Saturday, June 14, 2008
The Air Force shakeup
The shift was long over due.
Somehow when the Bomber Generals got thrown out, along with there Peace is our Profession motto, they were replaced by the Air to Air Generals.
Air Superiority missions have another name, Defensive Counter Air. Defense never won a war, never will.
What wins a war is a grunt with a rifle saying, "This freaking piece of ground belongs to the US." Nothing less.
Neither the Bomber nor the Air to Air Generals would give the time of day to the people doing the fighting: Fighter Bombers, Attack Aircraft, FACs and Special Operations. The war in Southeast Asia was an anomaly. You had an air war in the North and a ground war in the South. The two were not in many senses connected.
Desert One was an Air War, followed by a Ground War. There was no follow-on.
Desert Two is only a Ground War, the Red side did not fly one sortie. The only need for the Air Force is for CAS and Transport. CAS is becoming a bit different, but it is still the direct support of our troops, mostly in contact.
So, what was the service priority?
What is the F-22?
It is an Air Superiority Fighter with very limited Air to Ground capability.
What use is it in the current war?
I have no idea, neither apparently does anyone else. Mostly, it looks cool doing fly bys at Langley.
What is the solution?
Gates had part of the idea.
First fire all the generals and colonels. Promote fighters. The people that should be running the Air Force are those who support the concept of winning wars against our enemies. The only way to do that is with Joint Action. Let's see FACs, SOP and Fighter Bomber / Attack people running things.
The UCAVs are interesting. They in some ways are the way of the future for limited wars, given our casualty aversion. Their use in a major war rather limited, however.
The last two Chiefs of Staff have managed to make the Air Force seem irrelevant.
One parting thought, even though the current war is a limited conflict, China can go to war at any time. They are our real current enemy and we need to be ready to defeat them. By the way, 180 F-22s won't do squat there either.