Sunday, January 24, 2016


Airpower and COIN. Much of the focus on combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been the heavy use of airpower by the United States and its coalition partners. Some critics believe that air strikes are not enough and 'boots on the ground' are required. Others see a need for more special operations forces to train and advise the moderate Syrian rebels and the Iraqi military forces along with targeted strikes against ISIS leaders. Certainly what has become apparent is that ISIS will not be degraded or defeated by just airpower. One observer is Christoper A. Lawrence - the Executive Director and President of the Dupuy Institute. He has penned an article entitled "Airpower: Just Part of the Counterinsurgency Equation"Small Wars Journal, January 18, 2016.

His viewpoint is that there is no concrete evidence that airpower has destroyed an insurgency. I agree with the author that airpower is limited in its ability to counter an insurgency; but am troubled with comparing the Islamic State to an insurgency; I think they past the stage of insurgency in Iraq and Syria - at the moment. ISIS controls territory and masses forces to both gain and defend territory. Once an insurgency moves to a more conventional phase they start to present targets. Of course, more than just airpower is needed to defeat ISIS - advisors and ground forces are needed; but not necessarily U.S. ground troops.

A-29s Arrive in Kabul. The U.S. Air Force delivered four A-29 Super Tucanos to the Afghan Air Force in January 2016. Read more in "Afghan Air Force receives first four A-29s", U.S. Air Force News, January 19, 2016.

India's Mi-35 Helicopters. The four helicopters recently provided by India to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) are almost operational and may soon see combat in Helmand province. Read "India's Mi-35 Helicopters Ready for First Battle in Afghanistan", NDTV, January 21, 2016.

More C-208B Aircraft? The U.S. DoD has approved a new contract for 18 additional C-208B aircraft for the Afghan Air Force. The contract is worth about $55 million. (, Jan 22, 2016).

A-10 Retirement Delayed. "After trying to retire the battle-tested A-10 Warthog for the past two years, Air Force officials concede that the plane is key to the war on ISIS", Read "Air Force to Delay A-10 Retirement, Thanks to ISIS"Defense One, January 13, 2016.

Video - 25 Years of Bombing. The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has produced a 5-minute long video entitled 25 Years of Bombing Iraq published on on January 14, 2016. The narrator provides a brief history of airpower and analyzes the contributions and limitations of airpower.

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