The United States has invested heavily to field the world's most capable tactical aircraft (TacAir) forces. Their state-of-the-art technologies deliver unequaled availability, reliability, and mission effectiveness. In addition to superb platform quality, they have superior aircrews and an unmatched supporting infrastructure. Although they are the world's most capable TacAir forces, limitations in guided-weapon targeting must be remedied if we are to achieve key goals outlined by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark in "Sea Power 21."
Targeting and weapon-delivery limitations gained much visibility in the 1990s. In Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia, and Kosovo, unacceptable percentages of airto-ground sorties were affected by weather. Weather and cloud cover often gave the enemy valuable sanctuaries and chances to regroup. In his after-action briefing, the commander of Operation Allied Force, Admiral James Ellis, highlighted these problems and warned of their potential effect in areas where weather conditions are less benign. (His comments were reminiscent of those of Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak following Desert Storm eight years earlier.)