In spite of the 1986 Omnibus Agreement, the Marines and the


Air Force views still diverge on control of the organic air component of its MAGTF.60


Marines view their air assets as an integral part of their air-ground combat team and are


very uncomfortable with the idea of a theater air commander who is able to shift Marine


air assets away from the direct support of their ground forces. The Marine reliance on


its air component stems from the Corps's unique role in amphibious operations and the


need for immediate firepower during the critical landing phase before other supporting


arms are ashore to provide such fire support. Marine air compensates for the MAGTF's


limited artillery and armor, and it exists to support the MAGTF's ground component. It


is also the MAGTF commander's primary means of fighting the deep battle. The


association of Marine air with the ground component it serves is so close that


questioning the need for separate Marine air is equivalent to questioning the need for a


Marine Corps.61


The Marines do believe in centralized control of air-but by the MAGTF


commander. This is so that when the MAGTF needs air, it can get it immediately


instead of finding that the air it relied on was diverted elsewhere in theater. The Air


Force is adamant about the centralized control of all theater air assets under a single


air boss for reasons already explained. So who is right? Both services have valid


points. The Joint Chiefs simultaneous endorsement of both the JFACC concept and


the Omnibus Agreement continues to create a context for disagreement between the


Marines and the Air Force. During Desert Storm, the Air Force did, in fact, adhere to


the Omnibus Agreement which reaffirms the integrity of the MAGTF combined-arms


team and recognizes that Marine air is required for MAGTF effectiveness as a fighting


force. Since the Omnibus agreement states that OPCON of Marine air is retained by


the MAGTF commander, Marines prefer to think of the JFACC title as a designation


and the JFACC himself as strictly a coordinator.62 In Desert Storm, Marine


commanders and the JFACC staff disagreed over the degree to which the ATO


covered Marine sorties in excess of the number specifically committed to it. Some


Marine officers, including Lt. Gen. Royal N. Moore, Jr., Third Marine Aircraft Wing


Commander, viewed the ATO as merely a coordination mechanism.63 This assertion


ignores the fact that the air tasking order was, as the name implies, the instrument used


by the JFACC, as the supported commander for the ClNC's air effort, to task various


missions. All fixed-wing Marine air was in the ATO. Sorties provided to the JFACC


included all A-6 and EA-6B and half of the F/A-18 sorties with MARCENT retaining


tasking authority over all AV-8B and the remaining F/A-18 sorties for use in zones near


their ground forces.64 Interestingly, in mid-February 1991, MARCENT withheld all fixed-


wing assets for CAS use because the JFACC's allocated sorties did not meet


MARCENT's ground support requirements. Despite these philosophical differences,


General Horner and General Moore made the whole process work through a series of


mutual tradeoffs and compromises.66 General Horner commented, "You do common


sense things. And you don't worry about doctrine."67


For the Army, the principal precept is the primacy of the land battle. In the


AirLand Battle, which is now evolving into something called Army Operations, a basic


notion is that war is ultimately decided by the soldier on the ground. Like the Marines,


the Army complains that the Air Force's desire for centralized control leads to too much


emphasis on strategic operations at the expense of direct support for front-line ground


troops that it wants-and often needs.68 Unlike the Marines, the Army lacks an organic


fixed wing air component, and because of a limited number of ATACMS, it still depends


largely on air power to fight the deep battle.69 The Army tends to view air power as a


supporting force for its ground scheme of maneuver and would like to allocate a fixed


number of sorties dedicated for the exclusive use of each corps, in essence, to provide


an "air umbrella." However, in the Air Force's view, such an approach fragments air


power and wastes the synergy associated with centralized control of air power.


Centralized control allows the JFACC to focus air assets where they are most needed


by the joint force as a whole. It provides flexibility to shift roles or redirect aircraft to


other targets on the battlefield as a result of weather obscuring a primary target or


significant changes in one area of the battlefield. Also, as previously noted, the


number of sorties flown is not as important as the types of aircraft and weapons that fly


those sorties. Centralized control allows a JFACC to allocate the best combination of


aircraft and weapon and concentrate this firepower for the desired effect against each


target. Of course, the ground commander is in the best position to identify and


prioritize targets in his AO which are a factor to his forces. When it comes to direct


support, the crux of the matter is responsiveness. Army commander's want dedicated


