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Aviation Urban Operations

Are We Training Like We Fight?

LTCOL Todd G. Kemper, USMC
2004, 49 pages
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Cost: $0, AU Press Code: MP-33

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Doctrine for joint urban operations, which include aviation urban operations, combined with revised tactics, techniques, and procedures for joint close air support, offers the combined/joint force air component commander a set of best practices for conducting counterland operations on urban terrain. Col Kemper, argues that aviation urban operations, particularly urban close air support, are no longer high-risk, low-probability missions left to academic discussions, but are proving to be high-risk, high-probability missions, as witnessed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Furthermore, the author contends that urban terrain has become the preferred battlespace of US adversaries in the early twenty-first century. This environment poses unique challenges, especially to air and space warfare. The difficulty of sorting friendlies from enemy combatants, the latter intermingled with large numbers of noncombatants in very confined spaces, creates serious dilemmas for maneuver and aviation forces. Col Kemper believes that this mission, though well documented, has received neither the priority nor the resources necessary to ensure operational excellence and success on the modern battlefield. Thus, he not only inquires about whether we are training like we fight, but also seeks to determine what makes aviation urban operations so complicated and unique that they require stand-alone doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures.

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