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Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation: The Use Of Integrated and

Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation: The Use Of Integrated and

Combined Combat Arms in Maneuver Warfare


CSC 1995


SUBJECT AREA - Warfighting




United States Marine Corps

Command and Staff College

Marine Corps University

Marine Corps Combat Development Command

Quantico, Virginia 22134-5068


Master of Military Studies

AY 1994-1995


Title: Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation:

The Use of Integrated and Combined Combat

Arms in Maneuver Warfare


1st Mentor: Dr. H. W. Gholson


2d Mentor: LtCol D. A. Driscoll, USMC


3d Reader: LtCol T. V. Wolf, USMC




Author: Major R. M. Rayfield, USMC

CG 10







Title: Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation: The Use of Integrated and Combined


Combat Arms in Maneuver Warfare




Author: Major Richard M. Rayfield, United States Marine Corps




Thesis: To analyze the evolution of Marine aviation from a supporting arm to an


integrated combined arm supporting the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) in


order to identify its use as a combat arm applying maneuver warfare.




Background: The Marine Corps officially adopted maneuver warfare as its warfighting


philosophy with the publication of FMFM 1, Warfighting, in March 1989. FMFM 1


generated much discussion as to the merits of maneuver warfare, including its application


to the aviation combat element (ACE) of the MAGTF. Numerous papers, books, and


articles expounded on the idea of the ACE as a maneuver element, many appearing in the


Marine Corps Gazette. A notable proponent of maneuver warfare was William S. Lind.


Official Marine Corps documents and doctrinal publications began to emerge highlighting


this view of Marine aviation as a player in maneuver warfare.




In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the discussion of the ACE as a maneuver element


expanded to that of the ACE as a combat arm, supporting the entire MAGTF. This


concept contradicted the traditional view of Marine aviation as a supporting arm of the


ground combat element. The concept of the ACE supporting the entire MAGTF was


furthered by the acceptance of the MAGTF, specifically the Marine expeditionary force


(MEF), as the warfighting organization of the Marine Corps. The MEF's focus was


directed toward the operational level of war, with the ACE constituting but one combat


arm in the MEF commander's "toolbox." Again, numerous papers and articles put forth


the idea of the ACE as a combat arm supporting the MAGTF. Official Marine Corps


documents and doctrinal publications adhering to this concept appeared as early as 1989.




Despite much of the recent discussion of maneuver warfare and the role of Marine


aviation within this warfighting philosophy, Marines have practiced much of it for years.


Many of the tenets of maneuver warfare can be identified as long ago as the 1920s, in


Nicaragua. Official Marine Corps publications, such as the Tentative Manual for Landing


Operations (1935); Marine Aviation: General, 1940; and NAVMC 2890, Small Wars


Manual, outline the same principles espoused by our current maneuver warfare doctrine.


A brief study of historical applications, from World War I to Somalia, highlights successful


and unsuccessful use of aviation that the Marine Corps can learn from and build upon.




Literature Review: Initial research centered on a review of existing and emerging joint


and Marine Corps doctrinal manuals. Joint doctrine review focused primarily on Joint Pub


3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations, and Joint Pub 3-07 (Draft), Joint Doctrine for


Military Operations Other Than War. The review of Marine doctrine encompassed both


Fleet Marine Force Manuals (FMFMs) and Fleet Marine Force Reference Publications


(FMFRPs). Many historical accounts of Marine Corps operations have been republished


as FMFRPs. Key publications included FMFM 1; FMFM 1-1, Campaigning; the FMFM


5 series of Marine aviation publications; FMFM 6 (Final Draft), Ground Combat


Operations; FMFRP 12-26, Marine Aviation: General, 1940; and FMFRP 12-34, History


of the Marine Corps Operations in World War II.



Other Marine Corps sources proved invaluable. The written documents included the


Marine Corps Long-Range Plan (MLRP) (July 1989), the MAGTF Master Plan (MMP)


(July 1991 and July 1993), and a report submitted by Major General James M. Myatt,


USMC to the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces. A telephone


interview with Colonel Michael M. Kurth, USMC provided great insight into the use of


Marine aviation in the Persian Gulf war.




A search of Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) holdings identified many


sources. These sources primarily were monographs, papers and theses submitted by


students at other US armed forces schools. They proved especially useful in the


discussion of operations other than war.




Published books provided an excellent source of material, particularly in the areas


of maneuver warfare application and historical example. Notable sources on maneuver


warfare application included William S. Lind's Maneuver Warfare Handbook and Martin


van Creveld's Air Power and Maneuver Warfare. Some superb historical examples were


provided by Robert Sherrod's History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, Peter


Mersky's US. Marine Corps Aviation: 1912 to the Present, and the accounts of Allied


operations in Italy in 1944.




Analysis: This analysis revealed an abundance of information regarding the use of Marine


aviation, past and present, and its applicability to maneuver warfare. It highlighted


numerous examples of aviation's successful and unsuccessful use on the battlefield.


Research identified numerous articles and papers dealing with the ACE and maneuver


warfare. Nothing existed to tie these concepts into a meaningful document for practical






Analysis further highlighted the void in Marine Corps doctrine dealing with Marine


aviation and maneuver warfare. Since the publication of FMFM 1, officially tying the


Marine Corps to maneuver warfare, no corresponding discussion of the ACE has been


published. Doctrine Division, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico,


Virginia, has as one of its tasks to develop FMFM 5, Marine Air-Ground Task Force


Aviation. The focus of this masters paper and the desired focus of FMFM 5 were closely






Three proposed courses of action presented themselves: produce a standard masters


thesis, do nothing, or produce a draft doctrinal manual.



1. Do Nothing. Doing nothing obviously does not benefit anyone.



2. Standard Masters Thesis. A standard masters thesis, although valuable,


would be limited in its practical use. Its availability to users would be


limited, and it would bear no official Marine Corps sanction.



3. Draft Doctrinal Manual. A doctrine manual provides prescriptive


information on warfighting and is distributed throughout the Marine

Corps. It is an official Marine Corps publication, governed by

MCO 5600.20M and MCBul 5600. This order and bulletin also outline

the specific procedures for development, publication, and review of

Marine Corps doctrinal manuals. The integration of the research required

for this paper into the development of the capstone manual for Marine

Aviation, FMFM 5, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation, would

provide immediate benefit to the operating forces of the Marine Corps.

(See attached Director, Doctrine Division ltr 5600/C42 of 26 Oct 94.)




Recommendation: The recommended course of action was the integration of masters


research with the development of a draft doctrine manual. Input during the developmental


stage and review of the initial draft was provided by a ground combat arms officer student,


adding to the integrated combined arms focus of this book. It is recommended that this


book be approved by Command and Staff College and forwarded to Doctrine Division,


MCCDC. Doctrine Division can then prepare the draft for approval by CG, MCCDC and


distribution to the Marine Corps as FMFM 5 (Draft), Marine Air-Ground Task Force






FMFM 5 (Draft), Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation, discusses how to think about


Marine aviation--as a combat arm supporting the MAGTF, applying integrated combined


arms concepts to maneuver warfare. The FMFM 5 (Draft) is the capstone manual for


Marine Aviation, and is written in a style and format similar to that of FMFM 1.




Special Note. I am especially indebted to the personnel of Doctrine Division, Marine


Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia. The Director of Doctrine


Division, the Aviation Doctrine Branch, the Ground Doctrine Branch, and the Doctrine


Division Terminologist were particularly helpful and supportive. Their guidance and


assistance in the source material, format, compatibility with existing and emerging


doctrine, and content of this draft doctrine manual was invaluable.





Doctrine Division C 42

Marine Corps Combat Development Command

2042 Broadway Street, Suite 2 10

Quantico, Virginia 22134-5021



C 42

26 Oct 94


From: Director, Doctrine Division

To: Director, Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Attn: Dr H. W. Gholson

and LtCol D. A. Driscoll, USMC)





Ref: (a) Master of Military Studies Paper Proposal submitted by Maj R. M. Rayfield,

USMC to Command and Staff College, AY 94-95

(b) MCO 5600.20M

(c) MCBul 5600


1. Reference (a) is a Master of Military Studies (MMS) Paper Proposal by Maj Rayfield.

The proposed topic concerns the evolution of Marine Aviation from a supporting arm to

a combat arm. The topic further includes the application of Marine Aviation in

maneuver warfare as the aviation combat element (ACE) of the Marine air-ground task

force (MAGTF). Maj Rayfield lists his 1st Mentor as Dr H. W. Gholson and his 2d

Mentor as LtCol D. A- Driscoll, USMC.


2. Doctrine Division is responsible for doctrine development for the Marine Corps. The

development approval, publication, and review process for this doctrine is outlined in

references (b) and (c). Reference (c) also includes specific manuals under development.

Because of Maj Rayfield's prior assignment to Doctrine Division, he is thoroughly

familiar with the doctrine development process and procedures.


3. Per reference (c), one of the manuals to be developed is Fleet Marine Force Manual

(FMFM) 5, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Aviation. FMFM 5 will be the capstone

manual for Marine Aviation that will parallel and complement FMFM 1, Warfighting.

The desired focus of FMFM 5 and Maj Rayfield's MMS proposal are closely related. His

efforts would speed the doctrine development and approval process for FMFM 5.


4. Maj Rayfield's research and assistance in development of FMFM 5, while

simultaneously satisfying the MMS requirements of Command and Staff College, would

be of great benefit to Doctrine Division and the Marine Corps.













Marine Air-Ground Task Force










U.S. Marine Corps


PCN 139 000150 00






Headquarters United States Marine Corps

Washington, D.C. 20380-0001


18 April 1995






"Marine aviation units are an integral element of an air-ground combat system. They


are not merely joined at the top when the time comes to fight. They are fully integrated


from top to bottom, and they train that way full-time."1



-- General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., USMC



"It is not so much the mode of formation as the proper combined use of the different


arms which will ensure victory."2



-- Henri Jomini



This book describes the Marine Corps doctrine for using aviation. It provides a common


ground for understanding aviation and how the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF)


operationally and tactically exploits aviation's capabilities within the battlespace.




We direct every phrase in these pages towards one goal--success in war. To achieve


victory, the MAGTF must focus all efforts to this end. This requires a common


understanding of tactics, techniques, and procedures. Maneuver warfare provides the


basis for the Marine Corps' warfighting doctrine. Aviation forces, like the other elements


of the MAGTF, conduct operations using this doctrine. This book applies maneuver


warfare to MAGTF aviation.




The inescapable lesson of history--and the theme of this book--demands the integration


of aviation with other combat arms. The Marine Corps uses aviation as an integral part of


our naval expeditionary air-ground team. As part of this combined-arms team, aviation


extends and expands the MAGTF's warfighting power. This unique combined-arms


capability remains the strength and hallmark of the MAGTF.




This book is descriptive rather than prescriptive in nature; it requires judgment in


application. It does not discuss aircraft tactics, the organization of Marine aviation, how


to conduct a helicopterborne operation, or how to attack a target. This book focuses on


how to think about MAGTF aviation--as a combat arm, supporting the MAGTF, applying


maneuver warfare.




Recommendations for improving this publication are encouraged from commands as well


as from individuals. Forward suggestions using the User Suggestion Form format to--


Commanding General

Doctrine Division (C 423)

Marine Corps Combat Development Command

2042 Broadway Street, Suite 205

Quantico, Virginia 22134-5021







Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps

Commanding General

Marine Corps Combat Development Command

Quantico, Virginia


DISTRIBUTION: PCN 139 000150 00







Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Aviation and the Marine Corps


Forged in Combat--Combined Arms--The Marine Air-Ground Task Force


Chapter 2. Aviation and Maneuver Warfare


To Achieve a Decision--Aviation at the Operational Level-

Tactical-Operational Interaction--Focus and Speed--Surprise, Unpredictability, and

Boldness--Lethality and Effectiveness


Chapter 3. Combat Operations


To Provide Firepower--To Provide Mobility--To Create Conditions for Success--To

Exploit Enemy Vulnerabilities--For Exploitation and Pursuit--As a Reserve


Chapter 4. Operations Other Than War


Humanitarian Assistance--Peacekeeping--The Combat Link






Appendix A. Policy for Command and Control of USMC TACAIR

in Sustained Operations Ashore


Appendix B. Glossary




Chapter 1



Aviation and the Marine Corps




"Today [aviation] is the dominant factor in war. It may not win a war by itself alone,


but without it no major war can be won."1




--Admiral Arthur Radford, USN



"That [aviation] cannot win a war without major efforts of ground troops is perfectly


apparent, since, in spite of our vast air superiority, the enemy was able to move a sizable


force and launch and support a serious counter-offensive well towards the end of the





-- Major General Raymond S. McLain, USA


To achieve success, the Marine Corps integrates aviation with all forms of combat power.

Aviation is a powerful combat force in modem warfare.


Its evolution as a viable instrument of war begins in the early 20th century. Marine


aviation traces its origin and purpose to 22 May 1912, when First Lieutenant Alfred A.


Cunningham reported to the naval aviation training camp at Annapolis, Maryland.3 The


purpose of Marine aviation today parallels that envisioned in 1912. We continue to


maintain Marine aviation's focus on one goal--to achieve success. We achieve this


success by integrating aviation with all other forms of combat power. The first


demonstration of this integration occurs in January 1914.4




We operate under the concept that aviation is a complementary part of the larger whole.


In World War II, aviation plays a major role in helping Marines maintain our tenuous hold


on Guadalcanal. Marine aviation provides air cover, flank protection, and reconnaissance


to the Army forces (known as the "flying column") that liberate Manila in the Philippines.


In Korea, Marine aviation prevents the collapse of the Pusan Perimeter and supports the


Inchon landing. The concept of aviation as a complementary part of the larger whole


continues to serve us well, evidenced by Desert Storm and continuing operations in


southwest Asia.








