Expeditionary Airbase Seizure and Operations “on the Next ...

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Chapter 7

THE FUTURE: Combat Structuring

Improvement will require not only technological solutions, but also cultural change—A willingness to challenge standard practices, and question current organizational patterns and command practices.

General Richard B. Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff

The United States has witnessed many contingency operations recently that were without deliberate plans and without infrastructure in place. The Air Force has responded to this trend with changes in organization and technology, and the CRG is one of those changes. In the past Air Force units were committed into a combatant commander’s theater through stovepipes: engineers, communicators, medics, airfield managers, security forces, airlift control elements, and so forth. Many times these units outpaced the deployment of commanders and sister services.[1] During such deployments, the units could not function effectively until senior leadership arrived. The CRG is an attempt to guarantee this does not happen in the future. It is an attempt to build a multidisciplinary, cross-functional and, in some cases, cross-cultural team whose mission is to provide first-on-scene Air Force personnel to command, access, and prepare a base for expeditionary operations. To make such a guarantee, the USAF has to be positive we are not just putting old wine into new bottles.

In examining the future of US military operations, there are a few assumptions that must be made in order to adequately posture the CRG for future success. The first key assumption is that the Global War on Terror (GWOT) will continue for the long term, at least through 2015.[2] In that time, the USAF will be able to make the effort to implement changes in CRG organization, training and equipment. The expeditionary nature of the USAF will continue, and force projection from the CONUS will continue to be the nature of US force engagement. Further, we must assume a future adversary will recognize that victory over the United States through force-on-force combat is unrealistic. In the three case studies presented in this thesis, it is evident that taking that ability away can marginalize a nation that projects forces through airbase seizure. If Norway were not taken, the Germans would have had a northern front to deal with. If Kabul and other airfields were not seized, the Soviets would have required more forces and allowed the Afghan leadership time to prepare for the initial assault. Finally, had the United States not been able to seize bases in Iraq, the coalition would have had major issues with power projection and logistical support to friendly forces. Adversaries are designing capabilities and doctrine to deny or limit US forces ability to gain access to a region. Most potential adversaries conclude that by developing the ability to limit and/or interrupt access, it will be possible to reduce our military capability to manageable and sometimes to vulnerable levels.[3]

ORGANIZE: The CRG: Combat Culture

Organization of the Contingency Response Group mission is receiving attention at the highest levels in the USAF. Currently, AMC is examining a new organizational structure that will place the CRGs under a Contingency Response Wing (CRW), which in turn reports to the Expeditionary Mobility Task Forces at Travis and McGuire AFB. This will shore up AMC units but will not bring the structure and practices of ACC or overseas units any closer to those of AMC. Currently, Air Mobility Command has the preponderance of the CRGs and ATs but not the preponderance of capability. USAFE and ACC have special capabilities that AMC is referring to as “playbook options.” These “options” include security forces from the 820th SFG, airborne capability from the 86th CRG in USAFE or possibly ACC[4], and RED HORSE civil engineers from ACC.[5] Any air base opening operation other than an airland or overland insertion in a permissive environment will require forces from outside AMC.


Figure 10, EMTF/CRW Organizational Structure, sourced from HQ/AMC CRG Conference Brief, Brigadier General Self, modified by the author

Additional changes, currently under discussion, include a new security forces (SF) force module designed specifically for CRG protection and operations. This new module includes 26 SF personnel assigned to the CRG. AMC air traffic control (ATC) requirements are also currently under development, but not yet included in the CRG force module. These ATC requirements include 9 personnel and all the required equipment to provide true IFR (instrument flight rules/all weather landing ability) capability. At present, AMC CRGs rely on STT forces to provide ATC services.[6]

To alleviate readiness concerns, the CRGs will be aligned within the Air Expeditionary Forces (AEF) structure. For each AEF cycle, a lead CRG will be identified. This lead CRG will be the first tasked to support airbase-opening missions during that cycle, unless overriding operational requirements, such as jump qualifications or security requirements, dictate tasking a different CRG across command lines. [7] This formal alignment should assist the CRGs in establishing a training schedule, increase preparedness and allow the AEF Center to monitor or task the CRG capability according to a pre-identified schedule.

