Posted on Dec 6, 2023
CPT Gurinder (Gene) Rana
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In 1991, as part of the Desert Storm, the US and its allies flew more than 116,000 combat air sorties and dropped 88,500 tons of bombs over six weeks before the ground campaign.

The air missions were so successful that the ground campaign was over in 100 hours. However, as the USAF completes 76 years of existence today, its declining prowess suggests it will struggle to conduct Operation Desert Storm against peer adversaries like China.

Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf saw an expansive use of stealth aircraft and precision-guided munitions. The air power was used so effectively that the ground campaign drove the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in just four days.

LTC Eric Udouj @LtCol Charlie Brown Lt Col Charlie Brown MSG Izy Veguillacruz MSG (Join to see) Col (Join to see) MSG Felipe De Leon Brown COL Dan Ruder Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen Maj Marty Hogan MSgt Ken "Airsoldier" Collins-Hardy COL Mikel J. Burroughs SFC Joe S. Davis Jr., MSM, DSL
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Responses: 10
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
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That's kind of an apples and oranges comparison. Any conflict with China would most likely not have months of build-up like was experienced prior to Desert Storm. I'd have to quibble a bit on the comment of "declining prowess".
Our stealth aircraft and precision guided munitions have improved significantly since 1991 and despite the hype about China's stealthy aircraft, you have to remember that they were designed to be "like" US aircraft. I'll go along with describing China as a peer advisory but you really must remember that their hardware is, and most likely always will be, trying to keep up with the US.
That said, the big factor is basic military doctrine of China vs that of the US. China's military simply not structured to allow subordinate commanders, or even individual pilots, to operate in any given situation on their own. China's military is structured on the Soviet/Russian doctrine, and I think Ukraine has shown us how inefficient that doctrine can be.
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CPT Gurinder (Gene) Rana
CPT Gurinder (Gene) Rana
3 mo
True Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen; however, the numbers in the USAF are dwindling and in a critical pub it suggests that employment of Desert Storm like operations by the USAF against an adversary like China would be impossible.

Although I believe the critical pub to be a Chinese propaganda machine, I wonder whether such reports which suggest an inability by our forces to fill critical positions are even partially factual.
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MSgt Electrical Power Production
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3 mo
Nothing beats the will and prowess of the American fighting machine!
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Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
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Lt Col Charlie Brown
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Totally different set of circumstances
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COL Dan Ruder
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Edited 3 mo ago
My cheeks involuntarily cringed at the notion that the US could “replay” the uncontested air superiority of the 1991 Gulf War in a potential war for the air against China. I suspect that many readers may also perceive the posted question as rhetorical. Nevertheless, Max Boot stated “[t]he past is an uncertain guide to the future, but it is the only one we have.” Therefore, a historical perspective should consider not only the first Gulf War but also Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Syria. We flew combat missions against adversaries without advanced IADS or sophisticated A2/AD capabilities, enemies who didn’t have a lethal air force (or no air force at all), and possessed small caliber anti-aircraft capabilities. These were periods characterized by rapid and episodic airpower conquest against unimposing adversaries. Consequently, I find it improbable that we can "replay" Desert Storm, given the significant changes in the character of warfare against a foe with advanced anti-access and aerial denial capabilities, iron domes, high-tech IADS, 5th Gen fighters, advanced space-based capabilities, EW/Cyberattack capabilities, and stolen knowledge of U.S. tech capabilities and limitations. The character of air warfare will be a constant contest instead of the episodic victories witnessed since 1991. To paraphrase a sister service colleague (F22 fighter pilot), we have the greatest Air Force in the world, but arguably, it has faced the most unchallenged success of any of the Services.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
CPT Lawrence Cable
3 mo
I would agree with your statement and even caution that the Army hasn't fought anything close to a Near Peer Battle since Desert Storm and that Army was trained to fight the Soviets.
IMO, we should be looking seriously at the lessons learned by both sides in the Ukraine Russia Conflict where CAS and Air Interdiction over the battle field is making manned aircraft suicidal. While the Russians certainly have the edge on numbers of anti air assets, even they are using both aircraft and helicopters at maximum ranges, limiting them to the Air Space that the Russians control at the rear of their defenses. It looks to me like the lethality from all sources have made the battlefield a kill zone like in WWI.
It's hard to get a handle on the Chinese Red Army. It's really controlled by the Chairman and is much about population control as an aggressive Army. They certainly didn't look good against Vietnam. I think we often overlook the fact that China as a number of other rivals in the area, from India, Indonesia, etc. up through Japan.
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COL Dan Ruder
COL Dan Ruder
2 mo
CPT Lawrence Cable - Yep, Desert Storm was a clear military win. It was also the last time our Country won a war.
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SMSgt Guy Garfinkel
SMSgt Guy Garfinkel
29 d
I agree with a lot that was said in the above statements, but, given the current state of our Military, mostly the "WOKE" leadership, there will be a lot of losses on our side. There still are plenty of Military personnel with Espree de Corp that can get the job done. Cleaning our house first is a priority. There are no time outs when in war and everyone is expected to carry their own load!
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