Friday, June 06, 2008
An Unofficial Critique of the US Air Force [Steve Schippert]
My friend John Noonan is an Air Force officer. His comments at The Weekly Standard's blog on the recent shake-up atop the Air Force at Secretary Gates's hand are therefore equally interesting, particularly the following observations:
All that said, the USAF has a ways to go. Looking back on its history, dismantling SAC (Strategic Air Command) ranks up there in the service's all time worst decisions. Air Force Space Command isn't a good fit for our 500 ICBMs and the fighter orientated Air Combat Command isn't a good fit for nuclear bombers. Effective reorganization that cuts through the miles of red tape and re-simplifies the strategic mission is what the nuclear world really needs.
Now the unofficial line. There's been a series of incidents over the past few years that have isolated Air Force leadership from the rest of the Pentagon. The overly simplified version is that the other three services went out to fight this new war while the Air Force sat at home and demanded hyper-expensive weapon systems. They tried to grab at the Army's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) force, were reluctant to deploy increased numbers of UAVs into theater, crawled from acquisitions disaster to acquisitions disaster, and capped it all off with the twin nuclear fiascos.
Again, that's over-simplified. But it is the popular perception in the Pentagon. And Gates seems to have had enough. These firings look like a warning shot to the entire service: either get with the program, or I'll find someone who will.
06/06 01:57 PMShare