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U.S. Army Aviation and Full-Spectrum Operations

December 28, 2010

The decade of overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq has been a watershed event for Army aviation. The nation’s protracted military operations across the globe in unique and challenging environments have focused the military’s attention on how to better dominate and exploit the vertical dimension of landpower. The application of four Army imperatives—sustain, prepare, reset and transform—to Army aviation has allowed the force as a whole to rapidly adapt to, and succeed in, a hybrid threat environment; that is, an environment that embraces opportunistic violence, decentralization and the full range of traditional and nontraditional tactics that together defy conventional categorization. This environment places at a premium operational mobility, joint interoperability, sustainability, tailorability and lethality—the very essence of Army aviation.

Continuous review of lessons learned from a decade of deployment offers evolutionary feedback from the crucible of combat. The challenging and geographically distributed nature of combat operations presents increasing demand for critical aviation capabilities such as logistics mobility, medical evacuation, personnel movement and precision lethality. Also, the long-duration mission sets coupled with persistent surveillance requirements require seamless integration of Army UAS into the formation and constant attention to modernization and capability increases.

The future battlefield is unknown; the Army must be ready to engage in, and rapidly transition between, differing levels of combat across the full spectrum—from peacekeeping and security assistance, through counterinsurgency and up to fullscale conventional war. The Army has embraced this challenge and is improving its capabilities across the breadth of landpower. Through the decisive dominance of the vertical dimension of landpower, Army aviation delivers a force-multiplying effect with its unmatched application of maneuver, firepower, mobility, logistics, command and control, and intelligence and security. It is at the forefront of landpower dominance on the full-spectrum, nonlinear battlefield and continues to transform, evolve, adapt and win in the current fight while preparing, training, equipping and sustaining for future conflict.