The US has been acting as a global police officer for a long time. Now we may have to be ready to take on several very tough bad guys at once. This article gives powerful reason to believe that we may have what it takes to do the job, but the new bad guys are a lot tougher and better equipped than the Iraqi Army was:
“Between Russia’s expansionism in the region, and China’s as well, the United States would do well to remain as vigilant as ever … While the United States and France have been helping the fragile governments of Africa’s Sahel region stave off Islamist terrorist attacks and takeovers, Russia has been busy trying to push NATO out of the area and augment its own influence there.”
From Air Force Magazine come three articles related to a Desert Storm airwar battle you may never have heard of, and its continuing influence on US warfighting doctrine even today, beginning with “The Epic Little Battle of Khafji”, which took place about four weeks before the ground war began. The author’s credentials (see end of article) are impressive, and her brief but thorough analysis of all aspects of the battle is easily understood and superbly done.
The significance of the Battle of Khafji was that it put into use “a heretofore unknown ability to stop moving enemy armored forces at night, on short notice, and without a synchronized ground counterattack.“
A few weeks into the Desert Storm air war, Saddam realized that he’d bitten off more than he could chew. He launched an offensive against coalition forces near Khafji, possibly in the hope of drawing coalition forces into engaging, then falling back and destroying them in a pre-arranged trap, a tactic which had worked well against Iran. Remember that Saddam had said, “Your country is not one that can stand 10,000 dead in one battle.” He may have hoped he could produce something like that in this case.
His timing was pretty good: “The Army component was in the midst of its three-week redeployment from the coastal area to attack positions more than 200 miles west. Any disruption to the 24-hour-a-day caravan might upset the timetable for the upcoming attack.”
Alas for fond hopes. Technology had brought to the battlefield the “Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System”, aka “J-STARS”, or just “STARS”:
“The Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) is a United States Air Force airborne ground surveillance, battle management and command and control aircraft.“
With the E8‘s sensors reporting in real time on the unexpected movement of Iraq’s 5th Mechanized Division and 3d Armored Division, coalition forces had time to evaluate the probable intent and plan a response. Elements of the air forces already in action elsewhere were simply diverted to the area around Khafji and … you can guess the rest. The Iraqi forces hadn’t brought enough capable anti-air defense weapons with them. The full description at that link is … exhilarating!
“Instead of advancing toward the coalition forces, Iraq’s forces were being stopped, rerouted, delayed, and destroyed. Iraq’s forces were unable to continue with organized maneuver. By the morning of Jan. 31, the entire offensive had unraveled.”
Two and a half days. Oops. Fall back and surrender, Saddam.
“A captured Iraqi soldier from the 5th Mechanized Division remarked that his brigade underwent more damage in 30 minutes of air attacks at Khafji than it had in eight years of the Iran-Iraq War.”
“The air response at Khafji supplied needed close support to engaged coalition forces and shaped the deep battle with the most efficient air counteroffensive against maneuvering land forces ever documented.“
Electronic snooping on enemy communications confirmed the effectiveness of air power coupled with STARS: ” ‘we monitored Iraqi reports afterward that only 20 percent of the division made it back’ to pre-offensive positions.”
Published February 03, 2020: the US may be planning to unleash another dose of JSTARS wallop, on Iran, this time.
The next generation of STARS, acronym “jdac2”, is already underway:
“Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, is the idea that any sensor can connect to any weapon system, regardless of which armed force owns it, to act as quickly as possible in combat.”
“Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten’s JROC is in the process of sketching out the requirements for the next-generation command and control. The Joint Staff is also crafting the joint warfighting concept for how the assets would be used in the coming decades, including the new Space Force and U.S. Space Command. A plan is due to the Defense Secretary in December.“
The late Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, a WW2 Pacific Theater veteran, was considered to be the father of the “Modern Technique” of defensive combat handgun shooting. He coined the motto, “Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas,” which means “Accuracy, Power, Speed.” That is exactly what STARS and JDAC2 provide. Let the enemies of the United States of America take heed.