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Newsletter 10-63
September 2010

Section 2: Maneuver


Army and Navy Joint Operations: A GLO's Perspective

MAJ Dan Collins and 2LT Richard Elias, 3-4 Air Defense Artillery Regiment

For years, the Army and Air Force have worked closely by providing liaisons to each other to better integrate the ground and air fight. The Air Force provided air liaison officers (ALOs) to the Army and the Army provided ground liaison officers (GLOs) to the Air Force. Colonel (Retired) Glenn W. Harp was the visionary behind placing a GLO team on the carrier strike groups serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

On 27 August 2006, SFC Elias, now 2LT Elias, and I were sent out to USS Enterprise (CVN-65) to link up with the Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW 1). The Enterprise was departing the Persian Gulf to support OEF from the North Arabian Sea. With most joint operations, some issues arose in regard to communication. While supporting operations in Iraq the strike group was able to communicate from the ship to the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) through the Secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) Net. The transition to OEF would require us to communicate with the JTACs through Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange system (CENTRIX) Global Counter-Terrorism Forces (GCTF).

All carrier strike groups operated off of CENTRIX Coalition Naval Forces Central (CNFC) to communicate with our coalition partners. The Enterprise Strike Group was operating off the assumption that all CENTRIX systems were interoperable. When our team arrived on the carrier, many meetings were required to describe the differences and requirements for CENTRIX GCTF to operate on the USS Enterprise. The main justification for bringing the CENTRIX GCTF package onboard the Enterprise was to provide up-to-date changes to the Joint Tactical Air Support Requests (JTASRs) and better situational awareness from the JTACs.

Once we overcame the hurdle of getting the CENTRIX GCTF package aboard the USS Enterprise, the GLO team's usefulness became apparent. For the first time pilots coming from a carrier air wing would have even more situational awareness than previous JTASRs they supported. The air tasking order (ATO) cycle would provide the pilots with a JTASR that was up to 72 hours old. Our team was in direct contact with the JTACs that our pilots would support right up to the time they went through their crew briefings. As details for the operations changed from the original JTASR, we could provide them with up to the minute details as a part of their crew briefing.

On the ship, our team operated out of the Carrier Intelligence Center or CVIC. We worked hand-in-hand with the air wing's targeting cell. We would receive the JTASRs that our pilots would support. Most JTASRs came with imbedded graphics for the pilots to use in the aircraft. We would work with both the JTAC and the targeting cell to build more useful graphics for the pilots to take with them. We were also the conduit to send the graphics the targeting cell developed back to the JTAC. This kept both the pilots coming from our strike group and the JTAC talking to each other off of the same grid reference graphics (GRG).

The GLO team's ability to monitor multi-user Internet Relay Chat (mIRC) while the aircraft were supporting was crucial in providing the Strike Group Commander and Air Wing Commander with situational awareness on whether their pilots were remaining on their assigned JTASR or being redirected to support troops in contact (TICs). Many times we were able to track potential TICs prior to the pilots departing the ship and provide them with additional GRGs just in case they were redirected. During our time supporting OEF most of the TICs that our aircraft supported would go kinetic. By providing additional GRGs to those pilots who we thought would be directed to support a TIC, we increased their effectiveness and lethality.

Prior to our GLO team being aboard the aircraft carrier, the effectiveness of the close air support (CAS); nontraditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (NTISR); or TIC support would not make it back to the aircrews. We would monitor when our crews cleared station via mIRC chat and start asking the JTACs how well our crews supported them. If our crews supported a TIC we would have an initial battle damage assessment (BDA) for the effects of their kinetic strike(s) before they returned to the ship. The carrier's aircrews and Sailors received a tremendous morale boost when they heard about their decisive involvement in ground operations.

During our time at sea we served with three different carrier strike groups. We started on the Enterprise Strike Group, followed by the Eisenhower Strike Group (CVN-69), and finished operating with the Nimitz Strike Group (CVN-68). When the ground troop surge started, the Navy provided the John C. Stennis Strike Group (CVN-74) to overlap coverage with the Eisenhower. Because of our GLO team's success, a second GLO team was requested to be sent to the Stennis.

