Loosening Joint – Army Style

Jointness has been the Pentagon’s watchword for years now — but many officers admit that “deconflicting” the services is a more realistic goal.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the services complain loudly about one-another. The Army and Marines say they are stuck with the bulk of missions, mission stress, and casualties; the Air Force and Navy say they are forced to delegate so many airmen and sailors to “in-lieu-of” support roles on land — i.e. to fulfill functions normally performed by soldiers and marines — that USAF and USN readiness for their primary missions is endangered.

Now the Army has established its own aerial surveillance unit in Iraq, saying the Air Force hasn’t been doing enough to support ground forces with airborne tactical intelligence. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is supporting the Army move.

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