CAS because when they need it, they need it right away. On a dynamic battlefield, 30


minutes is a long time to wait. Battles have been won and lost in less time. The


concept of "push CAS" developed by General Horner to provide readily available


aircraft for direct support is a great idea, but it only works when an abundance of air


assets are available (as was the case in Desert Storm).70


Army helicopters are yet another issue. Should they come under the JFACC's


purview? The Army sees its helicopters as part of a combined-arms team along with


armor, infantry, and artillery, all supporting its scheme of fire and maneuver. Attack


helicopters are used as a maneuver element in support of ground operations and are


not truly theater assets by virtue of their limited speed and range. When used in a


combined-arms or CAS role, they are best left under the direct control of the ground


commander. However, Army helicopters used in an interdiction role or beyond the fire


support coordination line (FSCL) should come under the JFACC's purview in the ATO.




The JFACC and Deep Attack


Another area of debate concerns JFACC control of deep attack assets other


than aircraft. B-52-launched Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCMs) come under the


JFACC's control through the ATO, but should Navy TLAMs and Army ATACMS also be


included in the JFACC's sphere of control? Generally, yes. TLAMs are a highly useful


weapon permitting strikes in either bad weather or against heavily defended targets in


the daytime without risking aircraft. It is essential that TLAMs be closely integrated with


air strikes to achieve unity of effort in the timing and targeting of deep strike operations.


TLAMs not employed in support of strictly maritime targets should fall under the


JFACC's control in executing the JTCB's joint target list.


With a range of over 120 km, ATACMS is the Army's principal means of


prosecuting deep operations.71 The ATACMS can also be a superb SEAD weapon in a


high threat environment too lethal for aircraft to attack enemy defenses without


incurring excessive risk.72 ATACMS is designed to be a highly responsive deep strike


system, while the Army's shorter range Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is


considered an artillery system. Since these are fundamentally employed as organic


corps support weapons, it is not desirable for a JFACC to exercise control over them


when used against targets within the corps' AO. However, when employed in deep


operations against targets outside the ground commander's AO, JFACC control is


again essential to allow the JFACC to deconflict targets between aircraft and other


attack assets when developing the MAP and to synchronize the theater deep attack




To facilitate the integration of deep attack assets, a deep attack coordination


line (DACL) should be established by the JFC, beyond which Navy TLAMs and Army


ATACMS employment must be coordinated with the JFACC's air interdiction efforts.


This concept differs from the fire support coordination line (FSCL), inside which pilots,


operating within the ground commander's main battle area, must coordinate their air


attacks with the ground commander. The DACL will normally be located beyond the


FSCL. The ground commander may freely employ his organic deep attack assets


inside the DACL. Past the DACL, he must coordinate with the JFACC who integrates


all deep attack assets to synchronize the theater deep battle. Merely extending the


FSCL way out to permit unrestricted use of ATACMS unnecessarily hampers the


JFACC's air interdiction effort. Pilots operating inside the FSCL cannot expend


ordnance unless under the control of a forward air controller (FAC), and the number of


aircraft that FACs can work at any given time is very limited. An example of this


occurred in the latter stages of Desert Storm when the XVIII Airborne Corps advanced


the FSCL well north of the Euphrates River. It was so far ahead of coalition ground


forces that it created what amounted to a sanctuary for Iraqi forces from air attack that


allowed them to escape north out of Kuwait.73 Just as it is crucial for the ground


commander to synchronize all attack assets inside the FSCL, it is equally essential for


the JFACC to integrate all deep attack assets in prosecuting the theater-wide deep








As Desert Storm dramatically demonstrated, air power has come of age.


Stealth technology, lethal precision-guided weapons, long range air-and sea-launched


cruise missiles, and airborne battlefield management and surveillance systems


combine to make air power one of the most dominant and versatile aspects of modern


warfare. As President George Bush observed, "Gulf lesson one is the value of air


power."74 Other than the U.S., no nation has a comparable ability to use concentrated


air power with modern precision munitions against its adversaries. With the diverse


aerospace capabilities of the four services, air power will remain a dominant aspect of


U.S. military might and a unique advantage the U.S. can exploit in future conflicts. The


decisiveness of air power so clearly demonstrated in Desert Storm comes from its


inherent offensive capability." Only air power has the capability to strike the enemy


anywhere, anytime, and hit multiple targets simultaneously. The lethality of modern air


power, coupled with its freedom of maneuver, range, and precision, has revolutionized


modern warfare." Although air power alone may not win a war, without air power, a


war will not be won. Air power creates the essential conditions for success on the


ground and at sea.