The Army should consider placing GLO teams at the Naval Air Wings the way it places GLO teams with Air Force Wings. The integration should start with sending the GLO teams with the targeting cells of each air wing at Fallon, Nevada. The targeting team and GLOs should go to the Joint Air Tasking Order Processes Course (JATOPC) and the Joint Fires Course (JFC) together. These courses will provide insight as to how the teams can integrate with each other and how to anticipate changes to the ATO. After the GLO team and targeting team train together, the team could move to the air wing's home station to integrate with the air wing staff. The GLO team would go through the train-up and all the required exercises with their supported air wing prior to a deployment.

Integrating the GLO teams with the assigned air wing would also reduce the culture shock of living the Navy life. The separation of ranks on a ship is more stringent than it is in the Army. In the Army, we know that we will be sharing a tent with our noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and Soldiers; the Navy keeps the ranks separated to a greater extent. Chief petty officers, which are the Navy's senior NCOs, did an outstanding job in integrating SFC Elias to Navy life. The command master chief's of the air wings and ships also played a great hand in mentoring and welcoming the Army into Navy life.

The initial integration into joint operations usually has growing pains, but we were able to quickly overcome these shortcomings. The usefulness and success of GLO teams aboard carrier strike groups were proven not only with our team, but with the team on the Stennis. Permanently stationing established GLO teams with the carrier air wings would greatly enhance our fighting capabilities, providing more firepower to the boots on the ground.

Stennis Teams with Army, Marines in OEF Missions

Lt. Nathan Christensen, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

Reprinted with permission from, 5 March 2007

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS)-The face of USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG) is a little different than most ships operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation (AOO).

Aboard Stennis, there are Navy, Marine Corps, and Army personnel working together in an environment where joint execution is essential to ensuring the mission success of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

"This is the epitome of a joint operation," said Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, Commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3. "Our primary mission is to conduct air operations in support of joint and coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan. Every single mission we conduct is a joint one."

Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Bradley Johanson noted that everyone onboard plays an important role in joint operations.

"Support for coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan starts here on the deckplates of Stennis where everyone onboard plays a vital role in achieving overall mission success in OEF," said Johanson. "From those preparing food in the galley to personnel on the flight deck helping launch aircraft to the engineers who provide propulsion for the ship, everyone has important responsibilities. The men and women of Stennis ensure that the ship is able successfully launch aircraft to execute operations in support of OEF."

Aboard Stennis, not only are Navy personnel supporting coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, but there are Army Soldiers and Marines stationed aboard Stennis that give a traditionally blue Navy ship, a more purple hue.

"Retired Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn stated that carrier aviation could be considered 'the world's largest and most complex team sport," said Capt. Sterling Gilliam, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9. "That analogy resonates with me because one only has to observe the activities on the flight deck to make the connection."

The "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323) embarked Stennis with JCSSG on Jan. 20, from San Diego, and have played a critical role in supporting ground forces engaged in OEF.

The squadron consists of 18 Marine Corps pilots who fly the all-weather carrier strike fighter F/A-18C Hornets capable of ground and air attacks and 145 Marines that help maintain, repair, and service the aircraft.

"Ultimately, a Marine squadron operates just like a Navy squadron," said Marine 1st Lt. Bradley Byers, a pilot with VMFA-323. "We bring a different perspective and help provide close-air support to Marines and Soldiers on the ground operating in support of OEF. We have a great respect and understanding for what the Marines and Soldiers on the ground deal with. We put a heavy emphasis on doing what it takes to help those on the ground and are here to support them."

With 10 Hornet jets onboard and skilled Marines to support and fly the aircraft, the Death Rattlers have a great deal to offer JCSSG.

The joint environment aboard Stennis is also enhanced by Army Soldiers serving onboard Stennis. MAJ Dave Lander and SFC John Reardon work in the carrier intelligence center as liaisons to coordinate operations between the pilots of CVW-9 and the Soldiers on the ground in theater.

