Operation Enduring Freedom showed once again that air power can be more effective in many circumstances if it is teamed with ground elements that can identify and, in the case of Afghanistan, shape, flush out, and concentrate enemy forces. (261)
What was demonstrated in Afghanistan was not classic close air support but rather something closer to ground-enabled precision strike. The latter was distinguished by ground forces supporting air power rather than the other way around through the provision of targeting and combat identification in the same manner that such support to air operators is provided by other offboard sensors and methods. (262)
In the end, Operation Enduring Freedom was the first American campaign in which, for several months, everything the military used, including fuel, had to be airlifted into Afghanistan because the country was landlocked. (272)
Space Support: In all, nearly 100 satellites contributed either directly or indirectly to allied military operations… (274)
In all, the demand for space support to warfighters in Operation Enduring Freedom spotlighted a growing need to manage available bandwidth better. (279)
Problems in execution fit into three broadly discernible categories: (295)
1. Unusually tense intracommand relations within CENTCOM, particularly during the first two months of the war.
2. Unusually restrictive rules of engagement that flowed from the highest levels of the US government.
3. A tendency toward both centralized adaptive planning and centralized execution of operations by CENTCOM that was made possible by the unprecedented worldwide sensor and communications connectivity.
Most salient features of the Afghan air war: (342)
Collateral damage avoidance and stringent ROE (343)
That incident starkly dramatized the need for collateral damage avoidance standards to become ever more exacting, at least in the most politically sensitive circumstances, if the US is to prevail in the propaganda war. (347)
A proven asymmetric counter to our technology advantages available to unprincipled opponents like the Taliban is to attack the legitimacy of American combat involvement by creating collateral damage incidents and then forcing us, in effect, to prove our freedom from guilt. (347)
The most fundamental issue with respect to time-sensitive targeting concerns the level at which specific target-approval decisions should be made. (350)
Link 16 (352)
CENTCOM’s initial air strategy: (358)
1. Achieve control of the air.
2. Go after fixed military targets of note and to render those unusable.
3. Put Taliban and al Qaeda forces on the run and go after them in detail.