Marines quickly grasp the great benefit that aviation might provide in combat. Terrain,


vegetation, or man-made structures fail to affect an airplane's mobility as they affect


ground-surface movement. Aircraft allow rapid movement above these obstacles that


impede forces on the ground. World War I provides the first opportunity to employ


Marine aviation in combat, but participation proves limited.5 Marine aircraft provide


support to Marine forces operating in Haiti and Santo Domingo beginning in 1919, to


include beginning to practice dive bombing, with less than decisive results.6 It is not until


1927, in Nicaragua, that the full potential of the Marine Corps' air arm begins to emerge.7




On 15 July 1927, a force of around 500 Sandinistas, led by Agosto Sandino, attack the


Marine garrison at Ocotal, Nicaragua. The 38 Marines and 49 Nicaraguan National


Guardsmen repulse the initial attack. At dawn the beleaguered garrison refuses to


surrender and Sandino's men resume their assault. During the attack on 16 July, two


aircraft from Major Ross "Rusty" Rowell's VO-7M arrive over Ocotal by chance. One


pilot lands to get a report on the situation while the other strafes the rebels. After


expending their ammunition, the pilots fly 125 miles to Managua, Nicaragua to report to


Major Rowell. Major Rowell responds to the crisis by leading his five available DH-4B


and 02B-1 aircraft to the besieged garrison's defense. Forming in a column, the flight


dive bombs and strafes the attacking rebels. This first organized dive bombing attack and


first low-altitude attack in support of ground troops8 breaks up the rebel attack, causing


an estimated 200 Sandinista casualties.



On 30 December 1927, Sandinistas ambush two Marine columns. Although aircraft


twice drop medicine to aid the wounded Marines, it becomes necessary to fly the wounded


to safety to save their lives. Ten times from 6 to 8 January 1928 Lieutenant Christian


Schilt lands on a hand-made landing strip (the early use of an expeditionary airfield or


forward operating base), under fire, to evacuate the 18 wounded Marines. Lieutenant


Schilt earns the Medal of Honor for what the citation calls his "almost superhuman skill."




Marine experimentation with aviation in Nicaragua does not stop with close air support


and air evacuation. On 10 January 1928, three Fokker trimotor aircraft make military


history by transporting 9,564 pounds of cargo. With the addition of more and larger


aircraft, Marine aviation's contribution to logistical support continues to increase. During


one week, Marine aviators haul over 68,000 pounds of cargo.




In January 1928, Marines provide air reconnaissance and preliminary bombing and strafing


attacks prior to a major Marine-National Guard attack on Sandino's mountain-top


stronghold of El Chipote. On 14 January 1928, Major Rowell leads a four plane flight on


a strike in advance of a major ground attack against San Albino, Nicaragua. These


missions essentially qualify as deep air support.



Thus in Nicaragua, Marines begin to employ many concepts of Marine aviation, including


air reconnaissance, close air support, deep air support, air logistical support, and air


evacuation. Marine aviation's functions and expeditionary nature start to emerge, forged


in combat. Even while exploring its complete possibilities, Marines understand that


aviation is useless if employed alone. We cannot use aviation or think of it as an end unto


itself. To do so invites failure. Aviation succeeds when it is part of the combat power the


commander uses to achieve a decision. Integration of aviation with all other forms of


combat power provides the most effective use of aviation.







Combined arms put the enemy in a dilemma-any action he takes to counteract one threat makes


him vulnerable to another.


Combined arms is a method of fighting. Maneuver warfare employs fire support systems not as


just supporting arms, but as combined arms.9 Combined arms strikes the enemy with two or more


arms simultaneously in such a way that whatever course he takes means devastation. We use


combined arms to create a dilemma for the enemy--to place him in a situation where whatever


action he takes to avoid one "arm" opens him up to another. Any action we take likely provokes an


enemy reaction. We design our actions so that any enemy reaction proves equally


disastrous. The "arms" we use to create a dilemma go beyond use of the firepower means


of aviation, artillery, and infantry. We create combined arms effects using movement of


forces, sustainment capability, deception, electronic warfare, and psychological operations.




Law provides the basis for the Marine Corps' use of combined arms. United States Code,


1988, Volume III, Title 10 - Armed Forces, Chapter 507, Section 5063 states:



The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide


fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air


components, for service with the fleet.10




The Marine Corps uses combined arms at the tactical and operational level of war. Major


Rowell and his fellow aviators' air attacks against the rebels at Ocotal, Nicaragua on 16


July 1927 likely provide the first example of the use of Marine air-ground combined


arms.11 Aviation allows the commander to present the enemy with tactical and operational


dilemmas. The commander combines many tactical dilemmas to produce an operational


dilemma for the enemy force as a whole.




Tactically, a commander pins down the enemy with direct and indirect fire weapons,


making him vulnerable to close air support. If the enemy moves to escape the air attacks,


he comes under direct and indirect fire. We link the combined arms effects of individual


units to produce a larger MAGTF combined arms effect.




Operationally, a commander uses aviation to isolate an enemy force from reinforcements


or supplies. He can accomplish this by interdicting enemy lines of communications. The


commander then strikes the isolated enemy force to shape the battlespace for future


operations. The enemy must either fight and face irreplaceable losses or abandon the field


and come under aviation and artillery attack.






The separate elements of the MAGTF are not viable combat forces. As an integrated air-ground-


logistics force, the MAGTF provides a combined arms team capable of accomplishing assigned


tasks with little to no external support.



The Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) is the Marine Corps' way to organize for combat.


The Marine expeditionary force serves as the Marine Corps' primary warfighting organization.


Marine Corps Forces Atlantic and Pacific provide MAGTFs, as part of the Marine component, to


theater and joint force commanders. The MAGTF commander task-organizes his MAGTF based on


his assigned mission and the theater, joint force, or naval expeditionary force commander's


operational requirement or task and intent. The size and composition of the MAGTF varies


depending on the mission. All MAGTFs, regardless of size, contain a command element, a ground


combat element, an aviation combat element, and a combat service support element.12 The


separate elements of a MAGTF by themselves are not viable combat forces. The MAGTF provides


the theater, joint force, or naval expeditionary force commander with a self-sustaining,


integrated air-ground combined-arms team capable of accomplishing assigned tasks.




The MAGTF offers unique capabilities, limitations, and organizational requirements.


Using maneuver warfare, the MAGTF achieves decisive results with forces of moderate


size. These decisive results reflect the distinct nature of the aviation combat element and


the combat power it brings as part of the MAGTF. This aviation combat power must


remain part of the MAGTF, whether the MAGTF functions as part of a naval


expeditionary force or a larger joint/combined force. The MAGTF commander advises


higher headquarters on the effective use of the MAGTF. Without the MAGTF


commander's participation and input, the risk of improper strategic, operational, and


tactical employment of the force exists.




The Aviation Combat Element


The ACE is specifically organized, trained, and equipped to support the MAGTF.



The size and composition of the aviation combat element (ACE) reflects the MAGTF commander's


mission. The ACE commander task-organizes the aviation assets of the MAGTF based on the tasks


assigned to the MAGTF and the ACE and the MAGTF commander's intent. The MAGTF


commander ensures that the task organization of the ACE supports his vision for success.


The mission of Marine aviation traditionally focuses on support of the Fleet Marine Force


in landing operations. The creation of the Fleet Marine Force on 8 December 1933


incorporates Marine aviation, and subsequent publications and boards outline the concept


of employment for Marine aviation. Marine aviation roles become solidified with the


approval of the Tentative Manual for Landing Operations on 9 July 193 5 and the General


Board of the Navy in January 1939.13 These two occurrences serve to restate Marine


aviation's mission and highlight its tasks in support of the Fleet Marine Force. These tasks


include air superiority, air reconnaissance, reduction of hostile defenses, protection of the


landing forces, artillery spotting, and close air support. Over the years this concept


translates to support of the infantry, the division, or the ground combat element (GCE).




The adoption of maneuver warfare as the Marine Corps' warfighting philosophy signals a


reevaluation of Marine aviation. The emergence of the Marine expeditionary force as the


warfighting MAGTF, focusing on the operational level of war, contributes to this


reexamination of the ACE.14 The MAGTF commander retains the option of using the


ACE to support the GCE's decisive close operations, but other possibilities exist. For


example, he may task the ACE to conduct deep shaping operations that isolate the


battlespace for future operations. The MAGTF commander can also direct the ACE to


support the combat service support element's force sustainment operations.




The ACE provides a newly realized dimension of flexibility, firepower, and mobility to add


to the MAGTF commander's tools for victory. The traditional concept of the ACE as


solely a supporting arm of the GCE expands to that of a combat arm in support of the


entire MAGTF. The ACE, as part of the integrated combined-arms team, " specifically


organized, trained, and equipped to function in support of the MAGTF mission."15




Within a Naval Expeditionary Force



In operational maneuver from the sea, the sea and land viewed as one maneuver space for a single,


seamless operation.



A naval expeditionary force specializes in operational maneuver from the sea. Operational


maneuver from the sea includes the capability to conduct amphibious operations. Operational


maneuver from the sea integrates the maneuver of both land and naval forces, to include


the actions of organic aviation assets.16 A naval expeditionary force always includes a


MAGTF. As part of this force, the MAGTF gains additional operational mobility,


flexibility, and firepower. Operational maneuver from the sea requires four key


operational capabilities: battlespace dominance; power projection; force sustainment;


and command, control, and surveillance.17 Aviation, both Navy and Marine Corps, plays


a major role in all four operational capabilities.




Battlespace dominance provides the focus of naval expeditionary warfare, allowing control


over the area of concern to the commander. This degree of control enhances friendly and


denies enemy freedom of action. It includes all actions against enemy capabilities to


influence future operations, allowing sustainment of the force and projection of power


from the sea. MAGTF aviation participates in battlespace dominance by isolating and


shaping the battlespace.


Power projection enables the naval expeditionary force to mass forces rapidly. The ability


to mass allows the force to generate high intensity, precise offensive power at the decisive


place and time of the commander's choosing. It uses maneuver and combined arms


against enemy forces to achieve a decision. MAGTF aviation and the MAGTF GCE work


together as an integrated combined arms team to project decisive power ashore.




Force sustainment from the sea gives the naval expeditionary force its staying power. It


allows the force to remain at sea, safely on station as long as necessary, ensuring


continuity and freedom of action. It provides logistics support and maintains lines of communication for the force. The ACE assists the combat service support element in


providing sustainment for the MAGTF.




Command, control, and surveillance provides a flexible, responsive, and integrated system


through which the naval expeditionary force gathers, processes, and distributes


information vital to plan and conduct operations. Command, control, and surveillance


links the operational capabilities to allow the naval expeditionary force commander to


exercise decentralized leadership and make decisions more rapidly than the enemy. The


Marine air command and control system of the ACE enables the ACE commander to


exercise centralized command and decentralized control of MAGTF aviation in support of


the MAGTF.




Marine aviation participates as part of a naval expeditionary force under two separate


forces. Marine aviation always remains a part of the MAGTF and under the command of


the MAGTF commander. Separate Marine aviation units not part of the MAGTF may be


part of the Navy's carrier forces. The MAGTF commander possesses no command


authority over these Marine aviation assets. Augmenting Navy carrier forces must not be


at the expense of the MAGTF's aviation requirement.




Within a Joint and Combined Force


Joint/combined operations provide a means to an end, not the end in itself.



Joint and combined operations provide a means to an end, not the end in itself.


These operations prove essential when a strategic task requires the capabilities of more


than one Service or nation. However, joint and combined operations possess limits to


their utility. Their utility reflects the direct proportion between the size of the forces


necessary and the time available for preparation.




The planning, execution, and sustainment of joint and combined operations occurs as an


act of compromise. A joint or combined force exists as an ad hoc assembly of military


units joined at the highest command level. The separate Services and nations bring


individual, and at times, incompatible procedures, training, and logistics arrangements.


Whenever possible, theater commanders make use of existing Service and nation combat


capabilities. When a single Service or nation possesses the capability to accomplish the


task, the need to form a joint or combined force proves unnecessary.




The MAGTF commander normally makes Marine aviation sorties available to the joint


force to support the joint force as a whole or another component of the joint force. These


sorties are previously agreed to between the MAGTF commander and the joint force


commander. They normally include sorties for air defense, long range [air]


reconnaissance, and long range [air] interdiction. The MAGTF commander additionally


provides to the joint force any MAGTF aviation sorties beyond those required for direct


support of the MAGTF. The MAGTF commander can request aviation support from the


joint force in those instances where organic MAGTF aviation assets are not sufficient to


meet MAGTF requirements.




MAGTF aviation best supports the joint and combined force when it functions as


designed, as an inseparable part of the MAGTF. Rather than fragment the tactical and


operational integrity of the MAGTF, the joint force commander maintains the unity of


effort of the joint force using support relationships.18 If the joint force commander


separates MAGTF aviation from the MAGTF, major reductions in the MAGTF's


contribution to joint force combat effectiveness offset any minor gains in joint force


aviation combat capability. When MAGTF aviation functions as part of the MAGTF to


achieve a decision, it increases the successes achieved by the supported force.




Chapter 2




Aviation and Maneuver Warfare




"In brief, the whole future of warfare appears to me to lie in the employment of mobile


armies, relatively small but of high quality, and renedered distinctly more effective by the


addition of aircraft."1




--General von Seeckt



"Battle should no longer resemble a bludgeon fight, but should be a test of skill, a


maneuver combat, in which is fulfilled the great principle of surprise by striking from an unexpected direction against an unguarded spot'."2




--B. H. Liddell Hart



Maneuver warfare seeks to shatter the enemy's cohesion through a series of rapid, violent, and


unexpected actions which create a turbulent and rapidly deteriorating situation with which he


cannot cope.


Aviation provides a key element in the MAGTF's ability to conduct maneuver warfare. Maneuver


warfare requires opportunistic maneuver in time and space to gain a positional advantage over the


enemy.3 Maneuver warfare concentrates on those actions which present the enemy with a hopeless


situation--a dilemma. Maneuver warfare capitalizes on use of the main effort; focus and speed;


surprise, unpredictability, and boldness; and lethality and effectiveness.4 Aviation expands


the MAGTF commander's ability to gain a decisive advantage and create a dilemma for


the enemy. The MAGTF commander uses aviation to aid and reinforce his maneuver by


attacking the enemy's ability to maneuver. If the enemy moves rapidly to counter ground


actions, he exposes himself to aviation actions. If the enemy defends against aviation


actions, he cannot move fast enough to counter ground actions. Whichever course the


enemy takes, he faces disaster.




Marine aviation, task-organized into the ACE, operates in direct support of ground


maneuver forces or provides a separate maneuver force within the MAGTF.5 These


employment options for Marine aviation give the MAGTF commander added combat


power and flexibility to shatter the enemy's will to fight. Our use of mission-type orders,


vision and intent, and ability to focus on the enemy play a major role in the conduct of


maneuver warfare. They apply equally for ground and aviation forces.








