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Air apportionment


Air apportionment is a military term referring to the distribution of available air power resources and capabilities to support various tasks during military operations. It involves the allocation of aircraft, equipment, and personnel to achieve strategic, operational, or tactical objectives set by higher authorities. The process aims to optimize airpower’s effectiveness by prioritizing missions, balancing competing demands, and ensuring the efficient use of resources.

Key Takeaways

  1. Air apportionment is the process of determining the distribution and allocation of limited air resources among various operations and missions within a specific theater or operational area.
  2. It is a crucial aspect of military planning and coordination, as it helps to ensure that air power is utilized efficiently and effectively, prioritizing missions based on operational necessities and strategic objectives.
  3. Air apportionment decisions are typically made by a Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) or another high-ranking military official who possesses authority over the air assets at their disposal, taking into consideration factors such as threat levels, mission urgency, and available resources.


Air apportionment is an essential military operations term as it refers to the process of determining and allocating the appropriate distribution of limited air resources and capabilities among competing objectives and missions.

This strategic decision-making ensures efficient utilization of air assets, enabling commanders to prioritize and effectively support various missions while maintaining readiness and sustainability.

Furthermore, air apportionment enables the balance of offensive and defensive operations, ultimately contributing to the accomplishment of the overall objectives, promoting rapid responses to emerging threats, and maximizing the operational impact of the air force in both joint and combined operations.


Air apportionment serves as a pivotal process in the strategic planning and execution of military operations. By allocating the finite resources of an air force, apportionment ensures that all essential missions receive appropriate support and prioritization.

This process takes into consideration factors such as available assets, specific mission requirements, and the objectives set forth by the higher-ranking command. Ultimately, air apportionment helps achieve the delicate balance between operational success and the prudent use of available resources.

In practice, air apportionment is crucial to the effective coordination and control of air force assets, particularly in joint operations that involve multiple military branches and allied forces. Each mission may have unique requirements or constraints that must be addressed in the apportionment process, such as intelligence, reconnaissance, or air tactical responsibilities.

Moreover, air apportionment is not a static process, as the operational environment and priorities can change rapidly, requiring continuous planning, analysis, and reassessment. This dynamic capability enables commanders to adapt to changing situations and ensures that air assets are always employed in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Examples of Air apportionment

Air apportionment refers to the process of determining the distribution of limited air resources among competing missions, tasks, or objectives during military operations. Three real-world examples of air apportionment include:

Operation Desert Storm (1991):During this military operation, the multinational coalition forces led by the United States aimed to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Air apportionment played a critical role in prioritizing aerial missions – strategic bombing of Iraq’s military and infrastructure targets, offensive counter-air operations, and close air support for ground forces. The efficient distribution of air resources helped the coalition forces swiftly execute their missions and achieve their objectives.

Operation Allied Force (1999):This NATO-led military operation aimed to put an end to the violence and repression in Kosovo. The strategic use of air apportionment ensured that the available air resources were distributed effectively to accomplish three primary objectives – destruction of the Yugoslav air and air defense forces, targeting Yugoslav strategic assets, and limiting collateral damage. The apportionment process helped NATO forces maintain pressure on the Yugoslav forces while minimizing civilian casualties.

Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2014):Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States initiated air campaigns against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Air apportionment played a vital role in distributing air assets among multiple missions, including air interdiction, close air support, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. Efficient allocation of air resources contributed to the success of various military operations during the prolonged conflict in Afghanistan.

Air Apportionment FAQ

1. What is air apportionment?

Air apportionment is the process of determining the allocation of air assets to different operations and missions. This decision-making process ensures that air resources are used effectively in support of mission objectives and overall military strategies.

2. Who is responsible for air apportionment?

The Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) is typically responsible for air apportionment in a joint or combined operation. The JFACC works closely with other component commanders and the Joint Force Commander to develop and implement air apportionment decisions.

3. What factors are considered in air apportionment?

Factors for air apportionment can include mission requirements and priorities, available resources, operational constraints, force protection, and coordination with other joint or combined forces. It is a complex process that considers various factors to make the best use of air assets in support of mission objectives.

4. How is air apportionment affected by changes in the operational environment?

Air apportionment is a dynamic process that must be adapted to changes in the operational environment. Factors that can impact apportionment include weather, mission changes, resource availability, and emerging threats. The JFACC must continuously assess the situation and adjust air apportionment accordingly.

5. How does air apportionment support joint operations?

Air apportionment ensures that air resources are allocated effectively to accomplish various missions and tasks in a joint operation. By coordinating the use of air assets and supporting other components, air apportionment helps achieve synergy and increase the overall effectiveness of joint military operations.

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