In short, Lander and Reardon translate Army language for Navy pilots and then back again to Army speak for ground forces operating in Afghanistan.

"The incorporation of the ground liaison officer (GLO) team has made a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of CVW-9," said Gilliam. "Their combat expertise, insight, and ability to communicate rapidly with the ground elements have allowed our aircrews to arrive on station with much better battlespace awareness."

Lander said their mission on Stennis is to support joint OEF operations and make sure the pilots are better prepared to support ground forces. "We've got the same mission. We bring the ground forces together with the Navy air power in the same place to defeat the enemy."

A key mission of CVW-9 is providing close air support for ground forces in Afghanistan.

"We are flying missions in support of troops that we have on the ground," said Lt. Steve Neebe, a pilot with Attack Fighter Squadron 147 (VFA-147). "It's not a personal fight for us most of the time, it's a guy on the ground who is calling for support and we're there to provide that support for them."

The men and women of JCSSG have formed a joint team to provide support for coalition forces on the ground as well as help bring security and stability to the region.

"Every day we conduct joint operations," said Quinn. "Navy and Marine Corps aircrews fly missions, Army GLOs communicate with ground elements, and we are dependent on Air Force tankers to conduct operations over Afghanistan."

JCSSG entered its second week of combat operations over Afghanistan in support of OEF on 7 March 2007. Stennis entered the U.S. 5th Fleet AOO on 19 February 2007 to provide support for ground forces operating in Afghanistan as well as conduct maritime security operations.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

This article was originally published as Story Number: NNS070305-03, 5 March 2007 on

Anti-Maritime SOF Using Innovation and Synergy to Solve a Very Real and Substantial Threat

Released by Public Affairs, U.S. Forces, Korea, June 2009

SOF Challenge

Over the last two years, Combined Forces Command (CFC) developed and implemented a unique concept for defeating threat maritime special operations forces (SOF) likely to infiltrate the shores of the Republic of Korea (ROK) from the sea. The CFC designed the concept to defeat a SOF threat specific to the Korean Theater, but other commands can apply the concept wherever U.S. forces are deployed.

After a brief description of the North Korean maritime SOF threat, this article describes how CFC developed and practiced a technique whereby Army attack helicopters, under the control of CFC's Naval Component Command (NCC), are used to destroy threat maritime SOF before they reach friendly shores.

Photo  of North Korean submarine floundering within 50 meters of shore

During 1996, this North Korean submarine floundered within 50 meters of shore. North Korea will attempt to penetrate ROK rear areas in war just as certainly as they historically have done during the armistice.

Overview on Concept Development

CFC's mission is to maintain the armistice, deter war, and if necessary fight and win. The Combined Defense Team has performed this vital mission every day for the past 44 years. The strength of the Combined Defense Team is the main reason that peace and stability exist on the peninsula. Yet the military threat from North Korea has not subsided. The "Cold War" is not over and the North's military remains formidable, unpredictable, and dangerous. A significant concern is the North's SOF, designed to wage war on a "second front." The North's SOF are well equipped to infiltrate the ROK from the sea. The sea affords the North's SOF their best avenue of approach. It is against this backdrop that CFC developed a concept and practiced a promising technique to counter the problem posed by North Korea's maritime SOF.

The CFC now cross attaches Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, from its Ground Component Command (GCC), to its Naval Component Command (NCC) on a temporary basis, depending on the situation, to attack enemy maritime-SOF assets before they reach ROK shores. CFC initially experimented with the concept in October 1996 during its annual, theaterwide, Combined Field Training Exercise: FOAL EAGLE. FOAL EAGLE is an ideal setting for practicing the anti-maritime-SOF concept since the focus of the exercise is on rear area operations, and security and protection from enemy SOF. Following initial success on a small scale, CFC moved to expand the concept in time for ULCHI FOCUS LENS (UFL) 97. UFL is the CFC's theaterwide, simulation-driven, combined command post exercise designed to practice execution of various parts of the theater campaign plan. UFL 97 provided an opportunity to practice the anti-maritime-SOF concept on a grand scale without being cost prohibitive.

