Air Power Against Terror

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0REPAREDFOR5NITED3TATES#ENTRAL#OMMAND!IR&ORCES!PPROVEDFORPUBLICRELEASEDISTRIBUTIONUNLIMITEDBenjamin S. Lambethmg166_titlepg.indd 1 10/4/05 12:07:08 PMThe RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

is a registered trademark. Copyright 2005 RAND CorporationAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from RAND.Published 2005 by the RAND Corporation1776 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-21381200 South Hayes Street, Arlington, VA 22202-5050201 North Craig Street, Suite 202, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-1516RAND URL: http://www.rand.org/To order RAND documents or to obtain additional information, contact Distribution Services: Telephone: (310) 451-7002; Fax: (310) 451-6915; Email: [email protected] of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataLambeth, Benjamin S. Air power against terror : America's conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom / Benjamin S. Lambeth. p. cm. MG-166." Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-8330-3724-2 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Afghan War, 2001-United States. 2. Afghan War, 2001-Aerial operations, American. 3. War on Terrorism, 2001-I. Title. DS371.412.L36 2005 958.104'6-dc222005000649Cover photo courtesy of Associated Press/Sergei Grits.The research described in this report was prepared for United States Central Command Air Forces. The research was conducted within the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federal ly funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community under Contract DASW01-01-C-0004. Map of AfghanistanvPrefaceThe attacks carried out against the United States by radical Islamistfanatics on September 11, 2001, almost instantly thrust the nationinto a no-notice war on terror. This sudden showdown against ashadowy but determined foe placed a heightened demand on virtuallyevery resource at the disposal of the new administration of PresidentGeorge W. Bush. The principal ingredients of that war would consistnot only of traditional military moves but also of expanded homelandsecurity measures, diplomatic initiatives, efforts to find and embargoenemy sources of financing, and covert intelligence operations. Al-though the wars initial focus was directed against the immediate per-petrators of the attacksOsama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terroristorganizationthe Bush administration swore that it ultimatelywould bring pressure to bear not only on that and other terroristmovements around the world but also on state leaders who harboredthem.This book assesses the planning and initial execution of Opera-tion Enduring Freedom, the first U.S. response to the terroristattacks of September 11 against al Qaedas center of gravity in Af-ghanistan and against the Taliban theocracy that provided it safe ha-ven. Since that campaign was largely an air war enabled by U.S. andallied special forces and indigenous Afghan opposition groups, thereport focuses predominantly on the air portion of the joint andcombined operations that were conducted in Afghanistan from Oc-tober 7, 2001, through March 2002 by U.S. Central Command(CENTCOM). Its intent is to derive insights of a strategic and opera-vi Air Power Against Terror: Americas Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedomtional nature that not only will be of practical use to U.S. defenseplanners in and of themselves but also will offer a backdrop againstwhich to assess the more complex and demanding Operation IraqiFreedom that took place a year later to bring down the regime ofSaddam Hussein. Although unbeknown to its participants at thetime, Operation Enduring Freedom proved in many ways to havebeen a dress rehearsal for the even more eventful campaign that soonfollowed.The research reported here should interest both uniformed offi-cers in all services and civilian members of the defense establishmentconcerned with strategy and force employment issues raised by thewar in Afghanistan. The research was conducted for U.S. CentralCommand Air Forces (CENTAF) within the International Securityand Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Defense ResearchInstitute, a federally funded research and development center spon-sored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, theunified commands, and the defense agencies.For more information on RANDs International Security andDefense Policy Center, contact the director, James Dobbins. He canbe reached by email at [email protected]; by phone at (703)413-1100 extension 5134; or by mail at the RAND Corporation,1200 South Hayes Street, Arlington, Virginia 22202-5050. More in-formation about RAND is available at www.rand.org.viiContentsPreface .......................................................................vFigures ......................................................................xiSummary...................................................................xiiiAcknowledgments ........................................................xxxiAbbreviations ............................................................ xxxvCHAPTER ONEIntroduction .................................................................1CHAPTER TWOA Nation Girds for War................................................... 13Ensuring Homeland Air Defense .......................................... 18Forming a Coalition ....................................................... 23Shaping a Strategy ......................................................... 38Crafting a Plan............................................................. 49The Buildup of Forces ..................................................... 62CHAPTER THREEThe United States Strikes Back ........................................... 73The Operational Setting ................................................... 75Opening Moves ............................................................ 78From Fixed to Fleeting Targets ............................................ 94Closing Ranks with the Opposition Groups..............................103The Campaign Hits a Slump .............................................105viii Air Power Against Terror: Americas Conduct of Operation Enduring FreedomThe Allied Contribution..................................................116The Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul ....................................119CHAPTER FOURA Shift in Strategy........................................................135Hunting Down an Elusive Quarry .......................................138Toward the Consolidation of Initial Gains ...............................144The Battles of Tora Bora and Zhawar Kili ...............................149The Final Rout of the Taliban............................................154CHAPTER FIVEOperation Anaconda .....................................................163Initial Planning ...........................................................164A Troubled Start ..........................................................178The Showdown at Roberts Ridge.........................................186Recovering from the Initial Setbacks .....................................192The Endgame of Enduring Freedom .....................................200Anaconda Issues...........................................................204Toward Better Air-Ground Coordination................................221CHAPTER SIXDistinctive Aspects and Achievements...................................247Data Fusion Comes of Age ...............................................253A New Air-Ground Synergy ..............................................258Humanitarian Relief and Force Sustainment .............................263Space Support to Force Employers .......................................274CAOC Operations........................................................280The Buildup at Manas ....................................................285New Technology Applications............................................287CHAPTER SEVENProblems in Execution ...................................................293Early Tensions Between the CAOC and CENTCOM...................295The Impact of Rules-of-Engagement Constraints ........................311The Trend Toward Centralized Execution...............................324Contents ixIntegrating Other Government Agencies .................................330The Costs of the High Operating Tempo ................................331CHAPTER EIGHTConclusions...............................................................337Innovations in Force Employment .......................................339Persistent Problems in Need of Attention ................................343On Balance................................................................357Bibliography..............................................................371xiFigures2.1. CENTCOMs Area of Responsibility ............................ 633.1. Afghan Operating Area ........................................... 795.1. Operation Anaconda Planned Disposition of Forces ............1785.2. Operation Anaconda Aircraft Stack .............................1966.1. Strike Sorties Through December 2