Organization of the personnel in the CRG is another issue. The group is unique in that it contains air force specialty codes (AFSC) or career fields from a myriad of Air Force organizations. Airmen from the intelligence, medical, fuels, communications, operations and many others come together to work in the CRG. This creates an environment where a cohesive combat culture is difficult to nurture. Airmen may identify more with the AFSC or career field they came from and not the organization to which they are currently assigned. One concept to alleviate some of these issues is to create an AFSC for the CRGs Air Force wide. If USAF senior leadership is serious about the CRG personnel being key to the future of the Air Force, these people should be recognized. This would serve two purposes. First, it would identify the CRG members with the organization. Second, it would assist in placing them in future assignments and sometimes in leadership positions.

Furthermore, the CRG AT has already undergone numerous name changes in its very short history. Names have ranged from Global Mobility Assessment Team (GMAT or GAT), Contingency Base Assessment Team (C-BAT) and today’s AT. The USAF must designate a name for the organization in order to build a cohesive fighting unit. The origins of the AT can be traced back to the Army Pathfinders, first used to mark drop zones in Sicily during the Italian campaign of World War II. The Army currently has Pathfinders; such a name in the Air Force might find issue with the Army. As mentioned in the first chapter of this thesis, the CRG is a unit benefiting all armed services. Armed Forces must transcend parochial interests in the development of the most effective force, the Pathfinder history is easily traced to the USAF, and furthermore the title of USAF Pathfinders might serve the Air Force well in building a combat heritage. The Air Force might opt to build a new tradition in a name such as a USAF Forerunner Team. A forerunner is defined as “One that comes before and indicates the approach of another; a harbinger.”[8] The name is seemingly perfect for a group that is designed to be the first in to an airfield to assess its capabilities for follow on forces.

Illustration 11, CRG Structure, sourced HQ/AMC CRG Conference Brief, Brigadier General Self, modified by the author

TRAIN: The Battlefield Airman

Training is a key issue for the CRG, and before too much effort is placed on training, it must be determined what capabilities the CRG should possess. On a core organizational or mission level, the AMC Air Mobility Warfare Center (AMWC) has been designated by the Vice Chief of Staff (VCSAF) as the lead on developing a comprehensive formal training unit (FTU) for CRGs. The training will not necessarily focus on the specific skill required by the various career fields in the organization, but rather, on deployed skills and functioning as a team in a deployed environment.[9]

As currently envisioned, the course will be approximately two weeks long. The first will focus on the force module concept with specific attention to the open-the-airbase force module. There will also be emphasis placed on those specific functions that are unique to CRG operations in a deployed setting. Most importantly, the training will center on working together as a team to accomplish core CRG tasks in an operational environment. The training will culminate with an exercise to validate the training and serve as a certification tool for CRG forces.[10]

The AMWC has developed EAGLE FLAG, an exercise held at Ft Dix NJ. To date, EAGLE FLAG is not a “training” exercise and thus will not be used as part of the CRG FTU. Rather, EAGLE FLAG will be used as a pre-deployment work-up for CRGs as they become aligned with the AEF rotations. As mentioned earlier, lead CRGs will be pre-identified with each AEF pair. Those CRGs will be targeted for EAGLE FLAG just prior to assuming lead status in conjunction with their respective AEF pair.[11]

CRG forces must further exercise routinely with a variety of joint combat maneuver forces to effectively open airbases across the spectrum of operations. Exercising these CRG forces using a variety of existing training events would greatly facilitate developing joint tactics, training and procedures and prevent the USAF from having to assemble teams in an ad hoc manner. Such events as combat training center (CTC) rotations, joint/service/combatant commander exercises, bi-lateral training, or piggybacking on exercises AMC is already a part of such as Large Package Week (LPW) with the 82nd ABN DIV[12], would certainly serve the CRGs well. Such training would integrate airbase-opening capabilities and address deficiencies in the areas of doctrine and force packaging. Today’s joint exercise objectives should be refined to include transition from airfield seizure to base opening forces. Improvement in these areas will be important to highlight the changes required to ensure more effective operations.[13]