Through a series of round-table discussions, CFC's GCC and NCC developed unit training programs to fine-tune the new anti-maritime-SOF concept in time for UFL 97. Analysis from UFL 97 proved that the concept was very effective in defeating an enemy maritime SOF threat.

After more refinement on Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) and Army attack helicopter handoff procedures to Naval airspace command and control authorities, the concept was put to test again under field conditions during FOAL EAGLE 97. CFC's overall conclusion from these training exercises is that AH-64s enhance NCC's ability to intercept and destroy infiltrating enemy maritime SOF elements before they reach ROK shores. This unique joint and combined team is an example of the synergistic use of capabilities from more than one service and more than one nation to effectively attack and destroy an elusive enemy target. The concept itself is an example of innovative thinking to solve a complex problem.

The Korean Challenge-Forces and Geography

The North Korean maritime SOF threat is very real, substantial, and dangerous. The CFC must intercept and destroy infiltrating maritime SOF elements to prevent them from reaching the ROK coastline and infiltrating into the ROK interior to disrupt CFC's rear operations. This is a challenging task because 86 percent of the ROK border is coastline, inundated with thousands of rocky islets, and is conducive to maritime infiltration operations by the North. The defense of the ROK is further complicated by the relative ease of access to its coastline from the sea and by the extraordinary size of the North's special purpose forces, the largest in the world.

North Korean naval forces have significant numbers of watercraft of various sizes and capabilities allocated exclusively to a maritime infiltration mission. These craft include a variety of submarines; coastal patrol craft; high-speed, semi-submersible craft; air-cushioned amphibious craft; and rubber raiding craft.

Photo of SILC, a high-speed, semi-submersible craft

This SILC is a high-speed, semi-submersible craft that can be used to infiltrate North Korean Special Forces. North Korea has adapted technology to focus on invading the ROK; this boat is powered by three inboard-outboard engines and is capable of submerging for limited periods.

Photo of hovercraft

This hovercraft is an example of what North Korea could use to infiltrate forces into the ROK.

The North Koreans expect to use these craft to infiltrate large numbers of maritime SOF units into CFC rear areas just prior to hostilities, followed by a surge of other SOF and conventional maritime forces at the outset of a major offensive. These craft will transport SOF forces capable of sustained independent operations. They will gather intelligence, perform sabotage, and disrupt CFC's critical rear area activities supporting current and future operations. The North's SOF are capable of a wide variety of insurgent operations and terrorist activities. CFC expects them to attack utility systems, lines of communication, and population centers.

The North Korean Navy itself has more than 130 air-cushioned vessels. Each is capable of carrying up to 50 fully equipped personnel. These amphibious craft can reach speeds up to 50 knots per hour and are hard to detect and interdict. Within a short period of time, North Korea can move approximately 7,000 maritime SOF personnel to many disbursed debarkation points along both coastlines of the ROK. Once ashore these small teams will attempt to evade CFC forces and move into CFC's rear areas and ROK population centers. The key to CFC's success is to detect the North's maritime SOF teams early, while they are still offshore, and destroy them before they land on ROK soil.

The Naval Challenge in Perspective

In organizing the defense of the ROK against North Korean aggression, the CFC designated the Commander 7th Fleet (C7F) as Commander, NCC and made him the supported commander for maritime interdiction operations. While NCC surface combatants are well organized to defend the blue-water areas surrounding the ROK, the littoral areas pose a different challenge. The littoral area, generally within 12 miles of the ROK shore, restricts ship movement. Also, ships that do move in the littoral area are more vulnerable to enemy land-based weapon systems. It is in this littoral area that the North intends to move its tremendous numbers of maritime SOF forces to land on ROK soil.

