The Military Girds for the Battle of the Potomac

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by bruno, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    http://battleland.blogs.time.com/20...rds-for-the-battle-of-the-potomac/#more-56855

    This is a pretty combative blog that should raise plenty of hackles among the services, one in particular.

    ....
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    It levels a lot at the AF, but this happens to every service. For every claim that "Airpower Alone" can solve every problem, there are going to be complaints that the AF isn't even "in the fight." Both are equally ridiculous.

    Toward the part about inter-service rivalry and budget desires overtaking rational decision making...yeah, I can believe that. We definitely saw a lot of that during the Cold War (Davy Crockett anyone?)
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I just want to sit back and watch this conversation progress.

    My only input.... the U.S. Marine Corps is just over 4 times the size of the U.S. Coast Guard, but has a budget 16 times that of the Coast Guard. Feel free to make cuts, but if it comes from the Coast Guard, still operating WWII era cutters, you can assume the service will fail across the board. Doing more with less won't work for another 221 years.


    The blog post was interesting....got a distinct political slant, but the quotes were the more interesting of all.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    In most ways, the Air Force isn't in the fight. That's not a criticism, it's just a fact of the environment. Their biggest role has been UAVs (which I predict will be wrestled away from them), hospitals, C-130 ring routes, and augmentees. That doesn't bode well for fighter pilots and their bomber brethren.

    The Air Force has been pretty well coddled in the budget department for longer than the other services, it seems. Even when we ignore the nuances of the budgets and how expensive aircraft are, the service has prospered over the last 20 years, especially where facilities are concerned. It's a force to be proud of, and the best in the world. But it didn't come cheap.

    The brass's perceived temper tantrum over the F-22 program not being extended has not helped the general opinion of the Air Force and budgets. The real problem the Air Force will have, in my opinion, is that the service itself isn't that adaptable in a low-intensity environment. That's not to say that they aren't adaptable at all, but in general the service is more narrowly focused. Combine that with the legendary focus on the last war, and the budgetary future could be tough for the Air Force.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    That's taking a bit of a short view. Sure, the F-22 and F-15C aren't in the fight. The enemy has no air force. The AWACS, JSTARS, KCs, C-130s, C-17s, AC-130s, B-1s, A-10s, F-15Es, F-16s, CV-22s, HH-60s, MC-12s, U-28s, etc are active. That's JUST the aircraft.
     
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    While I appreciate your point, you may recall that I've spent more than a minute aviatin' in that part of the world. Allow me to carry your point further. Can you find those airframes in theater? Sure. In small numbers. There were more Army aircraft at Taji than there were Air Force aircraft in the entire country. The majority of cargo in and out of theater has been contract air flying old Russian iron. More than half of the nightly CAS was Navy air. JSTARS is occasionally worth its while, but you're talking about only 2 or 3 flights a day. B-1s? Their heyday is long since over, especially under tight ROE. The C-130s' main mission is to move people to Kuwait and Manas, mostly for R&R. We own how many C-5s and C-17s but we all fly Omni Airlines to theater. Most of the C-12s in country belong to the Army, btw. HH-60s? A handful, and all SAR missions are supplemented by the Army or Marines.

    It's not a personal affront. The Air Force just doesn't have a big role.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  7. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Possibly the biggest problem for the Air Force right now is that: All the other services can supply their own air capability. As stated before, this conflict isn't large scale and doesn't require the firepower of the bombers or fighters.

    Will the air force lose funding because of that?
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You seemed to leave out the A-10 in your initial statement Scout....according to my Army aviation friend....the U.S. Army wanted those A-10s before the Air Force decided to keep 'em.

    Maybe Scouth just wants some pretty Air Force planes? :wink:
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That's been one of those pervasive rumors, and don't know if it's ever been proven to be true. It's a good airframe for tank-busting and can be effective in a CAS role in an environment where collateral damage isn't a huge concern.

    The Air Force just doesn't have a ton of them in theater at any given time, so to point to them as a major factor in these wars doesn't make sense. I did almost get run over by one while hovering in a battle position, though.
     