Such joint exercises also serve to build habitual relationships with sister services that pay dividends in combat operations. They will validate required training, which might include jump qualifications for ATs. A “Special Capabilities” AT of eight people would have strategic effects if a future conflict required its employment. This AT would be part of one of the CRGs at Travis and one at McGuire AFB, giving that CRG the designation “Special Capabilities CRG.” AMC has organized flying units in similar ways at Charleston AFB including the 16th Airlift Squadron, which was at one time a SOLLII (Special Operations Low Level) C-141B outfit. The price in training is small: to equip only sixteen individuals command-wide for airborne insertion.[14] The concept has already been validated in Iraq (see chapter 5) recently.[15] The capability in such teams would yield increased options for the nation’s leaders. It is difficult to evaluate the ability such qualifications can offer until the CRG possesses the capability. Perhaps AMC should invest in the training for a period of three years as a trial effort and explore what the option offers the command. General Jumper’s vision for the CRG is rather clear:

Contingency response group capabilities are also emerging within air mobility operations, providing nontraditional skills to base opening. Response group airmen attend Army Ranger School and are jump qualified. These are skills of the modern expeditionary Air Force. We will continue to grow these skills and get the people in these groups that we need to be able to do this in any condition, anywhere in the world. And it’s going to get people’s attention, because we’re going to have jump-qualified engineers, jump-qualified contracting officers, jump-qualified lawyers (and) jump-qualified doctors.[16]

It may be shortsighted to dismiss the capability on the grounds that it may never be employed. If the 86th CRG did not have airborne qualification, who would have opened Bashur? Some would argue the “jump” was not required and the CRG could have airlanded in on the first C-17 on the second night. If the field were not capable of handling a large flow of heavy C-17 aircraft, night two would have been a terrible time to find out; with 1000 Airborne soldiers, then stranded in northern Iraq.

There is another little known possibility that never occurred during Operation Allied Force (OAF) because assessment of the field was deemed impossible. As General Jumper tells the story, this may have been the genesis for the 86th CRG airborne qualification. The USAF was unable to stand up a bare base in Kukas, Albania. There were no roads leading to the base, and General Jumper, the USAFE commander, needed an airdrop to get an AT and RED HORSE team on the field to assess and possibly to repair it. He was briefed that insertion was not possible.[17] Lt Gen Mike McDuffie, Director of Joint Staff Logistics, briefed reporters on 2 Feb 1999 that, “there is a dirt strip up close at Kukas[18]. We don't know the usability of that airfield, though, for C-130s. I mean everybody wants to say it's C-130 capable because of the length, but we really don't have that assessment. Our view, it probably is not.”[19]

As mentioned above, “playbook options,” such as airborne insertion are farmed out to USAFE. The most recent Air Force Contingency Response Group Operational Concept, version 1.0, states: “Some situations may require airborne insertion of forces; therefore, several of these METs (Mission Essential Tasks) will also require airborne/airdrop capability. To address this intermittent requirement, the 86th CRG in USAFE, 613th CRG is PACAF, and the 820th CRG in ACC will be responsible for maintaining one Assessment Team each that is airborne/airdrop qualified.”[20]

The apparent shortsightedness of this plan needs to be addressed. There is much debate as to if the 820th will ever possess any base opening capability beyond providing security forces to the “open the base” force module. If ACC is required to maintain an airborne AT, where will it come from? Will AMC provide that AT to ACC? PACAF’s TALCE is not co-located with the CRG, and it has yet to fully man its CRG.[21] Basically only USAFE will have an AT that is truly capable of airborne insertion and follow-on airbase opening.