The effectiveness of joint air operations is best achieved through the centralized


control of a JFACC who ensures unity of effort and coherent employment of air power


to best achieve decisive theater-wide results. The key elements of the successful


Desert Storm air campaign were centralized control of the joint air assets under a


JFACC and a single ATO. The JFACC achieved true unity of effort in the air war, and


this allowed the CINC to focus air power against the most critical targets at the right


time to support his concept of operations. Centralized control will continue to be


important in future conflicts with fewer U.S. air power assets available due to current


force reductions. In Desert Storm, the JFACC had an abundance of fighter assets to


employ which kept inter-service conflicts, for the most part, on the back burner. The


coalition forces fielded 2,430 fixed-wing aircraft and flew an average of over 2,500


combat and support sorties per day.77 There was enough air for each service to


employ its air assets the way it doctrinally preferred to fight" with the recent


downsizing of U.S. forces, the real test for the JFACC will come in the future when


limited air resources force hard choices between competing priorities on the battlefield.


Can the clash of different service doctrines over control of joint air operations be


reconciled? Yes, but first, old mindsets must change. The new paradigm for joint air


operations is that unity of effort is effectively achieved through a single air boss


exercising tactical control over all service component air assets. The Air Force must


recognize that air power alone will not necessarily win a war through a strategic


bombing campaign designed to drive the enemy into submission. It must also


recognize that supporting engaged ground forces is just as important to the theater


campaign as the strategic air battle is. It must give greater emphasis to CAS in


doctrine and training. The Navy must prepare now to assume the role of JFACC in the


future, especially in the littoral warfare environment. The Navy must integrate its carrier


air with other joint air assets beyond the fleet defense role in a larger theater air


campaign. The Marines need to recognize that under certain circumstances such as


sustained operations ashore, Marine air does not always need to be strictly tied to its


MAGTF combined-arms role. They must acknowledge that a JFACC's authority from


the JFC to exercise tactical control involves more than mere coordination. The Army


must recognize that air power does not only exist to support the ground forces' scheme


of maneuver. The use of ground forces to facilitate an air-dominant operation, such as


fixing enemy ground forces in place to increase their vulnerability to attack by air power,


is as valid a tactic as the use of air to support a ground scheme of maneuver. Also, as


a deep weapon, the Army's ATACMS needs to be integrated with the JFACC's air


targeting plan to ensure unity of effort.


Service doctrine should provide a constructive basis for examining new


warfighting ideas, not serve as a dogma that obstructs effective joint operations


because it fails to acknowledge exceptions to its major doctrinal precepts. Nor should


service doctrine usurp either joint doctrine or the JFC's concept of operations. To fight


joint, mutual understanding and appreciation of the other services' warfighting doctrines


is essential to understand warfare in not only one's own medium but in the other


mediums as well. There is no room for any dysfunctional interservice squabbling when


the shooting starts.


Service components should be allowed to fight the way they are organized and


trained. At the same time, services must tailor their organization and training to the way


they will fight in the future--and that way is joint. Joint exercises must involve a JFACC,


JTCB, JAOC, and different service component air assets with limited total air resources


to force the tough calls. Joint targeting, BDA, and ATO planning and dissemination


processes, along with equipment interoperability, must be tested in dynamic exercise


environments. Exercises must be designed to focus on true joint integration of air


assets, not service-sponsored exercises in which other services play mere token or


supporting roles.


"Jointness" should not be confused with "fair-sharing," that is, the assignment of


missions or targets for parochial reasons at the expense of overall campaign


effectiveness. It is not the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy fighting separate air,


land, and sea campaigns. These service forces are each part of air, land, and sea


components fighting the JFC's campaign. They all work for the JFC and a common


goal: to win-and win decisively. True jointness requires a JFACC to make the most


effective use of all air assets available, regardless of their parent service. It is not


necessary to be "purple." Each service component brings its own unique air power


capabilities (and limitations) to the fight. The diverse capabilities of each service air


component are complementary and can be best employed by the JFACC who


synchronizes joint air actions for maximum overall effect and unity of effort.






