Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Best Defense comment of the day: A very well-executed air campaign in Libya

This comment from "CNOL" was posted pretty late in the discussion yesterday of the role of Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, so you might have missed it. I think CNOL makes a point worth pausing to note. Whether or not you think intervening in Libya was the right move, a very difficult task was ...

navy.mil
navy.mil

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This comment from "CNOL" was posted pretty late in the discussion yesterday of the role of Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, so you might have missed it. I think CNOL makes a point worth pausing to note. Whether or not you think intervening in Libya was the right move, a very difficult task was carried out quickly without a major public hiccup, which is impressive.

The air campaign has been about as perfect as can be:

–In a matter of a couple of days a plan to establish a no-fly and no-move zone was designed, operationalized, and implemented, and included massively complex integration and a coalition between US and multiple different European allies.

–In a manner of less than 24 hours the 2nd largest AA system in the region was practically destroyed with no friendly casualties and little to no collateral damage.

–A fairly large ground force of multiple types of armor in close proximity to civilian populations was also almost completely destroyed around the major rebel stronghold of Benghazi, and most other areas except Misurata, thus saving the rebels from a major crackdown that would have likely resulted in massive civilian casualties, also with little to no collateral damage.

How can you get better than that?! Yes, our tech superiority is largely to play here, but that still doesn’t account for the massive complexity, and competing chains of command from differing nationalities.

Tom again: On Misurata, here’s an update from the AM. The same story reveals (to me at least) that the officer commanding the U.S. naval strike group is Rear Adm. Peg Klein. What is this, an all-female chain of command?

This comment from "CNOL" was posted pretty late in the discussion yesterday of the role of Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, so you might have missed it. I think CNOL makes a point worth pausing to note. Whether or not you think intervening in Libya was the right move, a very difficult task was carried out quickly without a major public hiccup, which is impressive.

The air campaign has been about as perfect as can be:

–In a matter of a couple of days a plan to establish a no-fly and no-move zone was designed, operationalized, and implemented, and included massively complex integration and a coalition between US and multiple different European allies.

–In a manner of less than 24 hours the 2nd largest AA system in the region was practically destroyed with no friendly casualties and little to no collateral damage.

–A fairly large ground force of multiple types of armor in close proximity to civilian populations was also almost completely destroyed around the major rebel stronghold of Benghazi, and most other areas except Misurata, thus saving the rebels from a major crackdown that would have likely resulted in massive civilian casualties, also with little to no collateral damage.

How can you get better than that?! Yes, our tech superiority is largely to play here, but that still doesn’t account for the massive complexity, and competing chains of command from differing nationalities.

Tom again: On Misurata, here’s an update from the AM. The same story reveals (to me at least) that the officer commanding the U.S. naval strike group is Rear Adm. Peg Klein. What is this, an all-female chain of command?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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