As mentioned in chapters 1 and 2, anti-access will become more of an issue for the United States in future operations. Issues with Turkey in OIF should alert America that our allies may not always provide us with basing rights in future conflicts and forced entry options should be examined now, before they are required. Furthermore the Department of Defense has shifted its collective focus towards the so-called, "southern arc that will begin in the Balkans, pass through the Greater Middle East and Persian Gulf, cross South Asia, and continue along the Asian crescent from South East Asia to Taiwan."[22] Even a quick glace illustrates the requirement for forces beyond USAFE to prepare for operations similar to those in Bashur. The “Arc of Instability” includes, not only forces in the European theater, but also in South America, the Middle East, and the Far East regions of the globe. Furthermore, the RAND study A Global Access Strategy for the US Air Force recommended that the US Air Force, "plan, organize, equip and train itself according to a new set of principles suited to a world that demands frequent, short-notice deployments and employments across a spectrum of conflict that may occur virtually anywhere in the world."[23] Again AMC has the bulk of CRG assets, and common sense dictates it should have the bulk of capability. The Operational Concept must be updated to include jump-coded billets for an AT at Travis and McGuire AFBs in order to respond to crisis anywhere on the globe in the 12-hour timeframe laid out in the Operational Concept.


Figure 12. CRGs and the Arc of Instability

Sourced: The United States General Accounting Office, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Military Readiness, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives: Military Readiness: Management Focus Needed on Airfields for Overseas Deployments (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office, June 2001), 5.

Finally, President Bush, in the National Security Strategy of 2002 observed, "before the war in Afghanistan, that area was low on the list of major planning contingencies. Yet in a very short time, we had to operate across the length and breadth of that remote nation, using every branch of the armed forces. We must prepare for such deployments."[24]

No one, in the world, challenges the USAF in air-to-air combat, yet F-15 units continue to thrive. The 82nd ABN DIV has not made a combat jump in years, yet it is the Army’s pride. Both the USAF’s Eagle Squadrons and the Army’s 82nd ABN DIV possess a known capability, which offers this country’s leaders options and a deterrent to potential adversaries. Airborne qualifications for the AT may be the first such capability the USAF requires in the group. Ranger, Air Assault, and other options should be examined as required

Another training opportunity for Contingency Response Groups and their personnel may be to leverage against the “Battlefield Airman” concept. At the Air Force Association’s Symposium in Orlando FL, 14 February 2004, James G. Roche, Secretary of the Air Force, directed special attention to what he termed “Battlefield Airmen”—USAF personnel on the ground who work directly with land forces.[25] The Air Force plans to pull together all battlefield airmen—including combat controllers, pararescuemen, combat weather specialists, enlisted terminal attack controllers, and tactical air control party airmen—under a common organizational and training structure. Dr. Roche said that will “strengthen the combat power they bring to the battlefield, whether they bring it as part of ACC or part of AFSOC.”[26] Now is an excellent time for AMC to bring forward the CRG as an essential capability on the ground for working with land forces. Without the CRG, forces will have a difficult time getting on the ground through newly opened airbases. The CRG could use this opportunity to integrate and train with other USAF Battlefield Airmen and build those habitual relationships for the future.

ATC in the CRG is still an item of intense discussion. It has been noted as a lesson learned as far back as Joint Endeavor (Dec 95) that having ATC capability early in the flow when opening a new airbase is critical. However, the capability continues to exist primarily with AFSOC STT forces. AMC has developed a personnel concept for rapid deployment to provide the required capability, however these personnel are not yet in the open-the-airbase Force Module and thus are not currently in the proposed CRG.[27]

Training is critical to the future success of these units, and all the more tough to accomplish in a unit such as a CRG that has a high deployment rate. Yet with the predictability of the AEF cycle, the opportunities can be realized to great effect. The learning curve will be steep, especially when the USAF is setting out to create a new organization with new capabilities, but as the units are trained, the learning curve will diminish. By leveraging against training that is already scheduled, such as airborne training with Large Package Week at Ft Bragg, the Joint Readiness Training Center, Ft Polk, and the National Training Center, Ft Irwin, the CRGs will develop working relationships with sister services. Channels of communication must be developed with the 86th CRG in Europe and STS in the CONUS. Creative thinking might suggest partnering with the RAF Regiment or using contractors such as Blackwater[28] in North Carolina. The Air Force has several options at its disposal to mentor these newer AMC CRGs and to have an eminently capable force for the future.

