The Navy at War in Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom ...
The Navy at War in Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom 2000-2003 Learning Objectives The student will understand the events leading up to the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, including President George W. Bushs foreign policy doctrine before and after September 11,
2001 The Student will understand the conduct of war in Afghanistan, to include the coalition and command structures, as well as the relevance of naval components. The student will critically assess an interpretation of the Afghan War as the best exercise to date of a modern war according to Seapower 21 doctrine, especially in in the application of Network-Centric concepts.
Prologue: Foreign Policy of President George W. Bush Emphasis during 2000 presidential campaign was to keep up with the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and within budget by modernizing the military. President Bushs plan included: Missile system Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense (mandated under transformation)
Transformation Office Missile Defense System Hostile states (Iran, N. Korea) were developing long range missile programs China challenges U.S. protection of Taiwan It was suggested U.S. would not be willing to use nuclear weapons if
challenged. September 11, 2001 Unfortunately, it took the tragedy of 9/11 to initiate President Bushs call for change. The Challenge The administration had to bring firepower to an area with no immediately available bases, but how?
Sea-based carrier warfare Network-centric concepts (limited, PRECISION force) Coalition Warfare U.S. invokes Article 5 of NATO treaty NATO governments respond slowly to call for troops
Maritime War Naval aircraft flew of all sorties, dropped 1/3 of all bombs Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs) provided principal ground force in Southern Afghanistan New tanking architecture and cooperation with allied forces provided tanking to support carrier based air strikes
Coalition Forces England (heavy contributor of sea and air power, tankers, and surveillance) Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Japan (moderate sea power contributors) Pakistan (allowed integral covert use of airfields)
Command Preexisting CENTCOM command structure makes command relationships clear from onset, its success prompts permanent Joint Task Force build up Exercise of command via satellite later blamed for important misunderstandings in the war USAF Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Saudi Arabia vital for effective air power employment USAF Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC)
Precision Air Attack: The New Kind of War Effects-based targeting New weapons: GPS and Joint Defense Attack Munitions (JDAM) Improved Air Tasking Order
Real time intelligence streaming Initial Strikes Mission: Roll back Afghani Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) and destroy land communications 07OCT01: Attack on Taliban begins with TLAM launches, followed by carrier strike aircraft, USAF long-range bombers from Diego Garcia, B-2s from
United States, etc. Taliban Response U.S. accused of killing civilians Taliban moves targets into civilian-populated areas Shoulderlaunched Stinger missile threat
Afghanistan War in the North Northern Alliance Special Force representatives 13NOV: Northern Alliance take Kabul, then Konduz (last stronghold in
the north) with little opposition War in the South Southern Alliance (weak) Fifth Fleet (based in Bahrain) responsible for most of theater Task Force 58 (2 MEUs minus heavy material) allow personnel insertion far inland with organic helicopters
C h a in o f C o m m a n d CEN TCO M G e n e ra l T o m m y F ra n k s M a c D ill A F B Tam pa, FL F if t h F le e t V A D M C h a r le s W . M o o r e N A V C E N T /M A R C E N T B a h r a in T a s k F o rc e 5 7
CVBG s P -3 s , e tc . T h ir d A r m y T a s k F o rc e 5 8 B r i g . G e n . J a m e s N . M a t t is 1 5 th M E U
P e le lie u A R G 2 5 th M E U B a ta a n A R G T a s k F o rc e S w o rd M a j. G e n . D e ll L . D a ile y A r m y S p e c ia l F o r c e s T F K -B a r SAS, SEALs,
C a n a d ia n , D u tc h , e tc . War in the South Task Force 57 (air support) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Camp Rhino Camp Rhino Marines FOB Rhino Seized by the Marines 25NOV
Position (tyranny of distance) limits rate at which Rhino can be built up. Marines thrived in smaller formations. Initial strikes eliminated Taliban anti-air capability. Rhino personnel was capped, so as not to anger native Afghanis, raids are limited, and conducted at night. War in the South 19OCT: Southern campaign
commences with special forces attack on Taliban compound outside Khandahar The U.S. proves itself and learns that Afghan fighters have limits Body armor keeps U.S. casualties low during the entire war War in the South 06DEC: Kandahar taken by Marines from Rhino and Southern Alliance
forces Jan 2002: TF 58 relieved in place by Armys 101st Airborne Division. The fighting did not stop, and handover was not completed until the end of the month. Other Considerations Tribal leaders U.N. stabilization force (called in to
legitimize Afghan government without the appearance of American occupation) Map of tribal leader territories Oppositions Leadership Although major cities had fallen, none of the
Taliban or Al Quaeda leaders had been captured. Leaders were believed to be either hiding in the mountains or escaping to Africa by sea. U.S. and allied warships set up an interception zone in Arabian Sea, but only a few leaders were caught. However, new campaigns waged in the mountainous regions of Tora Bora and Anaconda were fruitful in providing masses of documents, computers, personnel, and intelligence.
Tora Bora Large Taliban concentration, including Osama Bin Laden Assault conducted by Afghan troops and U.S. firepower Many key figures escaped, perhaps due to difference in coalition and U.S. goals Taliban loses 50% of force
Al Quaeda learn U.S. can intercept radio and cell phone communications Operation Anaconda U.S., British, Canadian forces, with Australian SOF Largest ground battle of the war Mostly Army operation, Naval support came via air sorties Considered a disappointment due to joint effort problemslives saved mostly due to effective body
armor The war ends with U.S. and coalition forces in nominal control of Afghanistan, however, many Taliban are still in place, and there is general agreement that the war is not over, as conflict still exists. Disposition of forces and Topography of Shahi Khot Airstrike Footage
March 11, 2002: F/A-18 airstrike on fleeing Al Qaeda forces attempting to exfiltrate the Anaconda area March 4: F-14 airstrike on a mortar position that was engaging
friendly forces. A Modern War RMA: emphasis on network-centric war Initial air strategy: attack Centers of Gravity (successful with addition of ground support, e.g., MEUs and Northern Alliance SOF liaisons with Northern Alliances New approach to presence--reflected in decision to form ESGs and ARGs
(Amphibious Ready Groups). In Hindsight The Afghan air war was closer to network-centric models than past wars (Kosovo), but did not quite get there: Not enough sensors Split objectives between hunt for Bin Laden and defeat of Taliban
Conclusion The Afghan War demonstrated the value of naval forces which could operate free of bases, remote sensing assets (satellites), and special forces operations. Sea-basing offered independence, and sensing facilitated the information backplane necessary for networkcentric warfare. All of this is integral to Sea Power 21.
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