CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE IN CENTAF’S DUEL WITH THE REPUBLICAN GUARD.
BY WILLIAM F. ANDREWS
Note: This is a white paper written by Major Andrews. William F. Andrews graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. After receiving his wings at Columbus AFB, Mississippi he instructed primary jet training in the T-37. In 1984, he converted to EF-111s at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. As an EF-111A instructor pilot in the 390th Electronic Combat Squadron, he served as the squadron chief of weapons and tactics. Major Andrews converted to the F-16 in 1989. Reporting for duty at Hahn AB, Germany, he served as chief of programming, flight commander, and assistant operations officer.
In January and February 1991, Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) conducted an air-to-ground onslaught against Iraq’s Republican Guard. The requirements of this operation conflicted with several aspects of the U.S. Air Force’s preparations for a European battleground. The low-altitude tactics CENTAF crews had practiced for the previous decade and a half were unsuitable for the task at hand.
This study examines how effectively CENTAF adjusted air operations against the Republican Guards to the changing realities of combat. The extent to which existing USAF doctrine prepared CENTAF for this operation provides a baseline for the amount of adaptation required. The subsequent narrative identifies tactical innovations developed during the operation, the main elements of adaptive process, those factors that helped and hindered the process, and the sources of CENTAF’s innovations.