The Battle over Fire Support: The CAS Challenge and the Future of Artillery Focus stratégique, No. 35 bis, October 2012
Traditionally, maneuver units are designed for mobility and control of the ground, while supporting forces (artillery, aviation) deliver fires to protect the former and ensure their freedom of action.
As a result of the introduction of mobile artillery in the XVIIIth Century, and even more so with the development of an effective tactical aviation, fire support has played a crucial tactical role in the major conventional conflicts of the XXth Century. No longer subject to the marginalization imposed by the nuclear era, fire support has now come to the crossroads: while Close Air Support often proved decisive during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, practical experience has nonetheless shown that artillery and mortars remain essential. The future of fire support will therefore depend on both budgetary constraints and strategic considerations: armed forces will have to define a new joint balance that takes into account the various components of fire support and is politically and financially sustainable.