To Bomb or Not to Bomb: Air Support in Afghanistan
Airpower, an important instrument in the tool kit of a Combatant Commander, may be used
in both a kinetic and non-kinetic manner. In Afghanistan, where operations are spread across a vast area and the terrain creates challenges for other elements of joint fire
support, kinetic effects from the air component have been particularly important to support operations. Anti-Coalition Militants are unable to negate the effects of kinetic
airpower via direct means and have turned to indirect measures to attempt to limit its effectiveness. The Anti-Coalition Militant indirect approach of inducing and exploiting civilian casualties
has brought a great deal of negative attention regarding the use of kinetic airpower in Afghanistan. This negative attention has had the strategic effect of straining U.S. - Afghan
relations and caused the USCENTCOM Commander to review the use of kinetic airpower -- thus jeopardizing the use of this valuable asset in theater. This paper addresses how the U.S. can balance the
kinetic effects of airpower with strategic objectives in counterinsurgency.
This page last updated on 26 August 2009.
Please send corrections or comments regarding this page to: