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Falkland Conflict Essay

1710 words - 7 pages

The Falklands conflict began on Friday, 02 April 1982, when roughly 500 Argentinean special forces landed at Mullet Creek on East Falkland Island. Under Operation Rosario, Argentina advanced on the Government House at Port Stanley against an unorganized garrison of British Royal Marines stationed on the island. Little opposition was encountered and the Argentinean Junta quickly assumed control. On the same day, Brigadier General Mario Menendez was appointed governor of the islands and Port Stanley was immediately renamed Puerto Argentino. Argentina expected at this point that the British would cede sovereignty over the islands through negotiations and with little or no armed ...view middle of the document...

A professional military staff organized in a segregated command arrangement led the Argentinean Junta combat operation. In addition, they commanded a poorly trained and inexperienced combatant force . A theater command, the South Atlantic Theater of Operations (TAOS), was established under Vice Admiral Juan Lombardo to command Argentine naval units and the Falklands garrison. Subordinate to Admiral Lombardo, Brigadier General Benjamin Menendez commanded all Argentine army, air force, and navy units. The Fuerza Aerea Sur (FAS), or Southern Air Force, was established under the command of the air force Brigadier General Ernesto Horacio Crespo. The FAS was outside the authority of the theater commander and reported directly to the Argentine Junta. There existed no single joint commander over all forces.
The Argentine command structure, lacking a single joint commander in the Area of Operations (AO), proved ineffective at strategic planning and joint operations. In a 1994 article in Joint Forces Quarterly, Robert L. Scheina, stated the following: Brigadier General Ernesto Horacio Crespo and Army General Benjamin Rattenbach later led two separate studies reviewing Argentina's command performance during the war. Both studies concluded that a lack of overall jointness, particularly joint training, was a major factor in Argentina's defeat. Robert L. Scheina goes on to state in Joint Force Quarterly how Argentine history has a tradition of establishing separate service identities.
Given this tradition, it should not be surprising that the Argentine army, navy, and air force fought three wars against the British in the Malvinas. But one must understand that the Argentine view of service identity, as established and reinforced by tradition, is the greatest obstacle to joint activity, no matter how desperately circumstances press for such an innovation.
The Argentine center of gravity was the air power of the FAS . With proper operational strategy and joint coordination, Argentina may have recognized that expanding the 4,500-foot runway at Port Stanley would have assisted in increasing their operational capabilities and time over target by allowing forward basing of their high performance strike aircraft such as the Skyhawks and Daggers. The existing runway could not support such operations . Valuable time and forces were spent on travel and en route refueling support operations in order to reach and effectively strike the British fleet. It is plausible to assert that by not acquiring additional airspace control through proper forward placement of their strike aircraft forces, strategic timing and therefore the war was lost.

Once the decision was made by the British to dismantle the Argentine invasion by force, Britain's military power was rapidly mobilized. Operation Corporate was launched from a headquarters in England over 8,000 miles away. The British chain of command fell under the British...

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