EQUIP: For Tomorrow’s Conflict

Equipping a CRG for its mission is somewhat intuitive; providing the unit with personnel might require some deeper thought. For the mission, a CRG, by its very nature must be light. Everything the AT needs initially should be carried on the individuals’ backs. Once the base is open and airlift starts to flow, more equipment can be brought in. In building the habitual relationships with STS and sister services, the USAF will have the opportunity to examine their best practices of other units and adapt their requirements.

Former PACAF commander, General Patrick K. Gamble notes, “The CRS (Contingency Response Squadron) was born from lessons learned in the Balkans….In Kosovo they found when they had to go into an airfield, a small field never seen before, they didn’t know what they’re were getting into until they looked at it. The lesson is we’ve got to get eyes on the target. The squadron is the command’s eyes. Its job is to fly into contingency operations first and evaluate the situation, surroundings and terrain.” Gamble’s only direction to the planners was that the team had to fit in one C-130. “Build me one C-130’s worth of capability,” Gamble said. “Tell me what you need, what the team ought to look like, and what kind of communications and assessment equipment it’ll need. You’ll get it.”[29]

General Gamble’s advice is perfect. AMC might re-examine their current vehicle fleet that includes vehicles such as HMMWVs [30] and M-Gators[31] and opt for smaller lighter modes of transportations such as all terrain motorcycles, which have been used to great effect by STS and Army Rangers.[32] These 250CC motorcycles are light and take far less room in the back of a C-130, where space is a premium, especially when inserting with other units. AMC does have excellent procurement practices in their former C-141 and now C-17 SOLLII units. Examining lessons learned from those that supplied such squadrons should prove invaluable.

Critical thinking is required as well. Any member involved in creating this future force must think beyond the last war to bring out any combat capability the warfighter might need now, before the next fight. As the CSAF pointed out, it will not be the command that figures out how best to employ a weapons system. It will be the line captain, who lives and breathes combat operations, who comes up with great innovative ideas. The command’s job is to foster and embrace this process providing an avenue for that “smart” captain’s ideas to come to fruition.[33] With today’s technology, there are many items that are available that may be adapted to the mission of the AT. A great example of such thinking and a potential idea worth borrowing is the adaptation of a helicopter “smart kneeboard” by the bomber community. This smart kneeboard incorporates a GPS datalink. A CRG troop can use his “smart kneeboard” on the ground and circle his position with a stylus. The smart kneeboard simultaneously displays the information entered by the ground personnel to others on the ground or inbound aircraft.[34] The same kneeboard could display inbound aircraft landing times and parking positions to the CRG, which would serve to decrease aircraft turn times, which in turn expedites the build up of forces at the airhead.

Items such as backpack UAVs should find great use in the CRG. These UAVs can be employed by either the AT or security forces with the CRG and view approach and departure corridors for incoming and departing aircraft. Such information provides both the CRG and aircrew with important data concerning threats from shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles or small arms fire. This capability is available now and already used by some military units. These UAVs are equipped with a miniature camera with the capability to beam a video stream back to a laptop computer being operated by a SF Team overseeing airfield security.[35] General Jumper noted, “Now we are not going to be able to put 1,000 people around an airfield like the Army can, so we are going to have to do it with hi-tech.”[36] This backpack UAV is only one example of hi-tech innovation that enables a small group to provide force protection on a large scale.

The possibilities are limited only by imagination and funds. Equipping the CRG with the appropriate personnel is a more challenging premise. The key is to get the word to people in the Air Force that the CRG is an exciting place to work and a growth industry. When individuals understand that they can make a difference in a unit, people flock to it. AMC is currently looking at developing a Phoenix Horizon Program to recruit officers into the CRG. Phoenix Horizon’s goal is to create a large pool of highly competitive mobility officers through leadership development programs. Horizon enables AMC to identify, track and place mobility officers into key joint, OSD, and Air Staff positions. This translates to increased visibility for the CRG and increased opportunities for the officer.[37]

CRGs need to market themselves at Airman Leaderships Schools, NCO Academies and the Senior NCO Academy as well. Senior Leadership in the EMTF should travel to the Wings under their purview and deliver “Spread the Word” briefings on the changes, challenges and opportunities at the CRG.

