"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.

Figure III-1. Concept of Joint Air Operations Development

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:

3. Joint Air Operations Planning Process

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.

Figure III-2. Joint Air Operations Planning Process

  1. Phase 1: Operational Environment Research. The product of this phase is primarily the intelligence preparation of the battlespace and gathering an in depth knowledge of the operational environment. This phase is focused on gaining information about friendly and adversary capabilities and intentions, doctrine, and the environment in which the operations will take place. The goal of this phase is to gain an understanding of the theater of operations, the adversary, and friendly forces available to accomplish the JFC's objectives.

  2. Phase 2: Objective Determination. The products of this phase are clearly defined and quantifiable objectives that will contribute to the accomplishment of the JFC's operation or campaign objectives.

  3. Phase 3: Strategy Identification. The product of this phase is a clearly defined joint air strategy statement. The operation or campaign plan communicates the JFC's strategy. The joint air strategy states how the JFACC plans to exploit joint air capabilities/forces to support the JFC's objectives. The joint air operations plan is how the JFACC communicates, promulgates, and articulates this strategy.

    "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

  4. Phase 4: Center(s) of Gravity (COG) Identification. The product of this phase is the identification of those COGs that could be defeated to satisfy the JFC's strategic, operational, and tactical objectives and those friendly (including multinational partners) COGs to defend. Clausewitz describes a COG as "the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends." Joint doctrine defines COGs as "those characteristics, capabilities, or localities from which a military force, nation, or alliance derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight." COG describes the central feature(s) of power that if defeated may have the most decisive result. Airpower may have the ability to attack centers of gravity throughout the AOR/JOA to engage sets of targets associated with each and engage these targets simultaneously rather than sequentially. It is important to remember that the type of COG and method of attack may vary widely throughout the range of military operations. For example, in a MOOTW environment, the COG could be starvation. In this case, the "target" may be a drop zone that is "engaged" by air dropping pallets of food and supplies to help "attack" the starvation COG. The objectives and strategy must be clearly understood, and the operational environment carefully analyzed, to help the JFC identify COGs. The greatest barrier in selection of a COG lies in not considering all possibilities of the adversary's power and friendly forces. A thorough understanding of the AOR/JOA and the adversary facilitates identification of the correct COG.

  5. Phase 5: The Joint Air Operations Plan Development. The product of this phase is the joint air operations plan that details how joint air operations will support the JFC's operation or campaign plan. Based on the JFC's guidance, the JFACC develops the joint air operations plan. The joint air operations plan developed during this process should:

10-30-1996; 16:34:04