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Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS)

Definition

The Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS) is a crucial component within the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) responsible for planning, coordinating, and managing air support operations. The ASCS ensures efficient communication between ground forces and supporting aviation units to provide timely and effective air support. This section works closely with other TACP elements, such as the Ground Liaison Officer (GLO) and Air Liaison Officer (ALO), to optimize the integration of air and ground combat resources.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS) is responsible for coordinating and integrating all aspects of air support operations within a joint task force or military organization.
  2. ASCS serves as the primary liaison between ground and air units, ensuring timely, accurate, and effective communication for mission planning, execution, and assessment.
  3. ASCS staff includes specialists in various areas like air defense, targeting, intelligence, and airspace management, ensuring a comprehensive approach to air support and optimization of joint force capabilities.

Importance

The Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS) is a critical component in military operations as it ensures effective and seamless integration of air assets into ground combat missions.

By coordinating air support requests, prioritizing missions, and assigning appropriate air resources, the ASCS enables a smooth and efficient collaboration between air and ground forces.

This level of synchronization is essential for achieving desired objectives in the battlefield and enhancing the overall operational success.

In addition, it helps minimize the risk of fratricide, reduces potential confusion during combat, and optimizes the use of limited air assets.

Thus, the ASCS plays a vital role in maximizing the combat effectiveness of air and ground forces while maintaining safety and efficiency throughout the operation.

Explanation

The primary purpose of the Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS) within military operations is to facilitate the planning, execution, and control of air support assets, such as aircraft and unmanned aerial systems, to maximize their effectiveness in support of ground and naval forces. The ASCS serves as a vital link between the air assets and the supported ground troops, ensuring that there is a seamless flow of communication and coordination between all elements involved.

Without an effective ASCS, there could be a breakdown in communication which could lead to unsafe conditions, delays in response, or even mishaps which might endanger friendly forces, civilian population, or mission success. In practice, the ASCS is responsible for overseeing a wide range of tasks, from managing airspace and allocating air resources to prioritizing target engagement and maintaining an accurate picture of the status of air assets in the area of operations.

The ASCS employs a team of skilled personnel, including experts in air traffic control, air liaison officers, tactical air control party members, and others, who work in concert to guarantee that air support is delivered efficiently and accurately to meet the evolving needs of the ground forces. By fulfilling their role in the management and synchronization of air assets, the ASCS contributes significantly to the mission’s success, ensuring that friendly forces receive timely and effective support throughout the operation.

Examples of Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS)

Operation Desert Storm (1991): The Air Support Coordination Section played a vital role in the coordination of air support during the Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm. The ASCS was responsible for managing the allocation of available air assets to strike and support ground forces against Iraqi military targets. They efficiently coordinated air support requests, prioritized targets, and deconflicted airspace, thus ensuring proper allocation of air resources and maximizing the effectiveness of air power in support of ground operations.

NATO mission in Afghanistan (2001-2014): The Air Support Coordination Section was crucial in facilitating air support for NATO and Afghan ground forces during the Afghanistan conflict. ASCS personnel worked closely with coalition partners to ensure that air support requests were accurately prioritized and fully integrated. The seamless coordination between ground forces and the air assets played an essential role in supporting operations on the ground, including surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, and evacuation of wounded personnel.

Operation Inherent Resolve (2014-present): The ongoing conflict against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria necessitates the coordination of air support for both offensive and defensive operations. The Air Support Coordination Section manages and prioritizes air support assets to ensure missions are carried out effectively and without interference. By continuously evaluating the battle situation and coordinating with the various ground units, ASCS has enabled the successful execution of many air strikes and support missions, contributing to the weakening of ISIS’s territorial control and resources.

Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS) FAQ

What is the primary function of the Air Support Coordination Section (ASCS)?

The primary function of the ASCS is to coordinate, plan, and manage the employment of tactical air support assets in support of ground operations. This ensures the effective and synchronized integration of air and ground forces to achieve mission objectives.

What are the main responsibilities of the ASCS?

The main responsibilities of the ASCS include coordinating with different components and agencies, developing air support plans, prioritizing air support requests, managing airspace, and monitoring and assessing air support activities. The ASCS is also responsible for establishing and maintaining an effective communication network to coordinate air support operations.

Who are the key personnel within the ASCS?

Key personnel within the ASCS include the Tactical Air Coordinator (TAC) or Air Officer, Air Support Operations Center (ASOC) Director or Officer in Charge, Air Support Liaison Officer (ASLO), and other specialists such as fire support and airspace management personnel.

How does the ASCS coordinate with other military branches and units?

The ASCS establishes close coordination with other military branches and units through liaison officers, communication links, and various planning and coordination meetings. This helps maintain a clear understanding of the ground commander’s objectives and facilitates the efficient integration of air support assets into the overall operation.

Can the ASCS be used in non-combat operations?

Yes, the ASCS can be used in non-combat operations such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations. In these scenarios, the ASCS still plays a crucial role in coordinating and synchronizing the employment of air support assets to achieve the mission objectives.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)
  • Forward Air Controller (FAC)
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP)
  • Close Air Support (CAS)
  • Airspace Coordination Area (ACA)

Sources for More Information