MAGTF aviation conducts air operations using mission tactics. Mission tactics focus on


the assignment of a subordinate mission--including a clearly stated purpose--without


specifying how the mission must be accomplished. Mission tactics begin with mission-


type orders. Mission tactics allow subordinates the freedom to take whatever steps


necessary based on the situation. This freedom for initiative proves vital for the high


tempo of operations required in maneuver warfare. However, initiative without unity or


focus squanders the MAGTF's strength. We achieve unity, not through imposed control,


but through the commander's vision.




Vision and Intent



Commander's intent gives subordinates a standard by which to judge their own decisions, a


constant reminder of what the larger organization is trying to accomplish.



The commander expresses his vision through his intent. A mission consists of two parts:


the task to accomplish and the reason, or intent. Of the two, the intent is the critical


element.6 The intent clearly defines the commander's vision of success and his


desired end state. When the ACE commander receives his mission, he conducts an


analysis based on mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time


available (METT-T). The ACE commander considers the MAGTF commander's intent


and the intent of the MAGTF commander's superior to develop his own desired end state.


The ACE commander reflects his end state when he formulates his commander's intent.


The ACE commander task organizes his forces and tasks subordinates to achieve the


desired end state. The commander's intent also provides guidance for achieving the


conditions necessary for decisive maneuver. While a situation may change, altering or


abolishing a mission, the intent continues to guide our actions. The commander's intent


must not inhibit initiative. A clear understanding of commander's intent provides the


essential ingredient to ensure unity of effort.




Main Effort


Another method for providing unity is the main effort. A commander assigns one specific


subordinate unit to achieve the decision. That unit represents his main effort, focused on


the enemy. The main effort may be associated with battlespace dominance, power


projection, or force sustainment. We direct the main effort where it will cause the most


damage to the enemy and where we have the best opportunity for success. The main


effort represents our bid for victory. The MAGTF commander designates any element of


the MAGTF--including aviation--as the main effort.7 Because it is his bid for success, the


commander augments his main effort with every means available. The commander stakes


the success of each specific phase of the operation on the performance of his main effort.


With this action we -achieve a decision; everything else remains secondary.



The success of the main effort can only be achieved by the responsive and unselfish actions of


supporting units.



We focus the main effort on an enemy critical vulnerability while exercising economy of force


elsewhere. At the tactical and operational levels of war, commanders seek to identify and attack


critical vulnerabilities. Enemy critical vulnerabilities are enemy capabilities that prove both


susceptible to attack and crucial to the enemy's success. These vulnerabilities lead to the enemy's


center of gravity. The center of gravity includes whatever characteristics, capabilities, or localities


that provide the source of a military force's freedom of action, strength, or will to fight. The


enemy's center of gravity may be his leadership, command and control, or mechanized forces.


Mission analysis and higher commanders' intent help identify the enemy's center of


gravity. The destruction of the center of gravity achieves the objective of defeating the


enemy forces or shattering their will to fight.



All units not part of the main effort assume a supporting role. The needs of the main


effort outweigh the needs of supporting units. Supporting units contribute to the overall


success by economizing on resources--fires, mobility means, supplies--that the main effort


may require. Similarly, unless specifically ordered to do otherwise, units give priority of


support to the main effort. Supporting commanders must anticipate the main effort's


direction and requirements. The main effort succeeds only through the immediate,


unselfish, and voluntary actions of the supporting units. Supporting units


ensure that their actions either directly assist the main effort or provide the main effort as


much freedom as possible.




A commander may need to refocus his actions and combat power to achieve success--the


main effort may change. Deliberate planning or changing battlespace conditions


contribute to this decision to change. A commander designates his main effort for a


particular phase of an operation. He then may shift the main effort to another unit in


accordance with his plan or the developing situation.




The MAGTF commander normally designates the ACE as the main effort in the initial


phase of an operation or campaign to gain and maintain the air superiority necessary for


the MAGTF to conduct operations. The ACE may be designated the main effort to


conduct deep operations to shape and isolate the battlespace. To conduct forcible entry


and secure the initial lodgement, the MAGTF commander switches the main effort to the


GCE. After securing the lodgement, the main effort may then shift to the combat service


support element for force sustaintnent operations. Next, the MAGTF commander may


designate the GCE as the main effort to conduct decisive close operations. The focus may


shift back to the ACE to quickly exploit an opportunity or pursue a fleeing enemy.




The goal remains to exploit success, not reinforce failure. Like the commander's intent,


the main effort harmonizes the various actions of the force. It allows all the parts to act as


a whole. The MAGTF commander uses aviation at the tactical and operational level to


achieve a decision that realizes strategic results. Marine aviation capitalizes on its inherent


speed, surprise, and unpredictability, focusing its lethality and effectiveness on a critical


enemy vulnerability to achieve a decision.






MAGTF aviation focuses on but one goal: to achieve a decisive effect on the outcome of the battle


and campaign.



To be effective within the battlespace, the MAGTF commander uses aviation to achieve a decision.


The MAGTF commander does not attempt to achieve an aviation decision. He attempts to achieve


an air-ground decision applying combined arms and maneuver warfare. Ten years after the first


combat use of aircraft, the Italian air power theorist, Guilio Douhet, recognizes the need to direct


all combat forces toward the ultimate goal:




The use of military [ground], naval, and aerial forces in war should be


directed toward a single end, to win. To attain maximum effectiveness


these forces must be coordinated and in harmony with one another. The


three forces should function as ingredients--or factors--of a single product


in which the best results can be obtained only by a proper apportioning of


the ingredients used.8




The MAGTF commander may designate the ACE as the main effort. The MAGTF


commander may use the ACE in direct support of ground maneuver forces or may employ


the ACE itself (or any elements thereof) as a maneuver force. MAGTF aviation


contributes significantly to all forms of maneuver--in support of, or as part of--a frontal


assault, flanking attack, envelopment, or turning movement.9 If the ACE does not provide


the main effort, it functions in a supporting role or provides the reserve. MAGTF aviation


can function to support the offense, the defense, and security operations. The ACE is a


combat arm of the MAGTF--not a supporting arm of the GCE. With two combat arms,


the MAGTF commander possesses the ability to shift the main effort and keep the enemy


off balance. To achieve an air-ground decision, the MAGTF commander uses aviation




. Fix the enemy while another force destroys him.


. Destroy the enemy after another force fixes him.


. Fix and destroy the enemy.



The MAGTF commander uses aviation to see and shape his battlespace; extend the range of his


ground forces; and discover, delay, degrade, and manipulate the enemy.



The MAGTF commander uses his organic aviation to see and shape his battlespace


in time and space in advance of close combat. He uses aviation's inherent reach not only for the


direct application of firepower, but also to extend the range


of his ground forces. The MAGTF commander uses aviation to discover the enemy's


operational intentions; to delay enemy reinforcements; to degrade critical enemy functions


or capabilities, such as command and control or logistics; and to manipulate the enemy's










On 2 August 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces invade Kuwait. The


United States is asked to provide military assistance to the Kingdom of Saudi


Arabia to prevent any further southward aggression by Iraqi forces. Later, the


United Nations forms a military coalition to drive the Iraqi army from Kuwait.


The phase to deter the Iraqis from invading Saudi Arabia and defend the


Kingdom becomes known as Operation DESERT SHIELD. The offensive to


drive the Iraqis from Kuwait will be called Operation DESERT STORM.




The first Marine forces to arrive in Saudi Arabia comprise the 7th Marine


Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), commanded by Major General Hopkins. Arriving


with these forces is the I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) ACE commander,


Major General Moore, and HMLA 369, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Kurth.


HMLA 369 consists of eighteen AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters and six UH-1N

Iroquois ("Huey") utility helicopters. HMLA 369 constitutes the initial ACE


striking power and a considerable portion of 7th MEB's.




Around 18 August, at a meeting among Major Generals Hopkins and Moore and


Lieutenant Colonel Kurth, concern arises over how to prevent an Iraqi attack into


Saudi Arabia. Lieutenant Colonel Kurth is given a verbal mission-type order to


deploy his squadron along with 1st Light Armored Infantry Battalion to fight a


covering action to delay any Iraqi attack. HMLA 369 is placed in direct support


of 7th Marines. Kurth integrates with assets of the Army's 82d Airborne Division.




In early September 1990, Kurth meets with the Commanding General of the 1st


Marine Division, Major General Myatt, at Manifah, Saudi Arabia. The division


comprises the GCE of I MEF. The use of firepower to stop an Iraqi attack is a


concern. Kurth is given a mission-type order to act as a screening force


designed to fight a delaying action should the Iraqis attack along the Tap Line


Road or the coastal road. Kurth remains in direct support of 7th Marines,


supporting the overall division plan. Initially this is strictly an attack helicopter


force, with UH-1Ns providing airborne command and control. Major General


Myatt desires the largest number of attack helicopters in history to be used at the


decisive time and place. Task Force Cunningham is thus born.




With the arrival of the entire ACE of I MEF, it is decided that all aviation assets


will contribute to Task Force Cunningham. Assets include (in addition to the


helicopters) AV-8B Harrier attack aircraft, F/A-18 Hornet fighter attack aircraft,


and EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft. Forward air controllers (airborne)


(FAC[A]) will provide airborne command and control. Information obtained by


remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) will be displayed on a remote receiving station


mounted in a UH-1N. Task Force Cunningham is to be employed in the defense


to handle any Iraqi armored attack. If the Iraqis cross the border, the task force


will attrite them as they move south, pushing them west, away from Jubayl


towards fire-sacks established by the division. General maneuver positions and


engagement areas are established. The plan calls for fixed-wing aircraft to


attack along the long axis of the Iraqi formation to disrupt and destroy, killing as


many as possible. As the Iraqi armor starts to deploy their formation, the attack


helicopters then will strike their flank.



Aviation can prove decisive by providing key information on the enemy. It gives us data


on the position of vital enemy assets that expedite targeting them for destruction. Air


reconnaissance lets us know what the enemy plans to do while leaving him blind about


our movements and intentions.


Aviation can delay or prevent intervention of the enemy's operational and tactical


reserves. We achieve these results through direct attack on the enemy units. We also


achieve these results through attack on enemy infrastructure (logistics capabilities and


lines of communication).




Aviation can provide firepower to augment the organic fire support of ground forces.


With suitable air support, a ground force will be lighter, more mobile, and more lethal.


This reduces internal and external transportation requirements.




Aviation can provide mobility to the ground forces through movement of troops,


equipment, and supplies. This often translates into increasing the time or distance the


MAGTF can operate before reaching its culminating point.




Aviation can deny the enemy the ability to mass or control his forces. By preventing the


enemy from massing, we can achieve local combat superiority with an overall small force.


We can then defeat the enemy in detail. The MAGTF commander uses aviation to create


a window of opportunity for decisive action.





While aviation can be decisive, it is a limited, exhaustible resource which requires time and


effort to replace. This holds true of men and material, both within the battlespace and on


the production line. Limited numbers exist of aircraft, aircrews, ground-based radars, air


control agencies, air control personnel, maintenance personnel, ordnance, fuel, and spare


parts. To prevent exhausting aviation assets needlessly, we use aviation to perform


actions that infantry, artillery, tanks, mortars, naval surface fire support, or trucks cannot





Commanders must use aviation on necessary actions to achieve a decision; this avoids missing a


window of opportunity for decisive action.



A level of activity exists which aviation can sustain virtually forever. When a


commander exceeds this sustained level of activity, he reduces the length of


time that aviation can maintain the heightened pace. Aviation will exhaust one of its resources or


outpace its replacements.




After a period of increased activity, aviation requires a recovery period. During this


recovery period, aviation will not even be able to deliver its normal sustained level of


activity. The longer the period of increased activity or the greater the increase in activity,


the longer the recovery required and the lower the "sustained" level will be during that


period. Commanders must not squander aviation on unnecessary actions which cannot


achieve a decision only to discover that they have missed a window of opportunity for


decisive action.





Operations STRANGLE and DIADEM provide ideal examples to illustrate the difference in effectiveness of aviation acting alone and as part of a combined arms operation. Operation STRANGLE is planned as an independent air operation to drive the Germans from central Italy. The air planners intend to make a ground offensive unnecessary. Operation DIADEM is a combined arms operation. Coordinated air and ground actions deny the Germans their critical requirement- - tactical mobility. A study of these tow operations provides important insight into the effective use of aviation.




By the middle of January 1944, after four months of bitter fighting, the Allied advance up the Italian peninsula grinds to a halt. The Germans have been conducting a skillful withdrawal, stopping the Allies in front of the formidable Gustav Line in central Italy. Three times the Allies try to break the German defenses. Three times they fail. By the middle of March 1944 a stalemate sets in. Six months of intensive combat exhaust both sides. Allied ground forces rest and regroup as they wait for reinforcements and better weather. The allies schedule the ground offensive to resume in May 1944.




As the Allied ground forces prepare for the upcoming assault against the entrenched German, Allied air officers have their change to prove that air power alone can win on the battlefield. Having achieved air superiority and free from providing air support for the Allied armies, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) officers concentrate on an independent air interdiction campaign-Operation STRANGLE.


Operation STRANGLE begins with the MAAF directive of 19 March 1944. The objective of this independent air campaign aims "To reduce the enemy's flow of supplies to a level which will make it impractical for him to maintain and operate his forces in central Italy."11


The German forces in Italy depend almost entirely on the Italian rail network to bring supplies to the south. The MAAF officers plan to "strangle" the Germans by severing their vulnerable supply line. The MAAF plans to wreck the rail network by placing an air interdiction belt across all of Italy north of Rome. The Allies cut every railroad and reduce rail capacity from 80,000 tons per day to 4,000 tons per day. The destruction by air power proves extensive, but despite the damage German front line troops do not fall short of supplies or prepare to withdraw.


Operation STRANGLE occurs while no major ground action takes place along the front. MAAF officers plan the operation without completely considering the ground situation. While the lull in the action frees all MAAF aircraft to conduct the independent air campaign, the Germans are not forced to use their supplies in combat against Allied ground forces. In fact, during the conduct of Operation STRANGLE, the Germans actually increase their supply stockpiles at the front line.


After nearly a month and a half, it becomes apparent to MAAF officers that the original objective appears unrealistic and overly optimistic. On 28 April 1944, with less than two weeks left before the beginning of the renewed Allied ground offensive, a new directive provides reorientation. The new directive contains careful words to redefine ".the objective of the air operations as being to make it impossible for the enemy to maintain his forces on their present line in Italy in the face of a combined Allied offensive. A change in emphasis will be noted here which reflects our growing recognition that we had been unduly optimistic in our original hopes for STRANGLE in the directive of 19 March."12 This change to the objective admits that air power alone cannot drive the Germans from Central Italy.




