The Navy’s carrier air wing community is not prepared for a high-end fight. This is because of an almost myopic focus in fleet training on independent (non-joint) air operations that are not representative of how carrier strike groups should be used in modern, contested air warfare. To fix this, the carrier-based Navy must stop paying lip service to joint cooperation and begin developing foundational knowledge of integrated joint air operations by implementing more joint training requirements and opportunities throughout the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) and various Air Combat Training Continuum syllabi that carrier air wing aircrew must complete.
The highly successful air campaign of Operation Desert Storm is an example of why the Navy must adopt more integrated joint air operations training.
1. Benjamin S. Lambeth, The Winning of Air Supremacy in Operation Desert Storm, white paper (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1993),
2. Lambeth, The Winning of Air Supremacy in Operation Desert Storm, 3.
3. Thomas A. Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey, Summary Report to the Secretary of the Air Force (Washington, DC, Government Printing Office, 1993), 5.
4. Keaney and Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey, 154.
5. Diane T. Putney, Airpower Advantage, Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign 1989–1991 (Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, 2004), 175.
6. Putney, Airpower Advantage, Planning the Gulf War Air Campaign 1989-1991, 78.
7. Keaney and Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey, 199.
8. James M. Holmes, “The Counter-Air Companion, A Short Guide to Air Superiority for Joint Force Commanders” (thesis, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, 1995), 57.
9. Steven M. Kosiak, Is the U.S. Military Getting Smaller and Older? (Washington, DC, Center for A New American Security, 2017), 11.
10. Megan Eckstein, “Navy Surpasses 80% Aircraft Readiness Goal, Reaches Stretch Goal of 341 Up Fighters,” USNI News, 25 September, 2019.
11. Keaney and Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey, 226.
12. John Andreas Olsen, Airpower Applied: U.S., NATO, and Israeli Combat Experience (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2017), 188.
13. “An Assessment of U.S. Military Power,” The Heritage Foundation (2019).