The scope of air-based threats is growing with increased intensity and momentum. As such, air superiority is a chief factor for a country’s air force to be able to operate. Strategic air defense in the US has always been a subject of interest. The 9/11 attacks were a realization on the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) part of the new threat and the need to renew and reinforce technology that addresses such attacks.
Prior to the 9/11 attack, the prime focus of the air defense artillery (ADA) was on attacks that were external while little attention was channeled towards those from the inside. This was because, at that moment, an attack whereby someone would employ planes that were in the US seemed less probable. The attack impacted the ADA in several ways, which include the realization that the ADA needed to make changes that combat the newfound threat. While the radar coverage was indicative during the 9/11 attack, the ADA saw the need to increase it such that it is day and night, unlike formerly. The sector has a new and developing technology equipped with more significant and efficient computer interfaces. The ADA is now more dynamically engaged in the detection of all aircraft within the US. Initially, the ADA did not interact with the air traffic control center supervisor; however, after the attack, direct lines of contact were set up so that everyone is connected. The ADA is to be understood as an organization of overlapping interactive ranges of distinct air defense systems. This means measures should be all-inclusive of traditional and new threats as they all warrant technological innovations.
Additionally, it brought forth the need to train the controllers on air traffic control. Controllers are usually trained to keep aircrafts alienated and not to vector them collectively (Jones, 2011). Some controllers on duty during the 9/11 attack had air traffic experience, and one had military experience regarding vector aircrafts. The number of individuals with the necessary training proved to be a drawback, and there were also reservations whether the training incorporated intercept drills and hijack models. While the practice may not have confronted the controllers with suicide hijackers, it highlighted the particular areas that warrant more training to proficiently mold personnel who can decipher primary radar return signals and hence act timely and accordingly.
Moreover, the attacks indicate a defective counterterrorism approach. Given that great emphasis was on outside attacks, the occurrence of the 9/11 attacks demonstrated that the interventions in place were aimed at the wrong target (Thrall and Goepner, 2017). The approach saw the US work on the wrong problem for a long time such that the event sparked confusion and fear. Surface to air artillery ought to have sheltered the pentagon from the incoming plane. A policy of reinforcing the ADA aloft 24 hours in a day could have made probable the gun down of the New York plane, saving hundreds of lives. Rather than abandon entire states unguarded by air bases, distributing other troops evenly throughout the country would have minimized the response time to a bare minimum.
In addition, there were increased additional costs in efforts to implement modern security systems. The sector responded to terrorism by investing billions of dollars in exploration and development of superior detection equipment. Many of the models of detection devices are still not tested to uphold day to day functions, which means more funding is needed to make them more productive and even develop additional security strategies. The war on terror has played a significant role in augmenting the US budget deficit, given that defense spending takes a big proportion, and there is no practical way of decreasing it.
Nonetheless, the attack prompted discussions of fighter pilots making the definitive forfeit. The fighters are meant to shadow the hijacked flights. This was in case all arms ran out, and there was a need to use force. Some pilots were taking into account risking their own lives by using their planes to stop hijacked flights. Given that flight 93 crashed before the fighter jets narrowed in on it, some the air force deemed some situations to be by whatever means necessary events. However, this is still an issue that warrants in-depth discussion.
Finally, ADA made strategies to destroy the terror groups with global reach. Though the scope of terrorism targeted at Americans increased slightly since the 9/11 attacks, the numbers grew in other places around the globe (Thrall and Goepner, 2017). The new organizations formed in the air force purpose to counter even terrorist groups that are capable of initiating attacks from their host nations. To date, curbing the causal conditions of terrorism includes both intangible and fiscal aspects.
In conclusion, over a decade after the 9/11 attack, the new type of war that met the air defense artillery and prompted a new task for the US air force was no longer novel. Given the perpetual and evolving nature of terrorist threats against air force, it is unlikely that the war will cease in the near future.
Jones, P. D. (2011). The First 109 Minutes: 9/11 and the US Air Force, 2011. Air Force History and Museums Program.
Thrall, A. T., & Goepner, E. (2017). Step Back: Lessons for US Foreign Policy from the Failed War on Terror. Cato Institute, Policy Analysis, (814).