On 11 May 1944, the rested and reequipped Allied forces launch Operation DIADEM. The Allies commence the ground assault on the Gustav Line. MAAF air attacks shift from the air interdiction belt north of Rome to areas immediately behind the German lines. Three weeks after beginning their combined ground and air assault, the Allies drive 80 miles and link up with the forces stranded on the beaches at Anzio. The Allies then begin their drive to Rome. The commander of the XIV Panzer Corps, General von Senger, describes the effectiveness of aviation.


The enemy's mastery of the air space immediately behind the front under attack was a major source of worry to the defender, for it prevented all daylight movements, especially the bringing up of the reserves. We were accustomed to making all necessary movements by night, but in the event of a real breakthrough this was not good enough. This was what actually occurred in the May breakthrough. In a battle of movement a commander who can only make the tactically essential moves by night resemble a chess player who for three of his opponent's moves has the right to only one.13


The Germans require tactical mobility to defend the Gustav Line. During Operation DIADEM, aviation cripples the Germans' tactical mobility. With not tactical reserves near the front, the Germans are forced to shift forces from one threatened sector to another. Without tactical mobility, they cannot laterally move forces to strengthen weak areas or prevent penetrations form becoming breakthroughs. When the Germans finally release strategic reserves in northern Italy, air attacks savage them en route. These reserves fail to arrive in time and prove too decimated to affect the battle.


The combined use of Allied ground and air operations creates a vicious cycle for the Germans. If Allied ground operations force the Germans to rapidly reposition combat forces or supplies, they must travel on roads. When they travel they become vulnerable to Allied air attacks. Even if Allied air fails to destroy the German reinforcements and supplies, they usually arrive too late to be of use.




Aviation alone does not prove to be effective in central Italy. As a self-contained air operation, Operation STRANGLE fails because it does not accomplish its intended objective. Without the pressure of concurrent ground operations, the Germans do not have to use supplies or reposition forces. While Operation STRANGLE cannot deny the Germans critical supplies, aviation in Operation DIADEM does deny the Germans tactical mobility. When the Allied ground offensive forces the Germans to move, aviation produces a devastating effect. Without continuous and significant pressure from ground forces, aviation proves ineffective.


Time also plays a critical role in aviation's effectiveness. For Operation STRANGLE, MAAF planners neglect to ensure Allied air attacks become time-critical events linked to ground operations. The Germans have time to repair roads and bridges or reroute supplies. During Operation DIADEM, Allies ground and air operations force the Germans to react immediately. Air attacks make it impossible for the Germans to match the Allies' operational speed. By the time the Germans can react, the situation has changed.


When the MAAF air officers realize that air power alone cannot successfully achieve the objective, they change the objective. This change make Operation STRANGLE appear successful. The MAAF air officers fail to recognize that Operation STRANGLE owes its "success" to the timely resumption of the Allied ground offensive-Operation DIADEM. MAAF planners intend to make Operation DIADEM unnecessary; however, their plan fails. Ironically, the failure to recognize what makes the original Operation STRANGLE successful gives rise to another Operation STRANGLE, this time during the Korean conflict. Like the original , this Operation STRANGLE (actually two) focuses on destroying the rail system, forcing the enemy to retire northward to shorten his supply lines. Planners seek to conduct this operation possibly without the pressure of a United Nations ground offensive. The United Nations never launches a ground offensive, the Chinese and North Koreans never retreat conflict. Like the original, this Operation STRANGLE (actually two) focuses on destroying the rail system, forcing the enemy to retire northward to shorten his supply, and Operation STRANGLE is viewed as a failure.14





At the operational level, the MAGTF commander uses aviation to shape his batttlespace, to


accept-or refuse-combat on his own terms.


We fight war simultaneously at three strategic, operational, and tactical. Strategy is the art of


winning wars; tactics is the art of winning battles and engagements. The operational level links


tactical results to strategic aims. At the operational level, the MAGTF commander uses aviation to


create conditions for success. Aviation allows the MAGTF commander to shape his battlespace,


to accept--or refuse--combat on his own terms.




The strategic use of aviation falls beyond the scope of this book. The tactical use of


aviation is well understood by Marines and is covered indepth in current doctrine. The


operational level of war deals with the discipline of campaigning.15 At the operational


level, we focus aviation on achieving the decisive elements of the commander's


intent against targets and capabilities of operational significance.




The MAGTF commander must possess an operational outlook; he must think in a broader


dimension of time and space. He aims to elevate the effect of tactical success to a higher


level. He wants to achieve strategically meaningful results through tactics. The


operational level provides the framework for tactical actions. It defines the battlespace


and provides the assets to fight; it sets the goal. Without this framework, tactical battles


remain a series of disconnected and, unrelated actions. The operational level decides


when, where, and under what conditions to engage the enemy.




The operational use of aviation during the initial Normandy landing (Operation


OVERLORD) in World War II offers an example of this ability to decide. The


operational role of aviation seeks " ensure that the enemy forces attacking the


bridgehead did not increase at a more rapid rate than the Allied forces defending and


extending it."16 Allied aviation successfully delays the movement of German reserves that


can counter the Allied landing. Operationally, the German army remains paralyzed. Field


Marshal Erwin Rommel reports in his 10 June 1944 dispatch:




During the day, practically our entire traffic--on roads, tracks, and in open


country--is pinned down by powerful fighter-bomber and bomber


formations, with the result that the movement of our troops on the


battlefield is almost completely paralyzed, while the enemy can maneuver






Commanders must include aviation in campaign planning from the start. Aviation


personnel who think operationally and understand aviation's operational capabilities and


limitations must be part of the planning staff. Aviation's roles for each campaign differ.


No preset formula exists for using aviation. Aviation planners ensure that commanders


and staffs understand what aviation can contribute to achieve a decision.






The MAGTF commander can use aviation to provide a tactical victory or an operational decision.



Actions at one level of war do not remain confined to just that level. The results at one


level dictate the results at another. During planning and execution, we must consider


every action for its effects on other levels. While the natural flow of influence goes


from the top down, the flow works in reverse as well. Success at the operational


level can promote success at the tactical level. Success at the tactical level can foster


success at the operational level. Success at the tactical level proves meaningless without


coherent operational and strategic goals and plans. The Vietnam conflict illustrates this


point--we win at the tactical level, but no clear operational or strategic guidance ties the


tactical actions together. Aviation proves uniquely suited to effect and expand success


from one level to another. We realize that aviation provides the operational framework to


create conditions for tactical success. Aviation can also play a significant role in turning a


tactical success into an operational decision.




Marine aviation makes significant contributions to the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific


during World War II. Beginning in the Solomon Islands with Guadalcanal in 1942,


Marine aviation plays a major role in the destruction of the best elements of the Japanese


naval air forces, considered superior in quality to the Japanese army air forces. In


response to the threat to their major base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain, the


Japanese commit and lose all of their fully trained naval air units, including those that


survive Midway. They additionally commit and lose a portion of their best trained army


air units. The Japanese never fully recover from these losses, the results of which


influence all further campaigns.18 The onslaught against Rabaul by Allied aircraft, over


half of them flown by Marine aviation,19 prevents Japanese aircraft from prohibitively


interfering with American landings in the Solomons area, most notably at Cape


Glouchester. The continued pressure of Marine aviation against Rabaul eventually causes


the withdrawal of Japanese aircraft from the island fortress. The combined result of these


continuous tactical actions neutralizes Rabaul's offensive power, permiting the Allies to


execute an operational maneuver and bypass Rabaul, isolating around 100,000 Japanese.




The outcome of a single battle at the tactical level can determine the outcome at the


operational level. The German campaign in France during May 1940 provides an ideal


example of aviation helping a ground tactical victory achieve an operational decision.20


At the crossing of the Meuse River, the Luftwaffe helps Guderians's tactical victory of


crossing the river become the operational decision. The ability of aviation to mass


firepower quickly where the enemy proves weakest makes this decision possible. As at


the Meuse crossing, this often translates to close air support and air reconnaissance for the


ground forces making the breakthrough.




We can also use ground operations to guarantee aviation's success. During the 1973 Yom


Kippur War, Israeli General Sharon leads a ground attack against four Egyptian surface-


to-air missile sites along the Suez Canal (Operation GAZELLE, 17 October 1973). The


resulting gap in the surface-to-air missile screen allows the Israeli air force to destroy the


Egyptian surface-to-air missile belt and regain control of the air. Once the Israelis destroy


the Egyptian surface-to-air missiles, the Israeli air and ground forces quickly drive the


Egyptians from the Sinai.






Focus allows us to achieve a decision. Speed allows us to shift our focus rapidly.



Aviation adds dimension to two of the central concepts of maneuver warfare, focus and speed.


Focus remains central to the goal of warfare, achieving a decision. Speed permits us to set the


tactical and operational pace. The faster we operate, the less time the enemy has to react. Speed


allows the MAGTF to catch the enemy off guard. Speed proves essential, especially in


response to changes in the situation. The key is not actual speed but relative speed to


the enemy. We strive to operate faster than the enemy in time and space.




Speed allows aviation to shift its focus rapidly. Enemy critical vulnerabilities shift over


time, or new ones emerge. Aviation's ability to concentrate rapidly over large distances


allows the MAGTF to attack these vulnerabilities. Speed proves important because the


"window of opportunity" may be fleeting. Aviation can quickly shift its focus over large


distances. Aircraft from dispersed locations can come together in a single effort in a very


short time. They can travel hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes. Aviation can assist


ground forces shift their focus rapidly. A similar, unaided shift of ground forces could


take hours or days.




Aviation's ability to shift its focus rapidly is not only important tactically, but also


operationally. A shift of the operational focus often entails a move of several hundred


miles. This may mean days of repositioning for ground forces. Aviation can reposition in


hours or even minutes. This ability to shift focus rapidly can be operationally decisive


even without engaging in combat.




Again the German campaign in France during 1940 provides an excellent example. The


Germans stress the importance of the Allies not recognizing their main effort until it


proves too late. They also stress the use of overwhelming firepower when the main effort


smashes into the Allies. By using its ability to shift operational focus rapidly, the


Luftwaffe plays a pivotal part in solving this problem. At the start of the German


campaign, the Luftwaffe concentrates its support for Army Group A, coming through the


Netherlands and Belgium. This helps convince the Allies that Army Group A constitutes


the Germans' main effort. Once it becomes evident that the real main effort lies with


Army Group B, slashing through the Ardennes, the Luftwaffe swiftly shifts its support in


favor of Army Group B.



Aviation's ability to focus its effort over large distances may prove critically important in


the defense. If the enemy achieves a breakthrough, little time may exist to stop or delay


him except through use of aviation. Repositioning of ground forces to block the enemy


takes time. Aviation can provide that time by quickly massing firepower on the enemy to


delay, disrupt, or destroy him until ground forces seal the breach.








To achieve surprise in aviation operations, we use imagination, unpredictability, and


boldness. These qualities remain as important in the operational and tactical planning of


air operations as on individual missions. We must not reduce air operations to a formula


by repeating the same actions in predictable patterns. The air attacks on North Vietnam


occurring at the same time of day and on the same axis provide a clear example of


predictability. The subsequent loss in aircraft and pilots is high.




Air attacks against an alert, prepared opponent will likely accomplish little and prove too


costly to the attackers. The first attack most enemies expect comes from aviation.


Strategic surprise remains hard to achieve. History does show how imagination achieves


tactical surprise, reduces losses, and makes air attacks extremely effective.



The Japanese air attack on the U. S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941


illustrates a bold action. The attack aims at removing the only threat to Japanese


domination of the western Pacific Ocean. The Japanese attack achieves both strategic and


tactical surprise. The Japanese realize that surprise plays an essential role in the success of


the attack. Surprise proves essential to offset American naval superiority because of the


great strength of the U. S. fleet. Aviation provides the only force available to the Japanese


possessing the capability to carry out this attack. The fact that it takes the U. S, Navy


over two years to recover and regain its strength demonstrates the scope of the Japanese








Lethality provides the means-effectiveness provides the end.



Destruction is not an end in itself, but merely a means to a larger end--effectiveness. We


define effectiveness by results. We must not confuse lethality with effectiveness. Lethality only


assures that we can destroy a target. A direct relationship between lethality and effectiveness does


not exist. While bomb (battle) damage assessment measures lethality, it proves more difficult to


measure effectiveness. If aviation fails to kill a dug-in enemy (often the case), it is not lethal.


However, if aviation keeps the enemy under cover or prevents him from manning his weapons


systems while the ground force attacks, then aviation is effective. Aviation is not effective if the


time between the air and ground attacks is long enough to allow the enemy to recover.




During the Vietnam conflict, aviation fails to effectively stop the movement of supplies


from North Vietnam to South Vietnam. The tactical objective of Operation ROLLING


THUNDER aims to reduce the level of supplies reaching the enemy, causing his fighting


capability to suffer. At the height of their power in 1967, North Vietnamese forces only


require 100 tons of supplies a day to sustain military operations. This amounts to less than


50 truckloads. Although aviation destroys hundreds of truckloads a day, at least 50 truck


loads of supplies safely make it to the south.21 Lethality is high, but effectiveness is low.


The failure of air power in Vietnam does not lessen the lethality of aviation. It does warn


that aviation may not achieve its political and military goals even when lethal. Lethality


does not automatically equate to effectiveness.




The effectiveness of an air attack is fleeting in time and space. A basic difference exists


between air attacks and ground attacks. In ground operations, a successful attack causes


a penetration or results in a flanking of the enemy. We bypass or encircle him. Time


works against the enemy. He must break out or surrender. In contrast, time works for


the enemy under air attack. He protects his combat power during the air attack and waits


for the aircraft to leave. When they leave, the enemy resumes his activities.




Ways exist that aviation can extend the duration or effectiveness of the attack. They


include a continuous flow of aircraft into a target area or the use of cluster munitions,


mines, or delayed-fuze ordnance. Most importantly, we can counter aviation's time


disadvantage by integrating air and ground actions to apply combined arms effects on the


enemy. An air attack creates a temporary effect on the enemy; coordinated ground actions


exploit and increase this effect. Subsequent air attacks can pursue and devastate the


fleeing enemy. If we fail to integrate air and ground actions, little benefit results from


either action.





Chapter 3


Combat Operations


"On our drive to Manila, I depended solely on [Marine Aircraft Groups 24 and 32] to


protect my left flank against possible counterattack...I can say without reservation that


the Marine dive bombers are one of the most flexible outfits that I have seen in this war.


