PLANNING FOR JOINT AIR OPERATIONS
"It is improbable that any terrorization of the civil population
which could be achieved by air attack would compel the Government
of a great nation to surrender. In our own case, we have seen
the combative spirit of the people roused, and not quelled, by
the German air raids. Therefore, our air offensive should
consistently be directed at striking the bases and communications
upon whose structure the fighting power of his armies and fleets
of the sea and air depends."
Winston Churchill (1917)
1. Concept of Joint Air Operations Development
Planning for joint air operations begins with understanding the joint force mission. The JFC's strategic appreciation of the political, economic, military, and social forces affecting the AOR/JOA and articulation of the strategic and operational objectives needed to accomplish the mission form the basis for determining components' objectives. The JFACC/JFC staff uses the mission, the JFC strategic appreciation and objectives, and the components' objectives to devise an air estimate of the situation. This estimate follows a systematic series of steps to formulate a course of action (COA). When the JFACC's course of action is approved by the JFC, it becomes the basic concept of the joint air operations--stating "what" will be done. The "how" part is stated in the joint air operations plan and supporting plans. The JFACC's daily guidance ensures that joint air operations effectively support the joint force objectives while retaining enough flexibility to adjust to the dynamics of the range of military operations. Figure E-l describes the concept of how joint air operations are developed.
2. Joint Air Operations Plan
Joint air operations constitute an integral part of the JFC's operation or campaign plan. The JFACC is normally assigned responsibility for joint air operations, planning and develops a joint air operations plan for employing that portion of the air effort made available to the JFACC to accomplish the objectives assigned by the JFC.The joint air operation plan documents the JFACC's plan for integrating and coordinating joint air operations. The joint air operation plan encompasses operations of capabilities/forces from joint force components. The staff assigned to develop the plan should include representation from all components providing capabilities/ forces. A carefully selected staff of planners and weapon systems experts from each component enables consideration and understanding of all component capabilities/forces. Potential expertise requirements may include but are not limited to:
Normally, there are five phases in the joint air operations planning process, and each phase produces a desired product. While presented in a sequential order, the phases are not all required to be completed in order. Work on the various phases may be concurrent or sequential. However, at some point, phases must be integrated and the products of each phase must be checked and verified for coherence. Figure III-2 illustrates the five phases.
- Appropriate logistic information concerning what is available in theater, and what can be provided through existing ports, depots, war reserve materiel (WRM), or other logistic pipelines.
- Intelligence data is gathered and analyzed. Data may include (as an example) indications and warning, current intelligence, general military intelligence, target intelligence, and scientific and technical intelligence. (See Joint Pub 2-0, "Joint Doctrine for Intelligence Support to Operations.")
- For both friendly and adversary forces. the full range of operational intelligence concerning forces, capabilities, sustainment, disposition, as well as relative combat strengths, analyses of alternatives, target systems analysis, and probable courses of action are examined.
- Joint air objectives are derived from the JFC's and components' objectives.
- Airpower, in conjunction with the exploitation of space-based systems can impact all three levels of war (strategic, operational, and tactical) and can perform independent, integrated, and supporting operations sequentially or simultaneously.
- Joint air objectives and supporting objectives must be identified by listing those objectives at each level (strategic, operational, and tactical). The objectives of each level must support the objectives of the higher level to ensure unity of effort.
"Airpower has become predominant, both as a deterrent to war, and
-in the eventuality of war- as the devastating force to destroy
an enemy's potential and fatally undermine his will to wage war."
General Omar Bradley
- A COG may be represented by a single target, a target system, or multiple, interrelated target systems. In order to expose COGs to attack, it may be required to first identify and attack decisive points and/or progressively defeat enemy measures used to protect their COGs. Actions to extend offensive efforts throughout the theater, including deep penetrations of enemy territory, can increase the vulnerability of enemy centers of gravity.
- The centers of gravity should be carefully selected for attack. When attacking COGs, they should be attacked as a target system. Air and spacepower are unique in that they can focus on a COG ranging from leadership all the way to enemy combat forces. If petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) is the element of the COG being considered, it can be attacked from its point of origin to the distribution system. For economy of force, there may be a critical node in a target set which should be attacked first. Additional targets within that set could be attacked to stress the whole system. Target systems should be attacked with sufficient force needed to meet the JFC's military objectives, consistent with the LOAC and associated restraints and limitations.
- The same process for identifying COGs should be applied to friendly forces from the enemy's perspective. After the JFC defines friendly COGs and deployment and employment plans, the air defense section of the joint air operations plan can be developed. Friendly centers of gravity should normally be defended in-depth.
- Identify objectives and targets by priority order, describing in what order they should be attacked or dealt with, the desired results, and the weight of effort required to achieve the desired results in support of the JFC's objectives. (Targets prioritized by significance do not necessarily indicate order to be attacked.)
- Account for current and potential adversary offensive and defensive threats.
- Conduct target development system analysis to identify those specific targets that should be reattacked to achieve the objectives.
- Indicate the phasing of joint air operations in relation to the JFC's operation or campaign plan phasing and in relation to each other.
- The joint air operations plan supports, as well as is supported by, the operations conducted by other components in support of the JFC's mission objectives. Competing requirements for joint air operations including strategic attack, air interdiction, and close air support will be resolved by the JFC, normally by the air apportionment decision.
- With this information, the JFC and components can analyze the pint forces' ability to support the mission assigned to the JFACC, while ensuring air capable components retain sufficient organic capabilities/forces to accomplish their missions. Shortfalls require the JFC to reprioritize or restructure the missions/plans or seek additional resources
- The joint air operations plan must clearly delineate any changes to logistic support practices effected by such agreements or directives. (See Joint Pub 4-0, "Doctrine for Logistic Support of Joint Operations," for an in-depth explanation of pertinent logistic considerations.)