The United States is shifting more attack and surveillance aircraft from Afghanistan to the air war against the Islamic State, deepening American involvement in the conflict and presenting new challenges for the military planners who work here in central South Carolina, far from the targets they will pick for those aircraft.
A dozen A-10 ground-attack planes have recently moved from Afghanistan to Kuwait, where they are to start flying missions supporting Iraqi ground troops as early as this week, military officials said. About half a dozen missile-firing Reaper drones will also be redeployed from Afghanistan in the next several weeks.
Perhaps nowhere outside the Middle East do the additional aircraft have a more direct impact than at this Air Force base, which has become a leading symbol of the military’s ability to carry out global operations from afar. […]