They will try anything once, and from my experience with them, I have found that


anything they try usually pans out in their favor. The Marine dive bombers of the First


Wing have kept the enemy on the run. They have kept him underground and have


enabled troops to move up with fewer casualties and greater speed I cannot say enough


in praise of these men of the dive bombers...for the job they have done in giving my men


close ground support in this operation.


--Major General Verne D. Mudge, USA




"Previously, Marine commanders in attacking an enemy have been limited to a two


dimension plane of action attack frontally or from the flank. The ability of the helicopter


has made possible a third dimension of action which will permit a commander to bypass


a position by going over it...Thus, the helicopter enables the attacker to choose the point


of contact to hit the defender where it will hurt him Most."2



-- Major Archie I Clapp, USMC




Aviation is offensive by nature. As part of naval expeditionary power projection, its


purpose is to carry the battle to the enemy. Offensive action allows us to seize and


retain the initiative. When we use aviation for defense, it does not put pressure on the


enemy. The Marine Corps clearly expresses this attitude over fifty years ago in Marine


Corps Aviation: General, 1940:




Combat aviation is designed, equipped, and trained for offensive


employment as a striking force against hostile air and surface targets. It is


purely an offensive weapon, regardless of whether the commander


employing it is operating his surface forces offensively of defensively.


Combat aviation has no passive defensive value.3


The MAGTF gains victory through the decisive offense; the MAGTF uses the defense to avoid


defeat and await opportunity for the offense.



The MAGTF achieves a decision--victory--through decisive offensive operations characterized by


integrated combined arms and maneuver warfare. The MAGTF


conducts defensive operations to avoid defeat, waiting for the opportune moment to seize


the initiative and go on the offense. Aviation supports MAGTF offensive and defensive


operations as the main effort, supporting effort, or reserve. Aviation can provide


firepower, mobility, surprise, and speed to create conditions for success in a movement to


contact or attack. It makes great use of the same characteristics during exploitation and


pursuit operations. Aviation can create a faster tempo of operations than the enemy,


allowing the MAGTF to attack or counterattack to exploit a vulnerability. With its range,


speed, and ability to mass firepower quickly at a chosen spot, aviation can provide a


significant counterstrike capability, protect the flank of a ground force, or function as the


reserve in the defense.



MAGTF aviation provides six functions- -


        Antiair warfare

        Offensive air support

        Assault support

        Air reconnaissance

        Electronic warfare

        Control of aircraft and missiles



MAGTF aviation provides more than just fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.


Ground-based air defense assets constitute another essential component. To unite


these individual parts into an effective combat arm, MAGTF aviation possesses


a flexible, adaptable, deployable, redundant, and survivable air command and control


system. This Marine air command and control system is completely integrated into the


MAGTF command and control system.




Two of the best concepts to use when considering the employment of military forces are


firepower and mobility. Proper application of firepower and mobility creates conditions


for success and allows us to exploit enemy vulnerabilities. They provide great capability


when used during exploitation and pursuit or when we commit the reserve. Firepower and


mobility are complementary. Firepower aids mobility by causing so much destruction or


chaos that the enemy remains helpless to block or oppose our movement. Aviation increases the firepower and mobility of the MAGTF. These capabilities do not reside solely with aviation, but aviation offers some unique capabilities within each. While we separate firepower and mobility for discussion, in combat they remain inseparable parts of a larger whole.




The greatest value of firepower lies not in physical destruction- -but in the mental chaos it


produces in the enemy.


Firepower damages or threatens to damage enemy personnel, facilities, and equipment. This damage (or its threat) sometimes fulfills the purpose of the mission: to destroy an enemy force or keep him from using a certain road, More often, firepower aids movement; an air attack destroys a bunker whose fires immobilize a ground force.


The naval expeditionary nature of the MAGTF means that it may not possess enough


heavy ground combat weapons. We select targets which when attacked will help yield a


decision. Our goal does not center on the unfocused application of firepower to


incrementally reduce the enemy's strength. The purpose of firepower focuses on allowing


friendly movement rather than bombarding the enemy into oblivion.4 Maneuver warfare


demands the focused use of firepower to fit our larger purpose. We use the selective


application of firepower to contribute to the enemy's shock and mental disruption; he


loses the will to fight and his moral courage evaporates. Aviation allows the MAGTF


commander to select and attack such targets at the operational level. Operation DESERT


STORM provides an excellent example of the integrated application of combined arms


and its ability to condition and shape the enemy mentally. In this example, actions at the


tactical level create conditions for success for actions at the operational level.







During the first six months of Operation Desert Shield, We [1st Marine Division]


spent a great deal of time studying how the Iraqis fight and looked extensively at


the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. We learned that the Iraqi artillery was very


effective in trapping Iranian soldiers time and time again in confined areas called


'fire-sacks' where thousands of Iranians perished. We knew there were over


1200 artillery pieces belonging to the Iraqi divisions facing the 1st Marine


Division. In our studies of the two obstacle belts in Kuwait and the positioning of


the Iraqi artillery, we concluded that the Iraqis were planning on trapping us in at


least two fire-sacks when we attacked. We also recognized that there wasn't


enough ordnance in the aviators inventory to 'destroy' all that artillery during the


first phase of Desert Storm. So we designed a series of ambushes (combined


arms raids) to 'defeat' the Iraqis before we even attacked into Kuwait.




Desert Storm kicked off on 17 Jan and the Iraqis began firing their artillery into


Saudi Arabia at Marine and Arab units. On 19 Jan, we ran our first raid. Our


scheme was to move an artillery battery close to the Kuwaiti border at night,


escorted by a Light Armored Infantry Company. We would station a Marine


EA6B Electronic Warfare aircraft inside Saudi Arabian airspace to jam the Iraqis


ground surveillance radars until after we had fired the entire artillery battery on


the target, using Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM).


Then, just as the artillery battery started its withdrawal phase of the raid, the


EA6B aircraft would stop jamming just long enough for the Iraqis to detect the


artillery battery's movement before "turning on the buzzer" again. Our intent was


to cause the Iraqi artillery to respond to our fires, which they did each and every


time, meaning that there were Iraqi soldiers on their guns. Once they would


begin firing, a Marine flying as an airborne Forward Air Controller (FAC) in a


Marine F/A 18 (which we call a FASTFAC) would detect their muzzle flashes and


then direct the 'wolfpack' of Marine F/A 18s and AV8Bs waiting in orbit to roll in


on the firing Iraqi artillery.


Our aim was to defeat the 'minds' of the Iraqi artillerymen --to convince them


that it just wasn't smart to man their artillery pieces because every time they did,


Marine aircraft came rolling in on them. We achieved this objective in the 3d


week of Feb. when Iraqi artillerymen were observed by the RPV [remotely


piloted vehicle] abandoning their howitzers as our aircraft began attacking their


positions after such a raid!




...We felt reasonable [reasonably] confident, based on the 'shaping of the


battlefield' done during our combined arms raids that if we could get Marine air


over the Iraqi artillerymen, they would abandon their guns! ...With the Iraqi


artillerymen discouraged, and in spite of the poor weather and lack of visibility,


we were able to proceed through both of the Iraqi obstacle belts more rapidly


than CENTCOM had imagined.5





Mobility creates superiority at the point of battle or allows avoidance of disadvantageous battle.



Mobility allows the MAGTF commander to focus firepower where it best can


achieve a decision. The MAGTF ties mobility to the use or threat of


firepower. Aviation provides the MAGTF tactical and operational mobility; that is, the


ability to move within an engagement or battle and to move between engagements or






While all the elements of the MAGTF possess organic mobility means, aviation allows the


MAGTF commander to rapidly reposition forces to any location in the battlespace.


Armed with this ability, we can conduct tactical and operational actions at a tempo faster


than the enemy. We use these relative tempo advantages to shift quickly from one action


to another. Aviation can also provide a tempo advantage to the MAGTF by stopping or


slowing enemy movement.




Aviation provides mobility directly and indirectly. It adds directly to the MAGTF's


mobility through the tactical and operational movement of combat forces and equipment.


In addition to the movement of these forces, it provides logistical support to reduce or end


reliance on surface lines of communication. This ability to move forces, equipment, and


supplies allows the MAGTF to maneuver freely in the battlespace.




Indirectly, aviation increases the MAGTF's tactical and operational mobility by providing


protection from enemy aviation, reconnaissance, and intelligence. If aviation prevents the


enemy from seeing us or knowing what we are doing, we gain relative speed. While


aviation provides high-speed movement of combat forces, it can reduce this need by


blinding the enemy.






Aviation crates conditions for success y shaping the battlespace.



Aviation creates conditions for success by forcing the enemy to react as we desire.


Aviation can force the enemy to move against his will and prevent his massing of forces and


equipment. It can impede or prevent him from moving when he must. Aviation can delay the arrival


of enemy forces, compel him to commit them piecemeal, and deny him the supplies he needs to be


effective on the battlefield. The MAGTF commander uses aviation to help him shape the


battlespace and to seize the initiative from the enemy. FMFM 1-1, Campaigning, states--




...the MAGTF commander can use ... his organic aviation to see and shape


the course of the campaign in time and space well in advance of the close


combat of ground forces. This...applies not only to the direct application


of aviation combat power, but also to the range it provides ground forces


as well. Such activities include attempting to ascertain the enemy's


operational intentions; delaying enemy reinforcements by interdiction;

degrading critical enemy functions or capabilities such as command and


control, offensive air support, or logistics; and manipulating the enemy's






To create conditions for success, the MAGTF must be able to operate freely within the


battlespace, both in the air and on the ground. While not always possible immediately, the


MAGTF must gain control of the air--air superiority--as soon as possible. Control of the


air remains a priority for the entire MAGTF--not just the ACE. Air superiority allows the


MAGTF the freedom of action it requires to conduct operations. It denies the enemy


freedom of action. Besides enabling us to see and attack the enemy, control of the air


prevents the enemy from attacking us while leaving him both blind and largely unable to


move or communicate. Air superiority is not simply "air-to-air combat." It includes the


neutralization or destruction of enemy air defenses, airfields, and aviation command and


control facilities. The air operations phase (17 January to 23 February 1991) of Operation


DESERT STORM illustrates the devastating effectiveness of air superiority vividly. At


no time during the ensuing ground operations (24 to 27 February 1991) did the Iraqis


possess the air capability or will to prohibitively interfere with our actions.




Aviation influences the way the enemy fights on the operational and tactical level. In the


World War 11 island hopping campaign, aviation forces the Japanese to man literally


hundreds of outposts. Aviation's ability to attack anywhere compels the Japanese to


spread their combat forces to defend everywhere. Thinly spread, the Japanese prove


unable to mass forces to withstand the combined might of United States air, land, and sea


forces. The tactical operation and victory that the aircraft carriers and aviators under Rear


Admirals Fletcher and Spruance achieve at Midway in June 1942 decisively blunts the


Japanese naval offensive of Admiral Yamamoto and Vice Admiral Nagumo. In August


1942, the 1st Marine Division, commanded by Major General Vandegrift, lands on


Guadalcanal. The island is secured by February 1943, after a hard fight involving crucial


support by Marine aviation, directed by Brigadier Generals Geiger and Woods. The


results of these two tactical operations together produce far reaching operational


consequences. They place the Japanese on the defensive for the remainder of the war,


perhaps signalling the turning point in the Pacific theater.




With the European landings in Italy and France, the Germans feel the full impact of


aviation at the tactical level. Allied aviation denies the Germans free movement by day,


disrupts timetables, and disorganizes units. The Germans depend on tactical mobility for


success. The loss of tactical mobility prevents them from rapidly repositioning forces,


committing reserves, or arriving at the battlefield in unit strength.







Aviation can directly attack an enemy vulnerability or create vulnerability.



Aviation creates conditions for success by pitting our strength against enemy weakness. To be


effective, we destroy that which is most important to the enemy. This weakness--or critical


vulnerability--is not a permanent feature. It presents a window of opportunity that will eventually


close. A critical vulnerability must be both vulnerable and critical. We seek the enemy's critical


vulnerabilities, then focus all our combat power to strike them.




We attack enemy critical vulnerabilities to achieve a decision. Rarely can we achieve a


decision as a result of our initial actions. Our initial actions create unforeseen, fleeting


opportunities which we must quickly seize to exploit. These opportunities may be the


result of our actions, enemy mistakes, or even chance. By exploiting opportunities, we


create more opportunities for exploitation. We achieve a decision through our willingness


to ruthlessly exploit these opportunities.7




Aviation allows us to shift our focus swiftly to avoid enemy strengths and attack his new


weaknesses. As the campaign or battle unfolds, vulnerabilities shift. The enemy covers


some vulnerabilities while new ones develop. Aviation can attack existing enemy


weaknesses or uncover new vulnerabilities which it or other MAGTF forces can exploit.








Aviation allows the MAGTF to turn a successful attack into exploitation and pursuit.


Exploitation extends the destruction of the enemy by maintaining continuous offensive


pressure, The purpose of exploitation lies in destroying the enemy's cohesion. As enemy


cohesion breaks down, the exploitation may develop into a pursuit. The pursuit seeks to


annihilate the enemy force. The difference between exploitation and pursuit rests with the


condition of the enemy. The opportunity to conduct a pursuit is often fleeting and must be


seized quickly by the commander.




An effective pursuit requires the entire MAGTF. While aviation may be responsible for


the physical destruction during the pursuit, the results characterize the use of maneuver


warfare and combined arms. In a classic demonstration of maneuver warfare, the


commander's intent aims to "...render the enemy incapable of resisting by shattering his


moral and physical cohesion--his ability to fight as an effective, coordinated whole."8


Without the pressure of ground operations to force the enemy to flee, the enemy will not


be driven into the waiting arms of aviation.







Aviation reserves can shift support quickly to reinforce success and permit decisive maneuver.


The MAGTF organizes a reserve not to prevent defeat but to reinforce success.


A reserve provides the commander the flexibility to rapidly conduct decisive


maneuver. Aviation reserves allow the MAGTF commander to shift air support rapidly


from one area to another. The aviation reserve may be airborne (loitering) or on the


ground. We can use aviation reserves in offensive or defensive operations.




The concept of an aviation reserve does not clash with the principle of concentration. The


use of Marine aviation as a mobile reserve appears as early as 1940.9 While we want to


attack the enemy with the strongest force, the fog of war comes into play. When no initial


opportunity exists for aviation to achieve a decision, the MAGTF commander may


organize an aviation reserve. We cannot possess perfect knowledge of the enemy, his


intentions or disposition. The commander attempts to make contact with the enemy with


the smallest possible force. He uses this force to develop the situation, determine the


critical enemy vulnerability, and then strike with the bulk of his combat power--his






Aviation reserves allow us to exploit an enemy weakness discovered during combat.


