In CNN video, Leon Panetta says, paraphrasing, we need Tactical Air Control Parties on the ground. This was discussed in the post, Air Power in Iraq and Syria; Divining the Political Map. Everything Panetta says about the requirements for useful deployment of air power is precisely correct.
Mr. Panetta is the ultimate insider, providing new insight into the debate. However, he uses an implicit definition of ground troop deployment, which Obama nixes, to include Tac Air Control Parties. If this definition is in fact shared by Panetta and Obama, meaning that these parties, or their special forces equivalents, cannot be deployed, we are in for a lot of trouble. It would mean we’ve lost a good chunk of the Middle East.
So it’s not clear to this outsider whether the apparent absence of Control Parties is due to the difficulty of emplacement, which in some cases amounts to infiltration, or because of a decision by Obama to classify them as ground troops that are “off the table.”
When I was a participant in the IARPA project, “Forecasting World Events”, Mr. Panetta was director of the CIA. FWE had a forum, and I got the impression that Leon was reading some of my stuff, particularly with respect to Syrian use of chemical weapons.
Hi, Leon! You are probably right, but I’m hoping that
a. You are wrong.
b. Your criticisms are promptly acted upon.