Leadership: April 24, 2003

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The Iraq war enabled the U.S. armed forces to perfect techniques for attacking "Time Sensitive Targets." During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, if was very difficult to bomb a newly discovered target. Unless the new target was spotted by one of the few "free fire" bombers assigned to an area that day, a choice target could not get a bombing attack assigned to it for a day, or several days. Ten years later, in Afghanistan, better communications, more people on the ground and fewer traditional targets, forced the air force to either go after "Time Sensitive Targets", or carry the bombs back to base (pilots hate doing this.) So by the time the Iraq War began, the air force has established a "Time Sensitive Targets" organization within the air combat headquarters in the Persian Gulf. The "Time Sensitive Targets" team was on duty 24/7, and troops, especially commandos, knew that this capability existed. If a time sensitive target was spotted, an attempt would be made to take it out as quickly as possible. The time to hit a target was often as short as twenty minutes, but usually closer to an hour or so. The "Time Sensitive Targets" group had special computer software and databases that enabled them to quickly analyze the target, select the best weapon and know where the closest bomber was with that weapon. They had the authority to divert bombers to time sensitive targets, and did so fifty or more times during the war. This system if quickly hitting targets is seen as the future of using air power, with the goal being to hit more targets more quickly on a regular basis. 

 


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