Immediate Reach, Immediate Power: The Air Expeditionary Force and American Power Projection in the Post-Cold War Era - Hap Arnold, Composite Air Strike Force (CASF), CENTCOM, F-16 by David N. Spires

Immediate Reach, Immediate Power: The Air Expeditionary Force and American Power Projection in the Post-Cold War Era - Hap Arnold, Composite Air Strike Force (CASF), CENTCOM, F-16

By David N. Spires

  • Publication Date: 2015-07-26
  • Genre: Military

Book Summary

Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this Air Force publication describes the Air Expeditionary Force concept in which aircraft wings, groups, or squadrons attached to a numbered air force are deployed under the command of a U.S. military joint Commander in Chief of a geographical region during a period of increased operational tempo.

The multiple challenges America faces today calls for rapid responsive, global air power. The answer is the United States Air Force's (USAF) Air Expeditionary Force (AEF). An AEF consists of aircraft wings, groups, or squadrons attached to a USAF numbered air force deployed under the command of a U.S. Military Joint Commander-in-Chief (CINC) of a geographic region, during a period of increased operations tempo. An increased operations tempo is invariably associated with U.S. diplomatic, political, military or humanitarian actions either underway or in prospect. Also, an AEF unit deploys as a composite force, one made up several different aircraft types within the same unit, rather than in accordance with past USAF practice where a combat unit consists of only one type (and model) of aircraft. By taking advantage of the intrinsic strengths of air power—speed, range, and flexibility—the AEF provides a logistically lean, flexible, tailored, quick-response force to the CINC.

The flexibility of air power enables its possessor to undertake or threaten a wide range of responses, such as precision or mass attack against selected individual targets or entire target systems deep in enemy occupied territory or on the line of contact with friendly forces; almost simultaneous action against the width and breadth of a hostile land; electronic observation and intelligence gathering of the land, sea, and air capabilities of an opponent in a crisis or combat situation; and the threat of immediate force to deter hostile action. Furthermore, in times of natural disaster or internal conflict, air power can airlift life-saving supplies to victims or refugees and evacuate American or other nationals from danger. The unparalleled mix of aircraft types available to the Air Force enables it to make maximum use of its assets to tailor the structure of an AEF, and, if necessary, follow-on AEFs, to fit the specific task or tasks required. Finally, unlike land or sea power, air power can reach any spot on the globe within a few hours. Given some pre-positioning of materiel, initiation of pre-planned airlift, and host nation permission, an AEF can place bombs on target or commence other appropriate actions within 72 hours of warning. This 72-hour period assumes 24 hours of strategic warning with bombs on target 48 hours after the order to execute the mission has been received from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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