Thursday, March 12, 2015
USAF JTAC Shortage
JTACs. Ummm, yes, that is something that has been painfully obvious to the U.S. Army. Years ago the Air Force (AF) decided that they would pick up the mission of providing personnel who would call in airstrikes and help coordinate close air support missions (CAS). The AF pressed to ensure that the Army's ability to call in CAS was limited; stating that the Air Force could handle the mission. But the AF never provided sufficient JTACs. This was painfully evident during the long years of the Afghan and Iraq conflicts when Special Forces teams would be stationed in remote hostile combat areas. The SF teams could not schedule air cover for operations or call in pre-planned air strikes (only emergency CAS or E-CAS); that is unless they had a USAF JTAC. But not all teams got the JTACs due to the shortage. This caused a significant amount of heartburn among SF teams that had the skills to call in airstrikes but who were ignored by the AF because they didn't have a JTAC with them. Read more on the JTAC shortage in "Air Force Sees Rising Demand for Joint Terminal Attack Controllers", Military.com, March 10, 2015.