1 The route package concept, which was developed in Korea and flourished in

Vietnam, divided airspace over North Vietnam into seven parcels or "route packages."

The Air Force or the Navy was assigned responsibility for targets and operations within

its respective packages. It was nothing more than an arrangement to get around

unresolved doctrinal issues and offered simplicity at the expense of effective

employment of all air assets available. See General William W. Momyer, Air Power in

Three Wars (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 1987), pp. 95-96; JFACC Primer, 2nd ed.

(Washington DC: Department of the Air Force, February 1994), p. 5; James A.

Winnefeld and Dana J. Johnson, Joint Air Operations: Pursuit of Unity of Command

and Control, 1942-1991 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1993), pp. 156-160. In

some circumstances, such as single strikes or smaller scale operations, geographic

separation may be useful in preventing mutual interference and simplifying planning.

At that time, lack of sophisticated communications and computer systems prohibited

the kind of close coordination that is possible today.

2 Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS), Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control

(Washington, DC: GPO, 1993), pp. 58, 62, 217.

3 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Title V Final Report to Congress, April 1992,

p. 101.

4 Les Aspin and William Dickinson, Defense for a New Era: Lessons of the

Persian Gulf War (Washington, DC: Brassey's (US), Inc., 1992), p. 1, 8, 10; Conduct

of the Persian Gulf War, pp. 101, 103,179; James P. Coyne, Airpower in the Gulf

(Arlington, VA: Air Force Association, 1992), p. 155; Charles A. Horner, General.,

USAF (ret), "The Air Campaign," Military Review, September 1991, p. 26; Thomas A.

Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey Summary Report

(Washington, DC: GPO, 1993), pp. 161, 240.

5 AFM 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, Vol. I.,

March 1992, pp. 3, 7, 17-18.

6 According to Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNMF), 11 August

1994, operational control (OPCON) is "authority to perform those functions of command

over subordinate forces involving organizing and employing commands and forces,

assigning tasks, designating objectives, and giving authoritative direction necessary to

accomplish the mission." It provides "full authority to organize commands and forces

and to employ those forces as the commander...considers necessary." Tactical control

(TACON) is "command authority over assigned or attached forces or commands, or

military capability or forces made available for tasking, that is limited to detailed and,

usually, local direction and control of movements or maneuvers necessary to

accomplish missions or tasks assigned."

7 Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), pp. 111-112.

8 The Air Force position is that tactical control is the appropriate level of JFACC

authority to conduct joint air operations. See JFACC Primer, p. 10.

9 Keaney and. Cohen, p. 146; Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, pp.

125-126; James A. Winnefeld and Dana J. Johnson, "Unity of Control: Joint Air

Operations in the Gulf," Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 1993, p. 98.

10 According to Joint Pub 1-02, DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms,

apportionment is the JFC's "determination and assignment of the total expected effort

by percentage and/or priority that should be devoted to various air operations and/or

geographic areas for a given period of time." This differs from allocation which involves

assigning actual sorties by mission and type aircraft based on the JFC's apportionment


11 Numerous examples exist. The F-15C currently performs only an air-to-air

role and the A-10 is strictly a ground attack aircraft to name just two. Many aircraft are

best utilized in only certain roles. For example, the F-117 is best suited for strategic

attack and the AV-8B for a direct support role.

12 AFM 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, Vol. II, pp.

119-120; John A. Warden III, The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat (Washington

DC: National Defense University Press, 1988), p. 161; Jerome V. Martin, Victory From

Above: Air Power Theory and the Conduct of Operations Desert Shield and Desert

Storm (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.: Air University Press, 1994), p.8.

13 Momyer, pp. 39-41. The Air Force has never forgotten this hard lesson.

14 Aspin, pp. 9-10; Rick Atkison, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War

(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993), p. 222; Richard P. Hallion, Storm over Irac: AirPower in

the Gulf War (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992), pp. 2O6-209; Richard B.

Lewis, "JFACC: Problems Associated With Battlefield Preparation in Desert Storm," Airpower

Journal, Spring 1994, pp. 16, 19; Dwight R. Motz, "JFACC: The Joint Air Control 'Cold War'

Continues," Marine Corps Gazette, January 1993, p. 70; Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air

Operations, pp. 192, 194.

