The U.S. Air Force plans to reduce its Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) force by over 40% within three years, as part of an adaptation to modern warfare focusing on great-power competition, particularly with China. TACP airmen are elite operatives who specialize in directing airstrikes to support ground troops. This change reflects the military’s expectation of a war where the U.S. won’t necessarily have air dominance, as illustrated by recent events in Ukraine.
- The U.S. military is shifting its focus from decades of Middle East engagement to concentrate on competition with China, notably in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The U.S. Air Force intends to cut its Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) force by over 40% within the next three years, decreasing the number of positions from the current 3,700 to about 2,100.
- TACPs, known for their ability to call in airstrikes to support ground troops, may be consolidated within the Air Combat Command as part of these changes.
- The changes are linked to an expected shift in warfare where the U.S. might not have air dominance, exemplified by recent warfare in Ukraine.
- Despite the reduction in TACPs, the U.S. military isn’t entirely abandoning terminal guidance capabilities, as these skills are also found among Navy SEALS, Army Green Berets, Air Force combat controllers, and Marine raiders.