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In the Opening Days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Coalition ... - BIPAC

In the Opening Days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Coalition ... - BIPAC

In the Opening Days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Coalition ... -

ALASKA CLEAN ENERGY SYMPOSIUM IINATIONAL SECURITY AND U.S. ENERGYMILTON R. COPULOSPRESIDENT, NATIONAL DEFENSE COUNCIL FOUNDATIONMay 25, 2005In the Opening Days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Coalition forces were faced with adilemma. Foreclosed from moving forces into Northern Iraq through Turkey by thatgovernment’s March 1, 2003 decision to deny U.S. use of its territory in the conflict,another avenue of insertion had to be found. Since Iraq and Syria were the other twonations bordering the region, the only option left was an air assault.On March 26, 2003, 15 C-17 Globemaster transport planes carried 1,000 troops of the173 rd Airborne Brigade to Northern Iraq in Operation Northern Delay, the 29 th combatjump in U.S. history. Their target: a Kurdish-controlled airfield near Bashur, Iraq. Theirobjective: secure a landing zone for the C-130 transports that would bring in additionalsupplies. Their mission: win control of the invaluable oil fields eighty miles away.But the insertion of troops was not the only complication the Turkish Parliament’sdecision to deny access to its territory as a staging area created. An even greater problemwas how to ensure sufficient resupply without access to a land route – especially resupplyof critical fuel.As I considered the obstacles that the coalition faced in Northern Iraq, I was struck by thefact that they embodied the circumstances our forces will face increasingly in the futuredue to the radical transformation of the global threat environment.It is a situation much on the minds of military planners as the Department of Defensegoes through the process of Force Transformation.FM 100-5, the U.S. Army’s Statement of Doctrine puts the problem this way:“The global realities of today are in a period of significant change. Army forcesmay find themselves called upon to fight under conditions of rapid forceprojection, that can build to major sustained operations in war and peace orthat can terminate quickly only to lead to other commitments elsewhere.”To meet this challenge we must maintain the capability to move troops where and whenwe need to – in particular, given our recent history, to the Persian Gulf.It is really nothing more that what the famed Civil War cavalry officer Stonewall Jacksondescribed more than a hundred years ago as “Getting there fastist with the mostist.”1

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