15 GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, pp. 63, 171.

16 Stephen W. Dade, "Adventures in Targeting," Marine Corps Gazette, June


pp. 34-35; John W. Schmidt and Clinton L. Williams, "Disjointed or Joint Targeting?,"

Marine Corps Gazette, September 1992, p. 67-8; Triumph without Victory: The

Unreported History of the Persian Gulf War (New York: Times Books, 1992), pp. 267-


17 GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, pp. 57-58.

18 GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, p. 58; Triumph without

Victory, p.268; Winnefeld and Johnson, pp. 125, 136, 192, 194.

19 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, p. 94.

20 Rick Atkison, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War (Boston:

Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993), p. 221; Lewis, pp. 8, 20; Triumph without Victory, pp.

265-267. Schwarzkopf directed Horner to begin the Phase III well inside of two weeks

into the air campaign.

21 Atkison, pp. 105-106; GWAPS, Vol. 1, Part II, Command and Control, p. 60;

Lewis, p. 7.

22 GWAPS, Vol. 1, Part II, Command and Control, pp. 59-60.

23 General Charles A. Horner interview, 27 Dec 1993.

24 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, p. 101; Lewis, p. 8.

25 Reaching Globally, Reaching Powerfully: The United States Air Force in the

Gulf War (Washington DC: Department of the Air Force, September 1991), p. 41.

26 Ibid., pp. 40, 42.

27 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, pp. 90-91, 94, 140; GWAPS, Vol. I, Part I,

Planning, p. 170; Hallion, p. 209; Lewis, pp. 12,19; Reaching Globally, p 40.

Historical evidence shows that units are rendered combat ineffective after suffering

attrition levels of 20 to 50 percent. Schwarzkopf's combat analysis team concluded

that 50% attrition was necessary as a precondition for a coalition ground offensive to

succeed. According to Lewis, corps commanders were unaware of Schwarzkopf's

guidance until after the war, apparently due to some sort of communications disconnect

between ARCENT and the commanders.

28 According to Carl von Clausewitz, a center of gravity is "...the hub of all power

and movement, on which everything depends. That is the point against which all our

energies should be directed." Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. Michael

Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1976), pp. 595-

96; GWAPS, Vol. I, Part I, Planning, p 172; Keaney and Cohen, pp. 152-153.

29 Lewis, pp. 13,19.

30 Keaney and Cohen, pp. 152-153, 155; Winnefeld, Niblack, and Johnson, p. 110.

31 Atkison, p. 219; Lewis, p. 17. Nominated targets were to be plotted to within

100 meters on the map and then validated just hours before an air strike. Of an

average 110 targets nominated daily, only a few dozen actually were designated for

attack in the ATO.

32 Atkison, p. 222.

33 Atkison, p. 219; Michael Leurs, "Joint Doctrine: New Pubs, Old

Controversies," Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 1994, p. 112; Lewis, pp. 18, 21. To

be a suitable target for air, among other things, it must be readily identifiable from

altitude and vulnerable to aircraft-delivered munitions. An example of an unsuitable

target would be infantry dispersed and dug in over a large area.

34 Hallion, p. 208; Lewis, pp. 10-13. Kills on tanks, APCs, and artillery pieces

were counted in determining attrition levels. Col. Lewis, a member of the JFACC's

staff, gives an excellent account of specific details surrounding the BDA confusion

during Desert Storm.

35 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, p. 113; Keaney and Cohen, p. 142; Lewis,

p. 10-13; Winnefeld, Niblack, and Johnson, p. 149-150. ARCENT never revised its

initial figures based on its revised "discounted" criteria however.

36 The MAP contained TOT, mission number, the basic encyclopedia number

(BEN)-a reference to the DIA's automated installation file identifier, target category

code, target description, and number and type aircraft tasked to conduct the attack.

Some delays led to unnecessary restrikes. See GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and

Control p. 299.

37 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, pp. 175-176, 343; Norman Friedman,

Desert Victory: The War for Kuwait (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991), p.

186; Larry Grundhauser, et al., "The Future of BDA," Concepts in Airpower for the

Campaign Planner (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University, 1993), pp. 89-91;

GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, p. 304; Keaney and Cohen, p. 142.

Under ideal circumstances, overhead imagery of a single target took 18 hours to be

processed and disseminated by DIA in Washington to Riyadh for assessment. When

multiplied by approximately 2,000 sorties each day, the system was overwhelmed.