Taking care of people in the CRG is key as well. Identify with the unit and developing culture is extremely important to any organization. The CRG, as a career field, should have a way to be identified. Most career fields in the USAF have career badges that identify that individual with his/her specialty. The CRG must do the same to build community in the career field. Assessment Team uniform “Tabs” similar to what AMC Phoenix Ravens[38] wear on their shoulders would identify the AT to sister services. Further it is noted that all organizations that identify themselves as “Battlefield Airmen,”-- the security forces and special tactics teams that are present during the initial phases of airbase opening--wear a beret. Another way to identify with the heritage and community is to issue a beret to members of the CRG. The color is not important; it could be Air Force blue or dark gray, but this identifies those responsible for base opening.[39] In an environment where helmets are not required, this would enable, both USAF and sister services to immediately identify those responsible for the expeditionary base, be it SF, STS or CRG.


Figure 13, CRG Badges and Tabs, sourced from the author


There are several areas that need to find closure in the CRG Operational Concept. The total number of CRGs required across the AF has not yet been definitively established. This requirement will drive the several overarching organizational changes, such as the Contingency Response Wing, as well as manpower and equipment needs for the various CRGs. Current assumption is that nine CRGs will be formed – six for AMC, one each for ACC, USAFE, PACAF.[40]

The AMWC is working on developing a syllabus to stand up a CRG Formal Training Unit. Joint training is critical to the success of airbase opening/CRG operations. EAGLE FLAG is but one of the many opportunities to exercise this capability. We must also take advantage of the opportunities offered by JRTC, LPW, SAFE FLAG, etc. to insure that CRGs maintain a high level of proficiency not only in their respective AFSC job specialty skills, but also in those expeditionary skills required for airbase opening operations.

What must be done now? All of the items listed above must be worked through, but the concept will still take time to initiate. Changing physical artifacts, such as equipment, physical symbols, organizational charts, and AFSCs, as soon as possible is a high priority. Doing so will illustrate to the Airmen in the field that the CRG is indeed the way of the future and that senior leadership is serious about its importance. First, the names for units--the CRG, the AT, and CRW--must all be agreed upon quickly. Training must be examined and a course determined. This includes sending the first groups to airborne school as an indication of the future vision for the CRG. Exercises with sister services should be scheduled and a cross-tell program set up between CRGs and other organizations to include STS. And, finally, any of the above suggestions--headgear, uniform tabs, CRG badges--create a sense of community, evidence of CRG membership. Any or all of these are low in cost to the USAF yet high in pay-off to a new career field. It further illustrates the new CRG is not just a renaming of an old stovepiped system.


The United States is standing on the verge of incredible capability on a strategic scale. The USAF is going through changes that will impact the organization for years to come, it is important that the service gets this right. As the Air Force contemplates changes to its structure, organizations and weapons systems, it is important to remember the basics, how it deploys and supports global reach.

All the case studies presented illustrate that speed and surprise are key to enabling successful airbase seizures and follow-on airbase opening. The Germans, Soviets and the United States, historically, have spent a great deal of time and thought developing this capability. The United States capability flourished in World War II, but has struggled after the Cold War in developing truly effective units that can rapidly deploy, organize and quickly open an airbase in a hostile or semi-permissive environment.

Harkening to the past, the Luftwaffe utilized a CRG-like organization to enable the seizure of airfields in Norway. The strategic impact of the operation prevented the Allies from developing a northern front, pushed the British naval blockade as far from the German coast as possible, and allowed the Germans the iron ore required for its war effort. The newly seized airbases in Norway allowed the Germans to strike northern portions of the British Isles. The Soviet Air Force used their special forces in a CRG role in Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan in order to strike quickly and keep the Afghans off balance during the initial phases of their invasion. The United States deployed units in Iraq that were highly successful in rapidly opening bases, but America can do better. Against a smart adversary, the USAF might not have enjoyed the success we did in OIF. We must organize, train and equip today for the future.