Additionally, aviation reserves can increase the enemy's uncertainty with the introduction


of new forces. Aviation reserves, like any reserve, require commitment in total and at the


same time. Avoid piecemeal employment of reserves. Because aviation assets remain a


limited asset, normally employ them as an operational reserve.




The use of aviation reserves claims historical precedence. Both the Soviets (offensively)


and the British (defensively) make use of aviation reserves in World War II. As early as


1941, the Soviets assemble large aviation reserves to provide operational flexibility.10


They use these aviation reserves to increase air support for threatened fronts. In the


summer of 1941, reserve aviation groups form to reinforce critical sectors. This leads to


the formation a year later of reserve aviation corps to support air armies.



The British use an aviation reserve during the Battle of Britain.11 As the battle begins, the


Luftwaffe enjoys a 2 to I aircraft advantage over the Royal Air Force. Air Marshal


Dowding keeps a third of his forces in safe areas as a reserve. His two subordinate


commanders maintain their own tactical reserves. Even during Britain's darkest hour, the


British maintain an aviation reserve. When on 15 September 1940 the Germans launch


what they believe to be their decisive blow, the British commit all their air reserves. The


Luftwaffe suffers such heavy losses that they never again challenge the Royal Air Force in


the skies over England. The British use of air reserves wins the Battle of Britain and


permanently postpones Operation SEALION.




Chapter 4



Military Operations Other Than War




"We are now concerned with the peace of the entire world and the peace can only be


maintained by the strong."1




--General George C. Marshall, USA


"We are not the World's policeman, but guess where the people look when they need a






--General Colin L. Powell, USA



Military operations other than war prevent war, promote peace, and support civil authorities.



In the future, as in the past, Marines will be frequently called to take part in actions


short of war. Military operations other than war do not directly relate to combat or hostile actions


by any party. Military operations other than war fall into two categories: deter war and resolve


conflict and promote peace.3




Military operations that deter war and resolve conflict include--




        Peace enforcement.




        Support to counterinsurgency.


        Noncombatant evacuation.


        Show of force.








Military operations other than war that promote peace include--






        Noncombatant evacuation.


        Nation assistance.


        Humanitarian assistance.




        Disaster relief.


        Civil support.



We conduct peacetime military operations in support of vital national interest.


Operations other than war equate to peacetime military operations. We


conduct peacetime military operations for the same reason we enter combat--in


support of vital national interests. Many of the same combat tenets, principles, tactics, and


procedures apply to peacetime military operations.4 As Marines, we must be ready to


conduct peacetime military operations while remaining primarily organized, trained, and


equipped for combat.




The traits we prize and encourage in combat are essential for peacetime military


operations-boldness, initiative, and flexibility. Peacetime military operations are governed


by many of the same considerations as combat. While no difference exists in most aspects,


a few areas require increased emphasis. The rules of engagement during peacetime


military operations employ more restrictive and politically sensitive conditions than in


combat operations. This requires restraint and the careful application of military force.


The presence of military forces may provoke military, civil, and terrorist reactions. We


must take appropriate security measures to protect the force and prevent disruption of the


mission. Units must retain the ability to rapidly transition from a peacetime to a combat






Peacetime military operations may account for a significant part of Marine actions. More


peacekeeping operations have occurred between 1988 and 1993 than in the previous forty


year history of the United Nations.5 The Marine Corps contributes significantly to these


terminated and ongoing operations. Involvement includes peacekeeping and humanitarian


assistance in Bosnia; humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Bangladesh; humanitarian


assistance, peacemaking, and peacekeeping in Somalia; and disaster relief in Florida.




Forward deployed Marine expeditionary units may be tasked to carry out operations other


than war. Other operations may require the deployment of larger MAGTFs. In either


case, the ACE of the MAGTF will provide significant capability.6 The CH-46E Sea


Knight can carry twenty combat Marines on a helicopterborne assault or twenty


noncombatant civilians during an evacuation. The KC-130 Hercules can move 35,000


pounds of combat supplies to support ground combat operations or 35,000 pounds of life-


sustaining food for humanitarian assistance. The F/A-18 Hornet can carry air-to-air ordnance


to gain air superiority or air-to-ground ordnance to conduct peacekeeping. The


direct air support center can control aircraft dropping bombs for the division or coordinate


aircraft bringing in sandbags to a flood ravaged region.







Humanitarian assistance saves lives or prevents great damage to or loss of life.



Humanitarian assistance relieves or reduces the effects of natural or


manmade disasters that present a serious threat to life or loss of property. This assistance involves a


friendly population victimized by the destruction of part of its support infrastructure. Humanitarian


assistance includes disaster relief, rudimentary construction, water and sanitary assistance, and


resettlement of displaced civilians.








In August 1992, United States military forces begin airlifting food and relief


supplies into Somalia as part of Operation PROVIDE RELIEF. This action is


plagued by the uncertainty and instability of the Somali political situation. Civil


unrest and armed gangs interfere with the safe operations of these flights. The


distribution of relief supplies is subject to robbery and outright obstruction by the


local "warlords."




To safeguard relief workers and supplies requires military forces. In December


1992, a joint task force commanded by Lieutenant General Johnston, USMC,


arrives off Somalia. Operation RESTORE HOPE thus begins. Operating under


United Nations authority (UNOSOM 1), Marines and special operations forces


secure the port and airfield in the capital city of Mogadishu. Maritime


prepositioning ships provide essential initial support. Over the next three


months, the task force moves throughout Somalia, establishing and securing


relief centers and escorting supply convoys. The spread of weapons throughout


the country during the civil war is a major concern. This requires identifying and


disarming individuals and groups that pose a threat to military forces and relief






The task force, together with the State Department, establish an environment


that allows humanitarian operations to proceed. Relief workers return and


distribute food and other relief supplies. Operations are turned over to a United


Nations force (UNOSOM II) in May 1993.




In March 1995, a combined joint task force led by Lieutenant General Zinni,


USMC executes Operation UNITED SHIELD. It covers the withdrawal of all


United Nations peacekeeping troops from Somalia.




Disaster relief provides emergency assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters.


These operations depend heavily upon the sustainment capability of MAGTF aviation.


Because of this critical requirement, aviation may be the first element the MAGTF






On the night of 29 April 1991, Bangladesh is struck by a cyclone named Marian. It kills


over 130,000 people and more than one million cattle. The country's entire infrastructure


along the Bay of Bengal is destroyed. The disaster is beyond the capabilities of the


country and nongovernmental organizations. On 10 May, the U.S. Ambassador formally


requests military assistance. On 11 May, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issues


the execute order to U.S. Pacific Command to provide assistance.




Within 24 hours, General Stackpole and a small team had reached the


scene--the leading element of a joint task force that would touch the lives


of 1.7 million survivors during a five-week operation. To the people of


Bangladesh, they were angels of mercy, coming from the sea. The


operation's code name was a perfect fit: Sea Angel.7




On 15 May 1991, the joint task force headquarters is augmented by an amphibious task


force returning from Operation DESERT STORM. Helicopters and air cushion landing


craft prove instrumental in the transportation of supplies to the survivors








At 0500 on 24 August 1992, Hurricane Andrew strikes south Florida,


extensive destruction. The Governor of Florida requests federal assistance. In


response to this request, Joint Task Force Andrew is formed to commence


humanitarian operations. Composed of elements of all Services and both active


and reserve military forces, Joint Task Force Andrew begins operations on 28


August 1992.




Joint Task Force Andrew provides field feeding sites, storage and distribution


warehouses, local and line haul transfer, and other logistical support to the


people of south Florida, Success is defined as getting life support systems in

place and relieving immediate hardships until civilian federal, state, and local


agencies can reestablish normal operations.




Operations are conducted in three phases. Phase I provides immediate life


support systems: food, water, shelter, medical supplies and services, sanitation,


and transportation. Phase II--the recovery phase--continues to provide Phase I


services while helping civil authorities reestablish public services. The task


force coordinates with many government and private agencies. Finally, a


reconstruction phase continues to reestablish services while the task force






The scope of humanitarian assistance is limited. These operations are normally initiated in


response to requests for immediate help and rehabilitation from a domestic or foreign


government or an international agency. Military assistance supplements or complements


the efforts of the host-nation civil authorities or international agencies that possess the


primary responsibility for providing humanitarian assistance.







Peacekeeping maintains peace with the approval of all major belligerents.



Peacekeeping operations support diplomatic efforts to maintain peace in areas of


potential conflict. We conduct peacekeeping operations with the approval of all major belligerent


parties. These operations monitor and maintain an existing truce during diplomatic efforts to reach


a comprehensive peace settlement. Peacekeeping operations require the peacekeepers to


deal with tense and dangerous situations without becoming a participant.




Peacekeeping differs from peace enforcement. Peace enforcement uses military force to


create peace between warring factions. Peace enforcement occurs without a prior


agreement or commitment by the combatants.








Peacetime military operations may occur simultaneously with combat operations. While


our intent remains peaceful, combat is always a possibility. A humanitarian assistance


operation may flare into an armed confrontation. Providing food and water to displaced


civilians may also require establishing and maintaining security for the relief supplies, the


civilians, and the military force itself. Our recent incursions in Haiti and Somalia offer


clear examples. Our past operations in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua in


the early to mid twentieth century reinforce this possibility.




It may prove difficult to identify or discriminate between friend or foe. The need to


provide peacetime assistance must be balanced with the security of the MAGTF and the


people being helped. MAGTF aviation can play a vital role to create conditions for


success during operations other than war.








"Aviation is still so much an infant that only those who possess that brand of imagination


commonly generated by a pipe and a pill are competent to prophesy its final






--Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC




"You mayfly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it


clean of life--but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you


must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men


into the mud."2




--T.R. Fehrenbach



Marine aviation makes the Marine Corps unique. To understand Marine aviation,


we must understand maneuver warfare, combined arms, and the MAGTF. The


fundamental difference between Marine aviation and other aviation forces is


that Marine aviation is part of a combined arms organization--the MAGTF. MAGTF


aviation never operates independently--it remains an integral part of the MAGTF. The


starting point for the successful use of Marine aviation lies in our history, a history forged


in combat.




To secure the full measure of cooperation between the air and ground


forces, it is necessary that each understands the problems of the other. The


aviator must know something of the tactics of the ground patrol, and he


must be ready and willing to go assume any justified risk to assist the


ground commander. On the other hand, the ground commander should


understand the hazards and limitations imposed on aviation operating over


difficult terrain, and should not expect the impossible.3




The MAGTF commander uses aviation "to materially shorten each campaign."4 To


achieve this goal, we must understand the tactical and operational use of aviation. We


must fully grasp the impact that aviation actions at one level will produce at another. To


successfully employ aviation tactically and operationally, we must fully integrate it into all


aspects of MAGTF planning and execution. Separate air and ground operations yield


disparate effects on the enemy. The MAGTF commander combines his air and ground


combat power into one operation, projecting overwhelming firepower at the point of






Aviation has been used in every type of combat operation, from small scale insurgencies in


the Caribbean to global conflict in World War II. In many cases, aviation produces a


major effect in battles and campaigns.




Without Luftwaffe support, it is unlikely General Guderian crosses the Meuse River in


1940--the decisive act of the German campaign in France. U.S. Navy carrier-based


aviation turns the tide against the Japanese navy at Coral Sea and Midway. Marine


aviation plays a pivotal role in the battle for Guadalcanal and is decisive in the isolation


and neutralization of Rabaul, opening the door for an operational maneuver to bypass the


island fortress.. When Operation STRANGLE fails to force the Germans from Italy, the


Allies launch Operation DIADEM, where aviation proves pivotal. Without


control of the air, United Nations forces will be pushed off the Korean peninsula in


midsummer 1950. In Operation DESERT STORM, aviation sets the stage for the


decisive act of the campaign--the ground offensive. While aviation is crucial to our victory


against Iraq, "Air power alone could not have brought the war to so sharp and decisive a






No formula exists for the proper employment of aviation. We must understand its


capabilities and limitations when used as a maneuver force, the main effort, supporting


effort, or reserve. To effectively use aviation, we must use it as part of the MAGTF


combined-arms team. Aviation can pin down the enemy while ground forces attack.


Aviation can decimate the enemy that ground forces have cornered. Aviation can strike


where the enemy is not prepared.




In the end, air operations prove effective only when integrated with ground operations.


Aviation cannot substitute for strong, aggressive ground operations. Aviation does not


provide a cure that can independently achieve results. When aggressive ground operations


exploit the results of air operations, decisive and lasting effects can be won. Aviation and


ground maneuver are complementary.




While aviation alone cannot achieve an independent victory, when we integrate it with


other combat forces, aviation can be the dominant force within the battlespace. We use


aviation where it will achieve a decision--in a battle or a campaign. The MAGTF


commander uses aviation to increase the combat power of the MAGTF. The firepower


and mobility of aviation allow the MAGTF to remain light and mobile--naval


expeditionary in nature--yet powerful enough to accomplish its mission.




Marine aviation functions as an integral element of the MAGTF. The use of each element


requires cooperation of all the others. Only when we employ the MAGTF as a whole can


we fight and win. This basic concept--the very purpose of Marine aviation--is the


framework that guides the employment of Marine aviation.




Perhaps Major General James M. Myatt, USMC, best sums it up--




Marine Aviation's mission is to support the rest of the Marine Air-Ground


Task Force. Sometimes Marine Air can be a maneuver element on its own,


with a 'mission-type' order assigned to "...prevent the Iraqis from attacking


down the coast road" as was done in Operation Desert Shield. Most often its


mission is to support the Division as was done in Desert Storm. Close Air


Support is only one of the functions of Marine Aviation. As you read my


response, I hope you have gained an appreciation for the type of coordination


and close cooperation that exists in the Marine Air-Ground team.




One night during one of the combined arms raids, I heard over our radios the


voice of the F/A 18D FASTFAC pilot telling the 'wolfpack' pilots: "...hurry


up! They are attacking our Marines..." as he watched muzzle flashes of the


Iraqi artillery firing at our ground raid force. That was one of the most


poignant moments of my life. I never take this Air-Ground team for granted.


Such teamwork doesn't just happen-and it can't be legislated by Congress or


created by some instruction. Nor can it really be explained why it's like it is.