38 Atkison, p. 236; Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, pp. 138, 175-176, 343-344;

Coyne, p. 159; Keaney and Cohen, p. 140-142; Lewis, p. 13; Grundhauser, et al., p.

99. Triumph without Victory, p. 276. The Iraqis resorted to burying their tanks and

artillery pieces in sand, sandbagging turrets, and wrapping gun barrels with rags which

made it both harder for aircraft to achieve kills and to assess damage. Analysts had a

hard time assessing target destruction unless it was very apparent such as a tank turret

blown off. BDA was also hampered by poor weather which often obscured some

targets and prevented reconnaissance imagery. Satellites could only cover around 20

percent of the targets hit.

39 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, pp. 103,176.

40 GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, p. 52.

41 Friedman, p. 174.

42 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, pp. 103-105, 552, 574; Friedman, pp. 174-

175; GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, pp. 51, 55; Royal N. Moore, Lt

Gen., USMC, "Marine Air: There When Needed," Proceedings, November 1991, p. 63;

Motz, pp. 70-71; Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, p. 110; Winnefeld,

Niblack, and Johnson, p. 111. Gen. Moore referred to gaming the ATO process by

scheduling additional sorties which he canceled if not needed because he felt that the

ATO process did not respond well "to a quick-action battlefield." The NAVCENT staff

created a "Fleet Defense" sortie category to give them the flexibility to strike targets

important to the Navy but not serviced by the normal targeting process.

43 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, p. 104-105; Keaney and Cohen, p. 151;

Hallion, p. 256. The Contingency Tactical Air Control Automated Planning System

(CTAPS) is an ongoing joint program to address problems associated with

disseminating a joint ATO. The Navy is installing CAFMS on its carriers in the


44 GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, pp. 220-227, 231-235. A

number of these ATO changes were due to bad weather (around 100 on several days).

Weather was so bad that four out of every ten sorties through late January were


45 GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, p. 231; Keaney and Cohen,

p. 151.

46 Aircraft video tape recordings (AVTR) is not a panacea. It does not

necessarily permit reliable BDA either because some products, such as A-10 and F-16

video, show the target at weapons release but not up to impact like F-15E or F-117

products do. The use of cockpit video imagery for higher headquarters BDA review in

currently a USAF Air Combat Command special interest item.

47 Horner placed certain Air Force officers that he personally knew in those key

positions where he felt, as JFACC, he needed individuals in whom he could place

special trust. The Air Force was comfortable with the Air Force-dominated staff

supplemented by liaison officers from the other services, and the other services did not

initially seem eager to provide manning. See GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and

Control, p. 67; Winnefeld, Niblack, and Johnson, p. 106-107.

48 Authors Winnefeld and Johnson recommend a standing JFACC cadre staff of

joint membership/composition that can be rapidly expanded for large-scale, continuous

combat operations. See Joint Air Operations, p. 135 and "Unity of Control: Joint Air

Operations in the Gulf," Joint Forces Quarterly, p. 99.

49 Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, p. 137.

50 Joint Pubs 3-0, 3-01.2, and 3-04 set forth criteria for JFACC selection.

51 According to Lt Gen. Walter E. Boomer, I MEF Commander, General Horner

adhered to the Omnibus Agreement and made no attempt to assume operational

control of Marine air. In return, the Marine Corps provided sorties for JFACC tasking as

promised. See "Special Trust and Confidence Among the Trail-Breakers,"

Proceedings, November 1991, p. 50; GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control,

pp. 57, 73; Martin, p. 38; Moore, p. 64; Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations,

p. 147; Winnefeld, Niblack, and Johnson, p. 110.

52 Hallion, p. 254.

53 Momyer, p. 107-108.

54 Triumph without Victory, p. 267.

55 Christopher Bowie, et al., The New Calculus: Analyzing Airpower's Changing

Role in Joint Theater Campaigns (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1993), p. 44; Winnefeld,

Niblack and Johnson, p. 60.

56 AFM 1-1, Vol. II, p. 166.

57 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, pp. xxi; Friedman p. 267. Air power was

(and is) a necessary ingredient for victory, just not the only ingredient. Air power

contributed in an extraordinary way to the coalition victory in Desert Storm, but maritime

and ground operations also played essential roles as well.