CFC naval forces intend to detect North Korean movement in the littoral area with their own helicopters, airplanes, shore-based radars, and patrol craft. However, the NCC's helicopters and airplanes are mainly for target detection and not interdiction. That role is assigned to the NCC's fighter aircraft, surface combatant ships, and submarines. The NCC simply doesn't have enough resources to detect, track, and destroy every enemy surface vessel, submarine, and aircraft in both the "blue water" and the littoral. Yet, the NCC's ability to detect, track, and destroy all enemy vessels operating anywhere along the ROK coast and along sea lines of communication is critical to CFC's campaign during the early stages of hostilities.

CFC planners considered a number of options to address North Korea's massive maritime SOF threat. Fixed-wing fighter aircraft are always an option, but it is unlikely CFC will be able to employ fighters in the anti-maritime-SOF role since they will be busy with counter air (CA) and air interdiction (AI) missions in support of land-based operations, and defense of the fleet.

Special Operations Component-Korea (SOCKOR) could provide AC-130 Spectre gunships to attack enemy maritime SOF, but Spectres are a finite resource and are vulnerable to enemy air defense systems and enemy fighter aircraft. Because the AC-130 Spectre is a scarce and valuable resource, the Commander in Chief, CFC determines the priorities for Spectre gunships while considering the risks associated with each employment decision.

In proposing the use of Army Apache attack helicopters, planners discovered a match between the best "window" of AH-64 availability and time of greatest need in an anti-maritime-SOF role. During the early stages of hostilities, when the North's maritime-SOF threat is expected to be the greatest, the GCC's AH-64s are the least committed. While the Apache's primary mission is not an anti-maritime-SOF asset, it is very capable in that role. The Apache's speed, armament, navigation, and communications suite is ideally suited for long-range target detection and attack, even in the littoral areas of the ROK.

In the early stages of hostilities, GCC Apache helicopters await employment against critical targets. A number of Apaches can be called upon to complete anti-maritime-SOF missions if the situation warrants their release to NCC control.

Planning and Execution

Using its experience from many exercises the past two years, CFC created a sequence of planning and execution steps for Apache anti-maritime-SOF missions. The Assistant Chief of Staff, C2, monitors the North's military activity 24 hours a day. As soon as C2 detects unusual or threatening North Korean military activity, it warns CFC forces and surge collection systems on specific indicators of an impending attack. In the meantime, the CINC directs CFC forces to initiate defensive measures appropriate to the situation. Off the ROK shores, the combined coverage of ROK and U.S. P-3 aircraft, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and ROK Navy coastal radars focus detection operations on the most likely littoral areas and maritime approaches.

Either AWACS or P-3 aircraft coordinate attack of detected targets until U.S. Navy combatants arrive off the coast of the ROK. The NCC then uses the Navy Tactical Data System (NTDS), a digital communications system that blends U.S. and ROK sensor outputs into an integrated common operational picture, to deconflict, handoff, and attack threat systems.

Once CFC recognizes the appropriate indicators, the C7F requests the CINC's release of GCC attack helicopters to anti-maritime-SOF operations. When the CINC decides to use AH-64s in that role, the Army attack aviation brigade gets the mission and begins its preparation.

The brigade itself remains under the operational control (OPCON) of the ground component commander, but two attack helicopter battalions are placed under the tactical control (TACON) of the NCC for planning and execution. CFC can release these two battalions to NCC control, for anti-maritime-SOF operations, when they are not involved in ongoing deep attack. Under this command and control relationship, the NCC has the authority to move and position attack battalion assets once they enter the NCC area of operations. The CFC commander can terminate the mission at any time if the battalions are needed elsewhere. By using two battalions, the brigade commander can respond quickly to missions occurring on both coasts from assembly areas that facilitate rapid interdiction well off both shores of the ROK.

Once the brigade commander gets his mission, he establishes initial communications through the Peninsula Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) Network, using the Tri-Service Tactical Communications System (TRI-TAC), to talk to the NCC. The commander dispatches a brigade liaison (LNO) team, including S-2 (intelligence) and S-3 (operations) representatives, to board the designated Navy command and control ship. The attack battalions move to both coastlines to establish assembly areas and to prepare for operations. The brigade headquarters coordinates land and local security requirements with the responsible ground commanders. The battalions then move to, occupy, and stage from designated assembly areas to perform their missions in the Navy's maritime area of operations.

