Official Air Force document outlines military assistance to insurgencies
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday August 23, 2007


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The Air Force is ready to aid insurgencies.

According to a lengthy new Air Force document, which outlines US strategies for "Irregular Warfare," military resources will sometimes be needed to help insurgencies in foreign countries.

The 103-page document, published earlier this month, takes lessons from the last six years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to outline Air Force policies in "a violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant populations." Secrecy News first reported on the document.

Gen. T. Michael Mosely, the Air Force's chief of staff, observes the document is meant to be "broad, enduring, and forward-looking, rather than focusing on any particular operation, current or past."

Much of the document outlines US Air Force policies in helping allies fight insurgencies to maintain stability within their countries, but the document acknowledges that in some instances the US may side with non-state guerrilla groups.

In the types of asymmetrical conflicts outlined in the Air Force Doctrine Document 2-3, US government organizations may need to "recruit, organize, train, and advise indigenous guerrilla or partisan forces." Counterinsurgency is not the military's only objective.

"Given certain risk factors and political considerations, the Air Force may help non-US aviation assets conduct special air operations supporting indigenous/surrogate surface forces," the document observes in a section on "Support to Insurgencies. "In some UW (unconventional warfare) operations, the use of US military aircraft may be inappropriate, tactically or politically. In those cases, training, advising, and assisting the aviation forces of insurgent groups, resistance organizations, or third-country nationals may be the only viable option."

The document focuses solely on Air Force policies for irregular warfare, but implies the same strategies would be used by other branches of the military and government agencies.

"The complex nature of IW requires the combined capabilities of all military services, government agencies, and partner nations," the document observes. "While this document focuses on Air Force doctrine, IW is inherently a joint and inter-agency fight."