Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) was one of the most decisive U.S. victories.1 A dictatorial regime ruling a population of 25 million was defeated in only 21 days of fighting instead of the planned campaign of 125 days.2 U.S. forces showed remarkable improvement in their conduct of joint/combined warfare since the Gulf War in 1990-1991. New technological advances were integrated successfully with sound tactical and operational concepts. The coalition commanders displayed a high degree of operational flexibility and agility.
The Plan and Its Execution
The original version of Central Command's (CentCom's) campaign plan envisioned a major joint/combined air offensive aimed at obtaining air superiority over Iraq. This would be followed by two related initial major air-land operations. One was aimed at seizing southern Iraq with its major ports and oil fields, and another was intended to seize control of the northern part of Iraq. Afterward, two successive major air-land operations, one from the south and another from the north, were aimed at seizing central Iraq and the country's capital, Baghdad.