But, the result is a marvelous marriage, more powerful than the sum of the


parts, where a Marine's most sought after privilege is to be able to fight for


another Marine.6








1 Gen Carl E. Mundy, Jr., USMC, "Reflections on the Corps...Marine Tactical

Aviation," Marine Corps Gazette (May 1992), 15.


2 Henri Jomini, The Art of War (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1971), x.


Aviation and the Marine Corps


1 Attributed to ADM Arthur Radford by Robert Debs Heinl, Jr., Dictionary of

Military and Naval Quotations (Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute, 1985), 6.


2 GEN Omar N. Bradley, USA, and others, Effect of Air Power on Military

Operations: Western Europe (Wiesbaden, Germany: Twelth Army Group, 15 July 1945),



3 Peter B. Mersky, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation: 1912 to the Present (Baltimore,

MD: Nautical & Aviation Publishing Co. of America, 1987), 2.


4 Mersky, 4. On 5 January 1914, a group of Marine aviators and enlisted

mechanics, with their equipment, embarked aboard Navy transport Hancock and sailed for

Puerto Rico to join the Advance Base Brigade in the annual Atlantic Fleet exercises. It

was the first time an all-Marine aviation force operated as a special part of Marine ground



5 Mersky, 11. On 14 October 1918, Marines of Squadron 9, 1st Marine Aviation

Force flew a mission against the German-held railyards in Belgium. The flight of five DH

4 and three DH-9A bombers, led by Capt R. S. Lytle, conducted the first mission to be

flown by Marines on their own in World War I. The strike was essentially a deep air

support or air interdiction mission.


6 Lt Col Edward C. Johnson, USMC, Marine Corps Aviation: The Early Years

1912-1940 (Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps, 1977), 53. Aircraft took part in

bombing and strafing attacks on bandits, but because of the limited armament and

maneuverability of the planes and the lack of rapid, reliable air-ground communications,

aviation was not a decisive anti-bandit weapon. Aviation did enhance the mobility of

forces operating in largely roadless terrain. In Haiti in 1919, Lt Lawton H. M. Sanderson

of E Squadron (formerly 4th Squadron) began practicing a bombing technique whereupon

he entered a 45 degree dive, releasing the bomb at 250 feet. His squadron mates soon

took up the practice, as did Marines at Quantico in 1920. Also see Robert Sherrod,

History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (Baltimore, MD: Nautical & Aviation

Publishing Co. of America, 1987), 23.





7 For detailed information on Marine aviation activities in Nicaragua, see Maj Gen

John P. Condon, USMC (Ret.), U.S. Marine Corps Aviation (Washington, DC:

Department of the Navy, 1987); Johnson, Marine Corps Aviation: The Early Years 1912-1940;

Mersky, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation: 1912 to the Present; and Sherrod, History of

Marine Corps Aviation in World War II.


8 Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (Baltimore,

MD: Nautical & Aviation Publishing Co. of America, 1987), 25. Major Rowell trained all

of his pilots in dive bombing. Rowell first noticed Army pilots practicing the technique at

Kelly Field, TX in 1923. The Army pilots credited its invention to the British in World

War I. The Marines were the first to adopt it as a standard operating procedure.


9 William S. Lind, Maneuver Warfare Handbook (Boulder and London: Westview

Press, 1985), 20. Lind discusses the difference between combined arms and supporting

arms in detail. Of supporting arms he says, "In contrast, supporting arms is hitting the

enemy with two or more arms in sequence, or if simultaneously, then in such combination

that the actions the enemy must take to defend himself from one also defends him from the

other(s)." He further states, "Combined arms, like other elements of maneuver warfare,

seeks to strike at the enemy psychologically as well as physically. It puts him on the horns

of a dilemma..Supporting arms, in contrast, just faces the enemy with a problem."

Additionally, Lt Col Price T. Bingham, USAF, discusses the integration of air and ground

(combined arms) in an article entitled "Ground Maneuver and Air Interdiction in the

Operational Art," that appeared in the March 1989 edition of Parameters.


10 Title 10 Armed Forces, USC, 1988 ed., Volume III (Washington, DC: GPO,

1989), 913. This information is also included in Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 1-2,

The Role of the Marine Corps in the National Defense (Washington, DC: U. S. Marine

Corps, 21 June 1991), 3-6. Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP) 12-26,

Marine Corps Aviation: General, 1940 (Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, 11 June

1990), a reprint of an original 1940 manual, alludes to the use of aviation as a combined

arm. On pp. 48-49, FMFRP 12-26 discusses the use of aviation in the absence of artillery

or against such targets that are either out of range or unsuitable for engagement by ground

weapons. On p. 51, the combination of weapons (including aviation) is discussed.


11 Johnson, 56.






12 Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP) 2-12, Marine Air-Ground

Task Force: A Global Capability (Quantico, VA: U. S. Marine Corps, 10 April 199 1),

16. Joint Pub 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and, Associated

Terms (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 23 March 1994), 228 contains the

definition of a MAGTF. See figure below for the elements of a MAGTF.


Click here to view image



13 Mersky, 24-25. On 9 July 1935, Headquarters Marine Corps approved the

Tentative Manual for Landing Operations, which included Chapter VI, "Aviation." In

January 1939, the General Board of the Navy restated Marine aviation's mission to

support the Fleet Marine Force.


14 Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 1-1, Campaigning (Washington, DC: U.S.

Marine Corps, 25 January 1990), 28. Additional reference to the Marine expeditionary

force as a warfighter, focused at the operational level, are contained in the Marine Corps

Long-Range Plan (MLRP) (Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps, July 1989) and the

MAGTF Master Plan (MMP) (Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps, July 1993).

Additional discussion of this concept is contained in "Who Fights the MAGTF?," a June

1992 article in Marine Corps Gazette by Marine Majors Curtis A. Munson and Dwight



15 Marine Corps Long-Range Plan (MLRP) (Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps,

July 1989), 4-6. For information on earlier missions of Marine aviation, see FMFRP 12-26,

particularly p. 3. FMFM 5-1, Organization and Function of Marine, Aviation

(Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, 16 October 1991), 1-2 and 2-1 reflect the concept of

the ACE supporting the MAGTF., FMFM 6 (Final Draft), Ground Combat Operations

(Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, December 1994), 1-2, includes the statement, "The

ACE is a combat arm of the MAGTF, not a supporting arm of the GCE." The Marine

Corps officially adopted maneuver warfare in March 1989, with the approval of FMFM 1,



16 Joint Pub 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of

Staff, 9 September 1993), IV-12.






17 The Honorable Mi. Sean O'Keefe, Secretary of the Navy; ADM Frank B. Kelso,

USN; and Gen Carl E. Mundy, Jr., USMC; Navy and Marine Corps White Paper, "...From

the Sea" (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, September 1992), 7. These

operational capabilities are also discussed in, Naval Doctrine Publication (NDP) 1, Naval

Warfare (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, 28 March 1994), 61-70; and FMFM

5-60, Control of Aircraft and Missiles (Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, 22 June

1993), 2-15. The Marine Corps was the first to define these terms, in FMFM 5-60

initially, followed by FMFRP 0-14, Marine Corps Supplement to the DOD Dictionary of

Military and Associated Terms (Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, 27 January 1994).


18 For an additional discussion of organizational concepts and supported/supporting

relationships, see Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF) (Washington,

DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 11 August 1994); Joint Pub 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations;

and GEN Colin L. Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CM-1502-92, 23

November 1992, A Doctrinal Statement of Selected Joint Operational Concepts.


Aviation and Maneuver Warfare



1 B. H. Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk (New York: William Morrow and

Co, 1948), 16.


2 B. H. Liddell Hart, Thoughts of War (London: Faber and Faber, 1944), xiv.


3 FMFM 1, Warfighting, 58.


4 FMFM 1, Warfighting, focuses on these same concepts. Martin van Creveld

identifies six elements of maneuver warfare in Chapter 1 of Air Power and Maneuver

Warfare: tempo, Schwerpunkt (main effort), surprise, combined arms, flexibility, and

decentralized command.


5 See Marine Corps Long-Range Plan (MLRP) 4-6; MAGTF Master Plan (MMP)

(Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps, July 1991), A-2-6; and MAGTF Master Plan

(MMP) (Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps,, July 1993), 4-5. The ACE as a

maneuver force is also mentioned in FMFM 5-50, Antiair Warfare (Quantico, VA: U.S.

Marine Corps, 22 June 1994), 4-5 and FMFM 5-60, Control of Aircraft and Missiles

(Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, 22 June 1993), 1-1. Martin van Creveld's book, Air

Power and Maneuver Warfare, elaborates on new "vistas" offered by aviation and

maneuver warfare on p. 206: "In terms of combined arms symbiosis, ground forces

compel enemy forces into reactive movements. As a result, it is not necessary for friendly

air to achieve many kills; all it must do is to slow down the enemy's tempo of operations

(by attrition, disruption, and prevention of timely movements and junctures of units) so

that friendly ground forces can pin, envelop, and breakup opposing forces."








Discussions of the ACE as a maneuver element appear in numerous Marine Corps Gazette

articles. They include: "The Art of MAGTF Warfare," by Maj R. Scott Moore, USMC,

April 1989; "Maneuver Warfare: Can the ACE Adopt This Philosophy of War?," by

Marine Majors Gordon C. O'Neill and Daniel A. Driscoll, Jr., May 1991; "The ACE is not

a Maneuver Element-Yet," by Maj William H. Dixon, Jr., USMC, February 1992; and

"Air as a Maneuver Element: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?," by Maj Thomas X.

Hammes, USMC, February 1992.


6 FMFM 1, Warfighting, 71.


7 See FMFM 5-50, Antiair Warfare (Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, 22 June

1994), 4-5, FMFM 5-60, Control of Aircraft and Missiles (Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine

Corps, 22 June 1993), 2-15; and FMFM 5-70 (Final Draft), MAGTF Aviation Planning

(Quantico, VA: U.S. Marine Corps, June 1994), 1-1.


8 Guilio Douhet, The Command of the Air, trans. Dino Ferrari, reprinted by the

Office of Air Force History (Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1983), 70.


9 Martin van Creveld, Air Power and Maneuver Warfare (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air

University Press, July 1994), 39 and 206. Van Creveld outlines the ability of aviation to

" strike deep into the rear of an enemy counterattack to protect a long, exposed flank." He

cites as an example the use of the Luftwaffe to blunt a Polish counterattack in Poland in

1939. The task fell to the Luftwaffe because German armored forces were too faraway to

help. He further elaborates by stating that maneuver gives aviation two unique missions:

"(1) to protect the Ranks of thrust-line forces from blinding counterstrokes and (2) to

protect against wide circling envelopments from remote routes." He states that ground

forces could perform this missions by "positioning forces everywhere, but the resource

cost would be considerable. Only air power can screen and bring concentrated firepower

rapidly and accurately to bear."


10 Col Michael M. Kurth, USMC, Executive Officer, Marine Corps Air Station,

Tustin, CA, telephone interview by author, 17 March 1995. Then Lt Col Kurth was the

Commanding Officer of HMLA 369 during the Persian Gulf War, receiving the Navy

Cross for his actions. Maj Scott P. Haney, USMC, a Cobra helicopter pilot during the

war, provided additional information concerning Task Force Cunningham in a personal

interview on 13 March 1995.


11 Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cates, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II,

Volume Three, Europe: Argument to VE Day January 1944 to May 1945 (Chicago:

Univ. of Chicago Press, 1949), 373.




12 Sir John Slessor, The Central Blue: Recollections and Reflections (London:

Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1956), 597.


13 Frido Von Senger und Etterlin, Neither Fear Nor Hope (New York: E. P. Dutton,

1964), 224; cited by F. M. Sallagar, Operation "STRANGLE" (Italy, Spring): A Case

Study of Tactical Air Interdiction (Santa Monica, CA: Rand, February 1972), 66.


14 Robert L. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950-1953 (New York:

Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1961), 435. Ten months after Operation STRANGLE began,

the new Supreme Commander in Korea, GEN Matthew B. Ridgway, USA, thought the

enemy had "a substantially greater potential than at any time in the past." The

Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, stated that Operation

STRANGLE was "recognized as a fizzle."


15 See FMFM 1-1, Campaigning; and Joint Pub 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations

for an in-depth discussion of campaigning.


16 E. J. Kingston McCloughry, The Direction of War (New York: Praeger, 1955),

85; cited by William W. Momyer, Air Power in Three Wars (Washington, DC: GPO,

1979), 165.


17 B. H. Liddell Hart, ed., The Rommel Papers (New York: Harcourt and Brace,

1953), 476-477.


18 Sherrod, 132-133.


19 FMFRP 12-34-II, History of the US. Marine Corps Operations in World War II.

Isolation of Rabaul, Volume II (reprint of 1971 edition) (Quantico, VA: U. S. Marine

Corps, 16 August 1989), 537. Part V covers Marine aviation's role extensively.


20 See Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader (Washington, DC: Zenger Publishing, 1952)

for an account of Guderian's actions at the battle for Sedan, France in May 1940.


21 Earl H. Tilford, SETUP: What the Air Force Did in Vietnam and Why (Maxwell

AFB, AL: Air University Press, 1991), 122.







Combat Operations


1 MG Verne D. Mudge, USA, in Marine Aviation in Close Support File, cited in

FMFRP 12-34-IV, History of the U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II.

Western Pacific Operations, Volume IV (reprint of 1971 edition) (Quantico, VA: U.S.

Marine Corps, 16 August 1989), 347. Also see Mersky, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation, pp.

106-107. Mudge was the commander of the 1st Cavalry Division.


2 Maj Archie J. Clapp, USMC, "Their Mission is Mobility," Military Review, Vol

XXXIII, No. 5 (August 1953), 12. FMFM 5-30, Assault Support (Quantico, VA: U.S.

Marine Corps, 24 June 1994) provides details on Marine Corps helicopter employment.


3 FMFRP 12-26, Marine Corps Aviation: General, 1940, (reprint of 1940 edition),



4 Lind, 20. Lind elaborates that in maneuver warfare, "firepower permits

movement (the attack of the assault units) and maneuver (the encirclement of the entire

enemy force)."


5 Maj Gen James M. Myatt, USMC, "Close Air Support and Fire Support in

Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm," a report submitted to the Commission on

Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, 8 December 1994.


6 FMFM 1-1, Campaigning 62-63. See p. 246 of van Creveld's Air Power and

Maneuver Warfare for a further discussion of aviation's missions in maneuver warfare.