Senior leaders are focused on several large changes to the CRG and the way the USAF will deploy in the future. As General Jumper noted, “the time for Air Mobility is now …and it is time to take it the next level.” Air Mobility Command must be ready to transform its legacy AMOG into the light, lean and lethal organization that future conflicts will demand. This is not an easy feat, the training will be tough, the doctrine will be non-traditional, and leaders will have to think in different and creative ways, but people in the CRG will be able to make a difference in future operations. The CRG concept is too important to permit failure; the impact will be felt in the way the USAF employs, how effective it is in combat, in how personnel perceive their contribution to the fight. A new career field is being melded today and all the things that go with it must be thought through, including the culture of the organization. The time for change is now and the rewards from the change will be felt quickly, and future conflict may depend on how quickly the USAF can deploy, and employ our air assets to deter aggression wherever it may be.


[1] John P. Jumper, General USAF, “Rapidly Deploying Aerospace Power” Aerospace Power Journal, Winter 1999, on-line, Internet, 3 Decemeber 2004, available from: airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj99/win99/jumper.htm.

[2] Joint Forcible Entry Operations, Joint Enabling Concept, Version .86 30 Jan 2004, Action Officer-Level Draft Version, 39.

[3] Ibid.

[4] There is some debate as the when or if ACC will have the organic ability to open airbases, the 820th SFG can provide security forces to enhance the “open the base” FM.

[5] Air Force Contingency Response Group Operational Concept, Version 4.3 DRAFT, 3, and Brigadier General Self and Major Detwiler, interviewed by the author, 30 Jan 2004, 10 Jan 2004, respectively.

[6]Briefing, Airbase Opening—Contingency Response Group (CRG), Maj Gen Mark Volcheff, AMC/A3, Maj Gen Mike DeCuir, ACC/DO CAF/MAF 2004 Commander’s Conference Briefing, Scott AFB, Ill, version 1.0.

[7] Air Force Operational Concept, Air Force Contingency Response Group Operational Concept, Version 4.3 DRAFT, HQAMC/A3A,7.

[8] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition 2000, Houghton Mifflin Company.

[9] Air Force Contingency Response Group Operational Concept, 13.

[10] Ibid 14.

[11] Ibid, 15.

[12] Large Package Week [LPW] is a joint Army and Air Force preparation exercise for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. The exercise culminates the 82nd Airborne’s intensive training cycle, which prepares one brigade, designated the division-ready brigade, to go on 24-hour standby for deployment. Large Package Week is a joint Army and Air Force training exercise held several times a year to practice large-scale airdrop missions for personnel and equipment. Large Package Week is a quarterly training exercise designed to build cohesiveness between the 82nd Airborne and Air Mobility Command units. On-line, Internet, 10 April, 2004, available from: .

[13] Air Force Contingency Response Group Operational Concept, 14.

[14] Price of Airborne Basic School is the cost of travel and per deim only. (Per Mr. Steve Crumley, Training and Integration Branch, XVIII Airborne Corps) Cost of recurring training should be minimal, as AMC owns all assets that participate in LPW, NTC, JRTC and other airborne training events. LPW alone trains thousands of jumpers, one week every 90 days; AMC would require 16-20 of those thousand seats. A small price to pay for the increase in strategic capability. Basic Jump currency requires one jump every 90 days.

[15] Along with the Luftwaffe in Norway and Soviets in Afghanistan- airborne insertion was planned but not utilized

[16] Cynthia Bauer, CSAF: “The Time for Air Mobility is Now,” Air Force Print News Today, 3 Nov 2003.

[17] Creighton Cook, Lt Col, USAF After Action Report For CSAF C-17 Mission, Charleston AFB, SC, December 2003.

[18] Further info on Kukas from Lt Gen McDuffie: “The report out of Kukas, which is the tough area there in Albania, was that we had about ten days of food. …When people come across the border, they usually are eating something and clothed. The one issue that we're working on right now is the health issue. The initial refugees as they came across were actually pretty healthy. But if you remember, they weren't moving too far because they were in the southern part of Kosovo. Now, the refugees that are starting to come across the border have come from quite a ways. And we're starting to see a little bit more of a deterioration in health.” On-line, Internet, 3 April 2004, available from: defenselink.mil/transcripts/1999/t04021999_t040299.html

[19] United States Department of Defense, News Brief 2 April 1999, on-line, internet, 12 April 2004,available from: defenselink.mil/transcripts/1999/t04021999_t040299.html

[20] Air Force Contingency Response Group Operational Concept, 8.

