Leadership: June 14, 2003

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After every war, American generals and admirals admit that their warplanes and ground troops had not trained together enough to make close air support work well. The reasons for this problem are always the same. The aircraft and ground troops have their own training programs and schedules and it is difficult to arrange a time for joint training. The ground units and air units use different training areas, that are often hundreds of kilometers from each other. As a result of these problems, both the ground and air units tend to give joint training a low priority. But when a war comes, you have to pay the piper and rapidly do whatever training you can. This often means less close air support, or sloppy support that causes friendly casualties. What has saved a lot of grief in the past two years was the availability of the GPS guided JDAM bomb. While there was little training, by ground troops, in the use of this bomb, it was such a simpler system, compared to previous types of bombs, that more ground units were able to use more bombing missions more quickly. This time, however, the Department of Defense has said there will be training in the future. Time will tell.


 


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