58 Horner interview, 27 Dec 1993. Some Air Force planners, especially in

Checkmate, believed that air power could single-handedly win the war through an

intense strategic bombing campaign. The initial plan named "Instant Thunder" focused

heavily on strategic targets almost to the exclusion of Iraqi forces in Kuwait. See

Friedman, p. 160,171; Triumph Without Victory, p. 269-274.

59 James Blackwell, Michael J. Mazarr, and Don M. Snider, The Gulf War:

Military Lessons Learned (Washington DC: The Center for Strategic Studies, 1991),

pp. 20-21.

60 The 1986 Omnibus Agreement specifies that the MAGTF commander will

retain operational control over his organic air assets but will make sorties available to

the JFACC for air defense, long-range interdiction, and reconnaissance. These are not

considered "excess" sorties. In addition, he will make available those sorties in excess

of MAGTF direct support requirements. The JFC still retains the prerogative to

reapportion any MAGTF air assets he deems necessary to accomplish the overall


61 Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, p. 10.

62 The 16 December 1990 CINCCENT Operations Order for Operation Desert

Storm contained a statement that the MAGTF commander will retain OPCON of his

organic air assets as the Omnibus Agreement requires. The order gave Horner the

authority to require air units to consult in planning and execution of interdiction

operations, but it did not give him the authority to compel agreement if they differed.

Such differences were to be referred to USCINCCENT. Ambiguity of the operations

order did little to reconcile the different views of the Air Force and the Marines over the

JFACC's authority. See GWAPS, Vol. I, Part II, Command and Control, pp. 42, 50-51;

Winnefeld, Niblack, and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, p. 94.

63 GWAPS, VoI. I, Part II, Command and Control, p. 42; Moore, p. 64;

Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, p. 109.

64 Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations, pp. 119-120; JFACC Primer, p. 7.

65 Fedorchak, Scott A., "Close Air Support: Repeating the Past Again?,"

Airpower Journal, Spring 1994, p. 30.

66 Coyne, , p. 155; Moore. p. 64; Winnefeld and Johnson, Joint Air Operations,

p. 119. An example of a tradeoff was USAF A-10s for CAS in exchange for Marine

F/A-18s for deep strike missions that the A-10 is unsuited for.

67 Horner interview, 27 Dec 1993.

68 James Blackwell, Thunder in the Desert: The Strategy and Tactics of the

Persian Gulf War (New York: Bantam Books, 1991), pp. 114-119, 129-131.

69 The total programmed buy of ATACMS is around 2000. Army attack

helicopters can provide CAS in some circumstances.

70 In anticipation of the ground commanders' requirements for CAS, Horner

developed the "Push CAS" concept because he did not want aircraft sitting on the

ground waiting for a call from attacking Army units. CAS aircraft would fly to a stack or

holding point at regular intervals (as frequently as 7 minutes) to await tasking. If no

CAS was needed at the moment, they were sent deeper in the KTO to kill boxes.

71 Deep operations are those directed against enemy targets beyond the close

battle area. Interdiction is an important facet of deep operations designed to destroy,

delay, or disrupt enemy forces or sustainment before it can be employed against

friendly forces. Improvements to the ATACMS will extend range out to around 400 km.

72 Ten ATACMS were fired against targets in Kuwait during the first night of the

war as part of the joint defense suppression effort. A total of 33 ATACMS were fired in

Desert Storm with great effectiveness.

73 JFACC Primer, p. 34; Keaney and Cohen, p. 157.

74 Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, p. 89, George Bush, 29 May 1991. The

impact of air power can be overstated. Desert Storm was an ideal environment for the

asymmetric application of air power against Iraqi ground forces despite the worst

weather in 40 years. The open desert and set-piece nature made the Iraqi forces

extremely vulnerable to air attack, and the aircraft themselves possessed the

technology to conduct precision strikes. Iraq's inability or unwillingness to aggressively

act further compounded their predicament. Still, air power did ground Iraq's air force

(the sixth largest in the world), destroy over 400 aircraft, overwhelm Iraq's air defense

system, and shatter Iraqi ground forces' confidence. See "Air Force Performance in

Desert Storm," White Paper, April 1991, p. 2.

75 Martin, p. 95.

76 Hallion, pp. 253-4.

77 Martin, p. 63.

78 Winnefeld, Niblack, and Johnson, p. 265.





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