[21] Airbase Opening—Contingency Response Group (CRG), (PACAF Slide).

[22] Institute for National Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment 1999: Priorities for a Turbulent World (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office), xvii.

[23] David A. Shlapak et al., A Global Access Strategy for the US Air Force (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2002), xiv-xv.

[24] George W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002, 29, on-line, Internet, 26 January 2004, available from .

[25] John Tirpak and Adam Herbert, “Battlefield Airmen,” Air Force Magazine, Online, April 2004, Vol 87, No.4, 15 April 2004, on-line, Internet, 2 May 2004, Available from:

[26] Ibid

[27] Airbase Opening—Contingency Response Group (CRG),

[28] Blackwater Training Center was founded in 1996 to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing of firearms and related security training. Located on over 6000 acres in Moyock, North Carolina (just south of the Virginia border), Blackwater has the finest private firearms training facility in the United States Blackwater has set a new standard for firearms and security training and is recognized as the industry leader in providing government outsource solutions in training, security, canine services, aviation support services, range construction and steel target equipment. Since its inception, Blackwater has trained over 50,000 military and law enforcement personnel and provided solutions to hundreds of satisfied customers.

[29]Jim Greeley, Sgt, USAF, Wave of Change, Pacific Air Forces Headquarters swept up by Operation Kuter,” Airman Magazine, online, May 2001, on-line, Internet, 15 January 2004, available from: .

[30] The HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) is a light, highly mobile, diesel-powered, four-wheel-drive vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission. The HMMWV can be configured to become a troop carrier, armament carrier, S250 shelter carrier, ambulance, TOW missile carrier, and a Scout vehicle. On-line, Internet, 12 April 2004, available at .

[31] M-Gator is basically a military golf cart. It's a six-wheeled topless vehicle able to go through all types of terrain. It stands about three feet off the ground and is much more mobile than a HMMWV. The two-seated vehicle is capable of hauling up to 1,400 pounds of equipment in two cargo trays. The smaller equipment tray on the hood holds about two cubic feet in volume compared to the 14 cubic feet of the rear tray. The 18-horsepower M-Gator runs on diesel fuel and can reach a speed of 17 miles per hour. On-line, Internet, 12 April 2004, available at

[32] Each Ranger Battalion also possesses ten 250CC motorcycles that assist in providing security and mobility during airfield seizures. Most commonly used as listening posts/observation posts (LP/OPs), or as an economy of force screen for early warning, the motorcycles offer the commander tactical mobility. On-line, Internet, 10 February 2004, available at: .

[33] Cook, CSAF After-action Report For CSAF C-17 Mission.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Lynn Lunsford, “Bird-size spy planes see, hear and even smell the enemy” The Wall Street Journal, 3 March, 2003, on-line, Internet, 2 April 2004, available from: .

[36] John P. Jumper, USAF, interviewed by the author 19 April 04.

[37] William Knight, USAF, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, A14D, Email dated, 1 March 2004.

[38] Phoenix Ravens are specially trained Security Force Teams that travel with AMC Aircrews and protect the aircraft while the crew is in crew rest. These teams are used when an AMC asset is forced to Remain over night at a field where security is in question.

[39] Wear of berets in the Air Force began in the 1970s. In 1979, enlisted personnel in the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) AFSC (job) authorized the black beret for wear. In 1984, two Airmen from Pope Air Force Base, NC. submitted a design for the flash and crest design. It was approved for all TACP Airmen in 1985. Air Liaison Officers (ALOs) are also authorized to wear the black beret after they graduate from the Joint Firepower Control Course, conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, NV. Instead of the crest, they wear their rank insignia on the beret.  Air Mobility Liaison Officers (AMLOs) are authorized to wear the black beret in the Air Force, as well. In addition to the black beret worn by TACP/ALOs/AMLOs, colored berets in the Air Force are worn by Pararescue, Combat Controllers, Security Forces and Combat Weather. On-line, Internet, 15 April 2004, available at:

[40] Air Force Contingency Group Operational Concept, 12.




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