Western forces: If at first you fail, throw more resources at the problem!

If at first you fail, throw more resources at the problem!
Contrary to pretensions, this is the state of the Western applied operational art.

Kosovo Air War 1999:
 "When asked about effects-based targeting applications in Allied Force, the former commander of the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, which provides senior warfighters with the principal analytical support for such targeting, remarked, "the campaign was more like random acts of violence than true effects-based targeting. The legal restrictions and political constraints in the target approval process were inexplicably given as excuses not to do effects-based targeting. Achieving the desired effects while minimizing the undesired effects, particularly under the restrictions and constraints that were placed on SACEUR, is precisely why effects-based targeting should have been applied. Anything else is just high-tech vandalism."
"NATO's Air War for Kosovo" Benjamin S. Lanbeth, RAND Corporation

Quite the same happened in Afghanistan 2001-2011:

It's an all-too human phenomenon, as mentioned before. I just think it's worthwhile to remind people about the lack of sophistication in actual military campaigns, which runs contrary to the impression communicated by the armed bureaucracies and its princes themselves.


*: The sorties statistic shows a lesser increase. The ratio US-allies was reversed over Libya, for which I did not find a statistic on aircraft committed during OP "Unified Protector".


  1. But what's the alternative?
    Its easy to blame the military,and frequently, they are at fault.

    But if we look at the Levant campaign being waged currently, what exactly could they do differently?
    No boots on the ground is a political decision
    No arming the minority groups bring persecuted is a geopolitical decision
    No civilian casualties is a political decision

    So what's left?
    Bomb empty buildings in the hope they contain useful kit, bomb empty vehicles in the hope they aren't decoys, bomb holes in the ground you've designated 'firing positions' because something must be bombed.

    1. Efficiency tends to drop as quantity of resources applied grows.

      An air force could focus on improving air-ground cooperation and on provoking target exposure rather than simply adding resources.

    2. Efficiency tends to increase due to economies of scale when applied to producing the materiel needed.

  2. @TrT

    If no boots on the ground are available the basic question for me is, whether daylight air raids give the enemy a moral boost that outweights the damage suffered by him.


    1. The Kurds may take offense at your assertion that there are no boots on the ground.

    2. My working model still holds: The only forces able to perform some kind of manouver warfare with more or less armoured forces are the guys of IS, the Peshmerga have the moral, but neither the hardware nor the training to defeat them in the open terrain; the Iraqi forces are complete duds in this respect.

      As USA or Turkey do not want to spend ground forces, the air strikes do IMHO the IS a favour.

      As long as IS does not try to fight in urban neighbourhoods with Shiite population, they are in a quite confortable position.


  3. Replies
    1. That just explains the use of air force, but just because you are a hammer doesn't mean you go around banging on all of the furniture.