Air Resupply and Communications Service - History - Background


By 1948, it became apparent to US leadership that the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin could not be appeased, persuaded, or otherwise convinced to respect the territorial rights of its neighbor nations. The United States Air Force (USAF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been created by the National Security Act of 1947 and activated a short time later.

Visionaries in the Pentagon reasoned that the next war would be fought and won (or lost) in the minds of those fighting it. Subsequently, the Psychological Warfare Division was established at the Air Staff in February 1948. By definition psychological warfare in 1948 was synonymous with special operations as defined during World War II. The new Psychological Warfare Division (also known as PW) division immediately set about to develop plans to fight this "new" type of warfare, which came to be known as psychological warfare, or PSYWAR for short.

In 1950 Air Staff/PW created two special operaions wings devoted to the PSYWAR mission and scheduled them to be activated in 1952. The plan called for three additional wings to be activated in 1953, with future growth programmed to seven wings. On 5 January 1951 the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) was tasked to organize, train, and equip these new wings. For security purposes, the special operations wings were designated "Air Resupply and Communications wings". A new service was established to provide oversight for this new capability and was designated the Air Resupply and Communications Service (ARCS).

Activated on 23 February 1951 at Andrews AFB, Maryland, the ARCS represented the most ambitious commitment to special operations since World War II and was responsible for oversight of the PSYWAR mission of the US Air Force. The catalyst for this new capability was the requirement by the CIA for long-range air transport of guerrilla warfare agents and supplies into Soviet occupied Europe and Northwest Asia. ARCS was responsible for USAF unconventional warfare (guerrilla warfare), direct action (commando-type raids), strategic reconnaissance (intelligence gathering), and PSYWAR operations.

Read more about this topic:  Air Resupply And Communications Service, History

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