Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback214 pages $25.00 $20.00 20% Web Discount

Recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have reawakened interest in the close air support (CAS) mission and have led to new efforts to improve the integration of air power and land power. The Army increasingly views air power as indispensable to its future warfighting concepts; the Air Force acknowledges the increasing importance of counterland operations but wants to ensure that air power’s unique flexibility and versatility are not lost in efforts to provide on-call fires to ground forces. Whether air power or land power should predominate depends on the situation. In particular situations, either might predominate, and their relationship is likely to shift over the course of a campaign. This report examines alternative approaches to integrating air and land power, addressing three major policy questions: (1) How should air attack and ground maneuver be integrated? (2) How should the terminal attack control function be executed? (3) How should ground maneuver/fires and air attack be deconflicted? The study recommends that the Army and the Air Force work together to develop new concepts and technologies to enhance the effective partnering of air and ground forces. New processes are needed to effectively designate targets while ensuring that essential oversight remains with the terminal air controller, and improved control mechanisms should be developed to exploit the benefits of the digital battlefield. As adversaries adapt and move away from massed motorized forces operating in the open to dispersed, smaller forces exploiting difficult terrain, a well practiced and developed air-ground partnership will be increasingly necessary.

Research conducted by

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.