It mentions use of aviation to "strike the primary blows, screen surface maneuver forces,

destroy or delay enemy counterattacks, support surface forces in contact, provide

comprehensive surveillance and reconnaissance, resupply isolated forces, prevent resupply

of enemy forces, insert surface forces at critical points--just about anything you can

imagine." The ability of aviation to shift from one of these roles to another more rapidly

than any other force is also put forth.


7 FMFM 1, Warfighting, 37.


8 FMFM 1, Warfighting, 59.


9 NAVMC 2890, Small Wars Manual, (reprint of 1940 edition), (Washington, DC:

U.S. Marine Corps, 1 April 1987), Chapter IX, 20.


10 Kenneth R. Whiting, "Soviet Air-Ground Coordination," in Case Studies in the

Development of Close Air Support, ed. Benjamin Franklin Cooling (Washington, DC:

Office of Air Force History, 1990), 117, 124, and 133.






11 Brigadier Peter Young, ed., World Almanac Book of World War II (London:

Bison Books, Ltd., 1981), 67-76.



Military Operations Other Than War



1 LTC James M. Willey, USA, Collective Engagement, Peacekeeping, and

Operations Other Than War, Individual Study Project, U.S. Army War College (Carlisle

Barracks, PA: 5 April 1993), Abstract Page.


2 Maj Shimon Stone, USMC and Capt James A. Hogberg, USMC, Humanitarian

Assistance: Adapting the Process to Meet the Military's Evolving Role in Non

Traditional Missions, MS Thesis (Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, December,

1993), 113.


3 Joint Pub 3-07 (Draft), Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other Than War

(Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 18 July 1994), I-7. Joint Pub 3-0, Doctrine for

Joint Operations, also discusses the range of military options. See Joint Pub 3-07.3, Joint

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Peacekeeping Operations, 29 April 1994, for

specifics on peacekeeping.


4 NAVMC 2890, Small Wars Manual (reprint of 1940 edition) provides some of

these enduring applications. For more on the tactical side of operations other than war,

see MAJ John M. Kelley, USA, Tactical Implications for Peacemaking in an Ethnic

Conflict, Monograph, School of Advanced Military Studies, U.S. Army Command and

General Staff College (Fort Leavenworth, KS: 4 February 1993).


5 Willey, 4.


6 Maj R. Bruce Rember, USAF, Wings for Peace: Air Power in Peacemaking

Operations, Monograph, School of Advanced Military Studies, U.S. Army Command and

General Staff College (Fort Leavenworth, KS: 17 December 1992). Maj Rember

provides some interesting discussion on the use of aviation in operations other than war.


7 Stone and Hogberg, 35.





1 1st Lt Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC, "Aviation in the Navy," Marine Corps

Gazette (December 1916), 334.







2 T. R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War (New York: MacMillan, 1963), 427.


3 NAVMC 2890, Small Wars Manual, (reprint of 1940 edition), Chapter IX,. 1.


4 Maj Alfred A. Cunningham, USMC, "The Value of Aviation to the Marine

Corps," Marine Corps Gazette (September 1920), 223.


5 U.S. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to

Congress, Pursuant to Title V of the Persian Gulf Conflict Supplemental Authorization

and Personnel Benefits Act of 1991 (Public Law 102 -25), Chapters I through VIII

(Washington, DC: GPO, April 1992), xiv.


6 Maj Gen James M. Myatt, USMC, "Close Air Support and Fire Support in

Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm," a report submitted to the Commission on

Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, 8 December 1994, 6. Maj Gen Myatt

commanded the 1st Marine Division in the Persian Gulf War.1


Appendix A


Policy Command and Control


Sustained Operations Ashore




Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF) contains the "Policy for Command and


Control of USMC TACAIR in Sustained Operations Ashore." The policy deals with


MAGTF aviation during sustained operations ashore:




The MAGTF commander will retain operational control of organic air assets. The


primary mission of the MAGTF air combat element is the support of the MAGTF


ground element.1 During joint operations, the MAGTF air assets will normally be


in support of the MAGTF mission. The MAGTF commander will make sorties


available to the joint force commander, for tasking through the joint force air


component commander, for air defense, long-range interdiction, and long-range


reconnaissance. Sorties in excess of MAGTF direct support requirements will be


provided to the joint force commander for tasking through the joint force air


component commander for the support of other components of the joint force or


the joint force as a whole. Nothing herein shall infringe on the authority of the


theater or joint force commander in the exercise of operational control, to assign


missions, redirect efforts (e.g., the reapportionment and/or reallocation of any


Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) TACAIR sorties when it has been


determined by the joint force commander that they are required for higher priority


missions), and direct coordination among the subordinate commanders to ensure


unity of effort in accomplishment of the overall mission, or to maintain integrity of


the force.




NOTE: Sorties provided for air defense, long-range interdiction, and long-range


reconnaissance are not "excess" sorties and will be covered in the ATO. These


sorties provide a distinct contribution to the overall joint force effort. The JFC


must exercise integrated control of air defense, long-range reconnaissance, and


long-range interdiction aspects of the joint operation or theater campaign. Excess


sorties are in addition to these sorties.





1 The primary mission of MAGTF aviation is to support the entire MAGTF--not just the ground






Appendix B



battlespace--All aspects of air, surface, subsurface, land, space, and electromagnetic spectrum

which encompass the area of influence and area of interest. (FMFRP 0-14)


battlespace dominance--The degree of control over the dimensions of the battlespace which

enhances friendly freedom of action and denies enemy freedom of action. It permits force

sustainment and application of power projection to accomplish the full range of tactical missions.

It includes all actions conducted against enemy capabilities to influence future operations.

(FMFRP 0-14)


centers of gravity--Those characteristics, capabilities, or localities from which a military force

derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight. (Joint Pub 1-02)


close operations--Military actions conducted to project power decisively against enemy forces

which pose an immediate or near term threat to the success of current battles or engagements.

These military actions are conducted by committed forces and their readily available tactical

reserves, using maneuver and combined arms. (FMFRP 0-14)


coalition force--A force composed of military elements of nations that have formed a temporary

alliance for some specific purpose. (Joint Pub 1-02)


combined force--A military force composed of elements of two or more allied nations. (Joint

Pub 102)


combined arms--The tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by a force to integrate

firepower and mobility to produce a desired effect upon the enemy. (FMFRP 0-14)


commander's intent--The commander's intent describes the desired end state. It is a concise

expression of the purpose of the operation. It may include how the posture of units at that end

state facilitates future operations. It may also include the commander's assessment of the enemy

commander's intent. The commander's intent is not, however, a summary of the concept of

operations. (Joint Pub 3-0, p. III-33) There are two parts to a mission: the task to be

accomplished and the reason, or intent. The task describes the action to be taken while the intent

describes the desired result of the action. Of the two, the intent is predominant. While a situation

may change, making the task obsolete, the intent is more permanent and continues to guide our

actions. Understanding our commander's intent allows us to exercise initiative in harmony with

the commander's desires. The intent should convey the commander's vision. The senior must

make perfectly clear the result he expects, but in such a way that does not inhibit initiative.

Subordinates must have a clear understanding of what their commander is thinking. Further, they

should understand the intent of the commander two levels up. (FMFM 1, pp. 71-72)


critical enemy vulnerability--Of all the vulnerabilities we might choose to exploit, some are

more critical to the enemy than others. It follows that the most effective way to defeat our enemy

is to destroy that which is most critical to him. We should focus our efforts on the one thing

which, if eliminated, will do the most decisive damage to his ability to resist us....Therefore, we

should focus our efforts against a critical enemy vulnerability. (FMFM 1, under "Exploiting

Vulnerability and Opportunity", pp. 35-36) Note: Doctrine Division, MCCDC recommended

that the term "critical enemy vulnerability" not be used, and "critical vulnerability" be used to

describe that weak point within a "center of gravity" which can be exploited. They also

recommended that term "decisive point" be used to define it as a catalytic geographic feature.


culminating point--In the offense, the culminating point is the point in time and space at which

an attacker's combat power no longer exceeds that of the defender. A defensive culminating point

is the point in time and space when the defending force no longer has the capability to go on the

counteroffensive or defend successfully. (Joint Pub 3-0, p. III-29)


decisive point--Decisive points are usually geographic in nature, such as a constricted sea lane, a

hill, a town, or an air base. They could also include other elements such as command posts,

critical boundaries, airspace, or a communications node. Decisive points are not centers of

gravity; they are the keys to attacking protecting centers of gravity. (Joint Pub 3-0, pp. III-28 to



deep operations--Military actions conducted against enemy capabilities which pose a potential

threat to friendly forces. These military actions are designed to isolate, shape, and dominate the

battlespace and influence future operations. (FMFRP 0-14)


force sustainment--Capabilities, equipment, and operations which ensure continuity, freedom of

action, logistics support, and command and control. (FMFRP 0-14)


joint force--A general term applied to a force composed of significant elements, assigned or

attached, of two or more Military Departments, operating under a single joint force commander.

(Joint Pub 1-02 as modified by Joint Pub 0-2)


joint force air component commander--The joint force air component commander derives

authority from the joint force commander who has the authority to exercise operational control,

assign missions, direct coordination among subordinate commanders, redirect and organize forces

to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall mission. The joint force commander

will normally designate a joint force air component commander. The joint force air component

commander's responsibilities will be assigned by the joint force commander (normally these would

include, but not be limited to, planning, coordination, allocation, and tasking based on the joint

force commander's apportionment decision). Using the joint force commander's guidance and

authority, and in coordination with other Service component commanders and other assigned and

supporting commanders, the joint force air component commander will recommend to the joint

force commander apportionment of air sorties to various missions or geographic areas. Also

called JFACC. (Joint Pub 1-02)


main effort--The most important task to be accomplished by the force. It is assigned by the

commander to a specifically designated subordinate unit. The commander ensures the success of

the main effort by providing it the preponderance of support and by alerting reserves to rapidly

reinforce the main effort or, if necessary, to assume the main effort. (FMFRP 0- 14)


maneuver--The traditional understanding of maneuver is a spatial one; that is, we maneuver in

space to gain a positional advantage. However, in order to maximize the usefulness of maneuver,

we must consider maneuver in time as well; that is, we generate a faster operational tempo than

the enemy to gain a temporal advantage. (FMFM 1, p. 58) Thus, maneuver is more accurately

defined as the employment of forces within the battlespace through movement in combination

with fire, or fire potential, to achieve a position of advantage in time or space in respect to the

enemy in order to accomplish the mission.


maneuver warfare--A philosophy for action that seeks to collapse the enemy's cohesion and

effectiveness through a series of rapid, violent, and unexpected actions which create a turbulent

and rapidly deteriorating situation with which he cannot cope. (FMFRP 0-14)


Marine air-ground task force--A task organization of Marine forces (division, aircraft wing, and

service support groups) under a single command and structured to accomplish a specific mission.

The Marine airground task force (MAGTF) components will normally include command,

aviation combat, ground combat, and combat service support elements (including Navy Support

Elements). Three types of Marine airground task forces which can be task organized are the

Marine expeditionary unit, Marine expeditionary brigade [Marine expeditionary force (forward)],

and Marine expeditionary force. The four elements of a Marine air-ground task force are: a.

command element (CE)--The MAGTF headquarters. The CE is a permanent organization

composed of the commander, general or executive and special staff sections, headquarters

section, and requisite communications and service support facilities. The CE provides command,

control, and coordination essential for effective planning and execution by the other three

elements of the MAGTF. There is only one CE in a MAGTF. b. aviation combat element

(ACE)--The MAGTF element that is task organized to provide all or a portion of the functions of

Marine Corps aviation in varying degrees based on the tactical situation and the MAGTF mission

and size. These functions are air reconnaissance, antiair warfare, assault support, offensive air

support, electronic warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles. The ACE is organized around an

aviation headquarters and varies in size from a reinforced helicopter squadron to one or more

Marine aircraft wing(s). It includes those aviation command (including air control agencies),

combat, combat support, and combat service support units required by the situation. Normally,

there is only one ACE in a MAGTF. c. ground combat element (GCE)--The MAGTF element

that is task organized to conduct ground operations. The GCE is constructed around an infantry

unit and varies in size from a reinforced infantry batalion to one or more reinforced Marine

division(s). Normally, there is only one GCE in a MAGTF. d. combat service support element

(CSSE)-The MAGTF element that is task organized to provide the full range of combat service

support necessary to accomplish the MAGTF mission. CSSE can provide supply, maintenance,

transportation, deliberate engineer, health, postal, disbursing, enemy prisoner of war, automated

information systems, exchange, utilities, legal, and graves registration services. The CSSE varies

in size from a Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) service support group (MSSG) to a force service

support group (FSSG). Normally, there is only one combat service support element in a

MAGTF. (Joint Pub 1-02)


operational level of war--The level of war at which campaigns and major operations are planned,

conducted, and sustained to accomplish strategic objectives within theaters or areas of operations.

Activities at this level link tactics and strategy by establishing operational objectives needed to

accomplish strategic objectives, sequencing events to achieve the operational objectives, initiating

actions, and applying resources to bring about and sustain these events. These activities imply a

broader dimension of time or space than do tactics; they ensure the logistic and administrative

support of tactical forces, and provide the means by whic tactical successes are exploited to

achieve strategic objectives. (Joint Pub 1-02)


power projection--The application of measured, precise offensive military force at a chosen time

and place, using maneuver and combined arms. (FMFRP 0-14)


rear operations--Military actions conducted to support and permit force sustainment and to

provide security for such actions. (FMFRP 0-14)


strategic level of war--The level of war at which a nation, often as a member of a group of

nations, determines national or multinational (alliance or coalition) security objectives and

guidance, and develops and uses national resources to accomplish these objectives. Activities at

this level establish national and multinational military objectives; sequence initiatives; define limits

and assess risks for the use of military and other instruments of national power; develop global

plans or theater war plans to achieve these objectives; and provide military forces and other

capabilities in accordance with strategic plans. (Joint Pub 1-02)


supporting arms--Air, sea, and land weapons of all types employed to support ground units.

(Joint Pub 1-02)


tactical level of war--The level of war at which battles and engagements are planned and

executed to accomplish military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces. Activities at

this level focus on the ordered arrangement and maneuver of combat elements in relation to each

other and to the enemy to achieve combat objectives. (Joint Pub 1-02)






Bingham, Price T., Lt Col, USAF. "Ground Maneuver and Air Interdiction in the

Operational Art," Parameters, March 1989.


Bradley, Omar N., GEN, USA, and others. Effect of Air Power on Military

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