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Airfield Seizure, The Modern 'Key To The Country'

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Length: 52 pages49 minutes

Summary

This monograph examines the key determinants necessary for the successful forced entry seizure of an airfield. The importance of contingency operations is paramount to the United States military as it transitions from "forward defense" to "CONUS based." The ability to project power into an isolated objective area requires the rapid deployment and forced entry of a tailored force package. For many of our current OPLANS, the seizure of an airfield serves as a lodgment area for the introduction of combat power into the objective. The success of the entire contingency operation, in large part, depends upon the successful seizure of the airfield.
The monograph analyzes three historical cases of airfield seizures using the Wass de Czege combat power model. Operation Mercury (Crete, 1941), Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada, 1983), and Operation Just Cause (Panama, 1989) are examples of operations that introduce combat power into the objective area. This analysis identifies the key determinants for the successful forced entry seizure of an airfield.
This study concludes that an airfield seizure is fundamentally a deliberate attack to seize a terrain oriented objective. Success is achieved by the synchronization of maneuver, firepower, and protection by capable leadership. However, the unique nature of an airfield seizure requires special application of the four elements of combat power to ensure mission accomplishment.

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