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Greater US Role in Iraq Requires Major Commitment

“It may be tempting to put U.S. troops alongside Iraqis on the front lines against ISIS , but it would be far more difficult and complicated than it may seem,” Marcus Weisgerber notes.  

“Augmenting an Iraqi unit with a U.S. specialist — say, a joint terminal attack controller, skilled in guiding air strikes — would require a lot of hidden support… The U.S. military has combat search-and-rescue and medevac forces positioned to rescue pilots downed on strike missions inside Iraq and Syria. These units, including the elite Air Force units that fly the HH -60 Pave Hawk CSAR helicopter, are based in neighboring countries.”  

“But if JTACs were embedded with Iraqi forces, these rescue and medevac units might need to be moved closer to the battlefield… Basing aircraft in a warzone is not as simple as sending pilots, pararescuemen and maintenance crews to a base. Additional forces are needed to make sure the aircraft are secure. Security personnel can easily outnumber aircrew.”

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