  10. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    1st off, we always need to remember the needs for the battle may change. Right now this is a ground battle world, minus Libya. Yet, it became a ground battle because of fighters that took out strategic targets, such as coms and utilities.

    Since 1991 while the Army walked away from the sandbox, the AF and the Navy have never left the sandbox. They flew operational missions for decades using the AEF model. They rotate in and out of that region constantly. Anytime the Army needs a lift somewhere it is the AF that helps them out, which is why we have joint installations like Dix/Maquire, Elmendorf/Rich, Bragg/Pope to name a few. Bullet went operational Jan 1990, and retired in 2008, he was in the sandbox 6 times. Add in he did a 2 yr tour with the 82nd, 1 yr at CGSC, 3 yrs at the Pentagon., and 3 yrs PACAF, that put him there a lot for the Strike Eagle. That also doesn't include being sent as AF rated officer to the Green Zone for support to lead airstrikes. 3 yrs later the 335th/336th still go to the sand box for 4 months every yr. No they are not in Iraq or Afghanistan per se, but they are flying missions over Iraq and Afghanistan...they have that little thing called a refueler to allow them to keep the planes safely away.

    My point is just like helo's can't accomplish every mission, nor can F-22's. Our brass has decided what to utilize for each mission. The 22's aren't their pick. The 22's are stationed in AK for PACAF. That is their theater, and if something happens in Korea, they will be the ones to respond, we are not going to pull from Shaw as first response. You know that purely from the fact that crossing time zones and down time required. We need to remove the bubble perspective and look at the big picture.

    I am old enough to remember the Brac back in the late 80's, and the A-10 was to be boneyarded, only because of their success in the Gulf were they given a reprieve. Had the Gulf never occurred the 10 would only be on sticks at AF bases now, like the 4 and the 111.

    IMPO it was fiscally right and sound to shut the pipeline for the 22 at the original number because the 35 was coming on line too. Also, just like helo's, even fighters have a specific type of mission, such as Air to Air and Air to Ground, some like the Strike have both, but I am pretty sure many pilots would say it's main function is Air to Ground, especially 22 pilots. No need to send a 22 to the region because there are no air threats. The Strike which is still in that theater, and was the one to respond to Prince Harry is there because it has an air to ground mission. Remember, sometimes it is the AF to answer the call from troops on the ground for doing a strike.

    Now, going onto the next issue, which ties into the 22. If we have these defense cuts, I do believe we will be looking at higher unemployment numbers. Many of these towns live and die by contracts for military hardware. If not just those towns, but so do the towns surrounding the installations. Reducing military personnel numbers will mean these members leaving that town to go back home. Homes will go up for sale, and create a glut, driving prices down. Business that exist for the military will no longer have a supply to meet their financial needs, thus laying off townies.

    If you look at places like Dix, there is nothing there except for the base. NJers call it the Pine BARRENs as in barren. It is not the hot spot of NJ. Look at Quantico, in VA it is house upon house until you ht Triangle, and than it is land...go 5 miles south to Aquia and it is house upon house. Close Quantico and the hotels, go buh-by. The Amtrack station shuts down. It is a ripple down effect not only for the military, but the townies who rely on the military to earn a living.

    The problem with our society is we live in our own personal bubble and believe that because it doesn't impact you directly, it won't impact you indirectly.

    Look inside a tank, a helo, a ship, an aircraft. Now before you say we don't need that product, start really looking at it, and count the industries that will be impacted. Somebody has to make those light bulbs, computer chips, restraints, glass, paint, metal, etc. Somebody because the contract was cancelled will probably get a pink slip. Where do they go? The unemployment office and start to collect benefits, which will be less than their paycheck, so they won't be going out to dinner as much or shopping as much. What happens next...the restaurant and retailers don't hire or let go. See the downward cycle?

    The fact and the reality is one thing that is probably staving off higher unemployment numbers is the Defense budget.