The Navy command and control ship has control over all maritime activity in the naval operational area. The command and control ship exercises both functional and geographic control. The NCC establishes a functional anti-surface warfare (ASUW) command for each coast. Each ASUW Commander (ASUWC), located aboard a cruiser or destroyer, is responsible for functional control of surface warfare within his assigned geographic area.

The NCC Waterspace Management Scheme allocates each naval surface and subsurface combatant decentralized responsibility for portions of the NCC's area. The NCC also establishes a separate anti-air warfare (AAW) command, generally located aboard an Aegis-equipped cruiser or destroyer. The AAW Commander (AAWC) is functionally responsible for anti-air warfare in his area of operations. The AAWC coordinates engagement of hostile aircraft and protection of friendly aircraft within his respective area, similar to the ASUWC function.

Each attack battalion dispatches an LNO team aboard the AAW ship on its respective coast to ensure attack operations are properly coordinated with the NCC and its subordinate functional and geographic commands. (Diagram 1: C4I)

Graphic showing operations properly coordinated with the NCC and its subordinate functional and geographic command

Target Detection and Engagement

Photo of AH-64 team fling

An AH-64 team flies off the coast en route to a bull's-eye. Typically, this mission would be conducted at night. Close crew coordination becomes more important due to the low contrast conditions over water.

The aircraft or surface combatant who first detects an unknown contact is usually designated the Scene of Action Commander (SAC). The SAC determines whether the contact is friend or foe and coordinates an attack against positively identified enemy contacts unless the mission is transferred to another SAC. The responsible SAC communicates with the appropriate ASUWC or AAWC to obtain execution authority.

For surface targets, the ASUWC designates the nearest capable surface ship to attack the target. For enemy targets in the air, the AAW ship coordinates the attack with a system best able to respond quickly. In the event the NCC command and control ship designates an aircraft to strike a surface target, the AAWC coordinates the airspace and the ASUWC directs its attack against the enemy vessel.

When the NCC commander decides to use attack helicopters, the command and control ship sends an execute message to the aviation brigade. Each attack helicopter battalion has two aircraft on standby, ready to respond to missions from the NCC. The message contains the necessary information to enable the crew of the AH-64s to communicate with the AAW ship.

The attack battalion coordinates movement to and from the coast through Army airspace command and control (A2C2) channels. Army A2C2 provides a transponder identification friend or foe (IFF) squawk for flight-following. An IFF code prevents fratricide of the Apaches because it gives the A2C2, air defense, and Air Component Command (ACC) elements the ability to track the attack helicopters throughout the GCC area of operations. This minimizes the risk to the Apache crews while they transit CFC rear areas. Once the aircraft reach the coast, they cross into the NCC Commander's area and must comply with naval airspace coordination measures. The aviation brigade and attack battalions determine any change to the NCC's procedures during planning and coordination for each mission.

After the Apaches reach the coast the crews radio the Army LNO team aboard the AAW ship using either UHF or VHF. The AAW ship vectors the AH 64s to either an airspace entry and exit point, called a "bull's-eye," or directly to the target. (Diagram 2: Sketch)

Graphic showing diagram of inflitrating craft dected by ROK Costal radar or P-3 patrols, using the NTDS to monitor both infiltrating craft and Apache attack helicopters with ships vectoring the Apaches to bulls-eyes

The AAW ship also uses an IFF code to track the movement of the Apaches. As an added measure of fratricide prevention, the NCC's airspace is also procedurally de-conflicted by altitude. The Apaches remain at or below 200 feet above sea level (ASL) while Naval fixed-wing aircraft stay at 600 feet ASL or higher.

The Apaches then contact the SAC who is tracking the inbound enemy target or targets to arrange for battle handover. The Apache crews use the aircraft's speed and in-flight navigation systems to quickly arrive at the target area. Once on the scene the Apache crews acquire the target using their onboard day-TV or forward looking infrared radar (FLIR) systems.

