Beyond Close Air Support: Forging a New Air-Ground Partnership

Beyond Close Air Support: Forging a New Air-Ground Partnership

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Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have renewed interest in close air support and the integration of air and ground power. In particular situations, either might predominate, and their relationship is likely to shift over the course of a campaign. This report addresses three questions: (1) How should air attack and ground maneuver be integrated? (2) How should the terminal attack control function be executed? (3) How should ground maneuver/fires and air attack be deconflicted? It recommends that the Army and the Air Force work together to develop new concepts and technologies to improve the partnering of air and ground. It recommends new processes to effectively designate targets and improved control mechanisms to exploit the benefits of the digital battlefield.