    The sad part is if you ever spent a week in DC, you would see the amount of waste there is from the amount of GS's we have, people who once passed probationary period make firing a tenure professor a walk in the park. Before you slam me for well fire them and it increases unemployment, this is true, but not to the level of dinging the DOD. The majority of them are staffers, that can float into civil jobs. Their job does not impact another industry like the closure of a base or a program.

    Here's an upshot for the day
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/15/obama-rules-out-new-f-16s-for-taiwan/

    Lockheed Martin people must be happy!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Just saw Luigi's cover of Marine Corp Times on the gay issue...did anybody else notice the line above it.

    "Hey Pilots! 10 K to leave Active Duty and Fly Reserve"

    That should be a big clue the Marines feel they have a problem regarding balancing their numbers from a fiscal perspective.

    Usually, bonuses like this aren't given out freely.... aka pay you to leave in the corporate world. Corporate people know that is not something you want to hear.
     
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No, it did not become a ground battle. It was ALWAYS a ground battle, as every war must be at its core. It only gained an air component when NATO decided to stick our collective noses in it. The rebels and Qaddafi loyalists were duking it out with Russian iron in the streets when we got there.

    You've trotted this argument out before. I believe we established then that the actual percentage of AF involvement was small. While the AF and Navy were doing that, the Army was doing Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, and Kosovo (speaking of things that got walked away from quickly...the AD Army was still doing Kosovo rotations in 2003...after the 1998 war). Everyone got their pet missions in the 90s. But we aren't talking about the 90s.

    Oh, if only THAT were true. It would be great if it worked that way. Ask any Soldier how he got to Iraq or Afghanistan. His answer will be "by contract air."

    What does this mean in a discussion about where to make budget cuts?

    You say we need to have a big picture perspective. Then you start talking about not making hard cuts because barber shops and Waffle Houses in military towns might not survive. Which is it?

    We can't sustain these budgets. Period. And we can't fool ourselves into thinking we're floating the economy with hardware production.
     
  14. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    "Get ready to be hosed by a torrent of disinformation."

    Nicely predicted, Bruno.

    A LOT of it going on here, mostly based on the tint of the glasses being worn...
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Feel free to weigh in if you have some information to add.

    My point remains the same: The Air Force has done well in the budgetary battles over the last 20 years. But when you combine their minimized role in the current fights with the well-known myopia that seems to prevent us from ever effectively predicting the hardware we'll need for the next fight, the Air Force stands to really get slammed in the budget showdown.

    Is aviation expensive? Yes. It is. That's been evident. In the 20 years from 1985 to 2005, the Air Force budget component in constant dollars exceeded the Army all 20 years and exceeded the Navy budget several times. Not bad, especially when one considers the austerity of the 90s. According to the DoD Budget Authority by Component chart, in FY10 the AF still got $4 billion more than the Army, and only $12 bn less than the Navy/Marine Corps combined budget.

    The quote "the smallest Air Force since the Air Force was created" indicates (to me at least) that I'm not the only one who sees this coming.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  16. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I was confused by the assertion in the article that USAF leadership still thinks that "airpower alone" can win conflicts. Is that really the case, especially after the last decade? Maybe Gen. Vandenberg felt slighted after reading an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, but do his opinions represent the service as a whole? It's hard for me to believe.

    Curtis LeMay has been dead for a while.

    On second thought, maybe it isn't that hard to believe.....
     
  17. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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  18. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    That was my takeaway as well.
     
  19. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Scout, I think Pima's point was simply that the big picture is a collage of little pictures.

    It will be interesting what the President announces on Monday when he lays out the details to Congress. Won't be pretty, I expect.
     
  20. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    I think this thread is going to turn into a very informative thread to some of us layman (me being the biggest one!). But I would like to point out that in our little world on this forum we are starting to see exactly what the blogger posted about as Bullet pointed out. I can only image the “fighting” that’s going on at the higher up levels that we’re not privy to. Makes for a great debate.:thumb:
     

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