The Apaches must positively identify a target as an enemy before they get authorization to attack. The ASUWC authorizes an attack when enemy contact is confirmed by the Apache crews. Upon authorization from the ASUWC, the Apaches use running fire from a standoff position as many times as necessary to destroy the enemy force. The crew's principal weapon for the mission is the Hellfire missile; however, Apaches also carry an appropriate supply of 30mm cannon ammunition.

Because the enemy's maritime SOF teams are small and the vessels they ride in are point targets, the Apache crews are able to coordinate their fires with each other to prevent waste of ammunition and target overkill. If during an engagement the ASUWC designates additional targets, the AAWC can send the same aircraft to the new contact or arrange the launch of the next Apache team waiting back in the holding area.

The Apache crews perform their own battle damage assessment (BDA) and send their assessment through the SAC to the ASUWC. At the end of the mission the NCC may direct other assets to perform a more detailed BDA. The Navy could direct SEALs to perform boarding, rescue, and scuttle missions.

In the event an Apache is shot down, the NCC immediately performs search and rescue operations.

Graphic showing diagram of AH-64 team flies off the coast en route to a bull's-eye2

An AH-64 team flies off the coast en route to a bull's-eye. Typically, this mission would be conducted at night. Close crew coordination becomes more important due to the low contrast conditions over water.

Issues Resolved

CFC Component Commanders raised several issues during the development of the theater anti-maritime-SOF concept. CFC felt the vulnerability of two widely separated ROK coastlines necessitated the allocation of two GCC attack helicopter battalions TACON to the NCC to cover both coasts simultaneously.

Two battalions can position forward arming and refueling points near each coast to maximize response time, aircraft availability, and station time. Also, by using external fuel tanks, the battalions can extend their range of operations and loiter time.

Over several exercises, the attack battalions learned it was easier to operate from land rather than sea, even though they are trained to operate from NCC ships. The NCC concurred because this tactic facilitates a ship's freedom of movement, reduces its vulnerability to shore-based weapons, prevents disruption of concurrent deck functions, and eliminates cross-service logistical requirements.

Clearly stated, command and control relationships enable the battalions to remain responsive to the CINC's priorities for contingencies ashore and facilitate rapid turnaround from the anti-maritime-SOF role to more traditional missions.

The aviation brigade can sustain crew anti-maritime-SOF training with as little as six flying hours per month. The NCC can easily support joint training with Army aviation with minimal impact.

Should weather turn unfavorable, the Apaches land on a helicopter-capable ship or return to shore, whichever is closer and safer. During one training exercise on the ROK's west coast, heavy fog did not affect the ability of an Apache to either acquire or attack simulated enemy targets.


Three times during the past year, CFC's Army attack helicopter units practiced the anti-maritime- SOF concept with the Navy. Aviation commanders believe this is an important mission for which the Apache is well-suited. While the Apache's primary role continues to be anti-tank in the land battle, it is a system just as formidable in an anti-maritime-SOF role.

A little more than two years ago, what began as an idea evolved into a viable concept. The CFC carefully planned, trained, and tested its AH-64 anti-maritime-SOF concept before accepting the technique as a viable alternative. As a result of some innovative thinking and the synergistic effects of the GCC and NCC, the CFC is stronger and better prepared to protect the ROK in the event of renewed hostilities.

The CFC also accumulated other intangible benefits associated with the concept development process. Working on a solution to a very real and substantial North Korean threat brought the Joint and Combined Defense Team closer together. Each component's understanding of each other's abilities and capabilities grew while working together to solve a common problem. Joint and Combined teamwork is essential for unity of effort in time of peace or conflict.

The CFC developed a concept with a specific North Korean threat in mind. The CFC anti-maritime-SOF concept enables joint force planners to maximize a finite number of resources to achieve the best possible effect against an illusive enemy. The result in the Korean Theater is a Joint and Combined Defense Team better able to deter aggression and if necessary to fight and win.


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