At Odds with Air Force, Army adds it's Own Aviation Unit

Just_A_Mom

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AT Odds with Air Force, Army adds it's own Aviation Unit

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/w...d=1&adxnnlx=1214216522-qf4OjoQX5UW3EE6D8205Kg

Ever since the Army lost its warplanes to a newly independent Air Force after World War II, soldiers have depended on the sister service for help from the sky, from bombing and strafing to transport and surveillance. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have frayed the relationship, with Army officers making increasingly vocal complaints that the Air Force is not pulling its weight.
In Afghanistan, Army officers have complained about bombing missions gone awry that have killed innocent civilians. In Iraq, Army officers say the Air Force has often been out of touch, fulfilling only half of their requests for the sophisticated surveillance aircraft that ground commanders say are needed to find roadside bombs and track down insurgents.
The Air Force responds that it has only a limited number of those remotely piloted Predators and other advanced surveillance aircraft, so priorities for assigning them must be set by senior commanders at the headquarters in Baghdad working with counterparts at the Air Force’s regional command in Qatar. There are more than 14,000 airmen performing tasks on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Air Force civil engineers replacing Army construction engineers.
But now in Iraq, the Army has quietly decided to try going it alone for the important surveillance mission, organizing an all-Army surveillance unit that represents a new move by the service toward self-sufficiency, and away from joint operations.
Senior aides to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates say that he has shown keen interest in the Army initiative — much to the frustration of embattled Air Force leaders — as a potential way to improve battlefield surveillance.
The work of the new aviation battalion was initially kept secret, but Army officials involved in its planning say it has been exceptionally active, using remotely piloted surveillance aircraft to call in Apache helicopter strikes with missiles and heavy machine gun fire that have killed more than 3,000 adversaries in the last year and led to the capture of almost 150 insurgent leaders.........................................................
read on.....
 

HS senior USMA

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Interesting. Given the Air Force's recent leadership troubles and apparent inability to make informed decisions (Boeing or French tankers?), it would not surprise me to see the Army increase their aviational capacity even further.
 

Zaphod

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Whatever the outcome, I hope it provides the best possible air support (be it CAS, Intel, CCC, or whatever) that the ground forces need.

One could argue that the USAF should be limited to strategic assets: Heavy bombers, ICBM's, strategic recon, etc. This is because of the issues already stated, that close-air-support is best provided by those who are more closely linked and associated with the troops on the ground.

The Marines have worked this into a well-oiled machine. There is a reason that USMC pilots wear camouflage covers on their helmets, and it's not just because it might help them in a fight: it's also a sign that they are MARINES supporting brother Marines on the ground.

If the Army wants to pull off a similar model, they will need to figure out how to scale the Marine model up to Army proportions, deal with the logistics (at least the Marines can bring their air cover along on carriers and Amphibs, the Army would need actual airfields) and, of course, sell the whole thing to that bunch of pinheads up on Capitol Hill.


To be honest, I think, moving forward decades (and perhaps even centuries), the final military model will end up being the Navy (right up to starships and supporting vessels) and Marines (doing the groundwork). The boundries will be on-planet or off-planet, not at-sea or ashore.

Not a good thing for Air Force types contemplating career stability. :biggrin:
 
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ds52262

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This arguement has been made since 1947. Why do those XXXX flyboys need their own service branch. The Army never really got over the Air Force standing alone, and the Navy has always resented it too.

CAS is one of the arguments Gates used to fire SecAF and CSAF. Today you have Raptors controlled from Nellis, A-10's, and Spec-ops AC130's ready to ruin any insurgents day,week,month. This power struggle continue, and the complaints will too.
 

hornetguy

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If you've seen the video from April of the Georgian UAV being destroyed by a Russian MiG-29, the argument for having raptors and manned fighters is a little more relevent. UAVs are great when the enemy has no anti-air capabilities.
 

Zaphod

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The Army never really got over the Air Force standing alone, and the Navy has always resented it too.
Well, when you consider that the Air Force actually tried to take command of our carriers and missile subs, you can understand why.

CAS is one of the arguments Gates used to fire SecAF and CSAF.
Actually, it was their complete failure to maintain appropriate security and controls over nuclear weapons. Damned good reason if you ask me.
 

Zaphod

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If you've seen the video from April of the Georgian UAV being destroyed by a Russian MiG-29, the argument for having raptors and manned fighters is a little more relevent. UAVs are great when the enemy has no anti-air capabilities.
I don't think anyone is arguing against manned aircraft*, just who owns them.

* except, perhaps, for people with the same mindset as those brilliant minds in the 1950's who said, "A gun on a warplane? Who needs it? Missiles will do!"

OOPS! :thumbdown:
 

ds52262

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ZAP you can find failures of leadership and command across all branches. It isn't isolated to a single branch. I believe in recent days the Ironman Commander VQ-3 was relieved for an inappropriate relationship. The Commander and his XO on the Washington were both relieved of duty. It would be simple to find examples across each service, but doesn't really serve any purpose.

When I joined we were truly 5 separate services. Over my 21 years we became 1 force. Today seeing Airmen,Soldiers. Sailors and Marines side by side is the norm. Turf wars do not serve the men and women on the ground. Interservice rivalry is no longer healthy.

I remember the argument in the early 1990's about how we would never fight another large Armor ground war. The overwhelming dominance of airpower used against Saddam's army caused it's total collapse. Well I think GWII and the current crisis in Georgia certainly change the dynamics of that argument.
 

Zaphod

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ZAP you can find failures of leadership and command across all branches. It isn't isolated to a single branch. I believe in recent days the Ironman Commander VQ-3 was relieved for an inappropriate relationship. The Commander and his XO on the Washington were both relieved of duty. It would be simple to find examples across each service, but doesn't really serve any purpose.
I never said that failures of leadership were limited to one branch. They most certainly are not. My beloved Navy, for example, has had a string of reliefs-for-cause lately, the most recent I am aware of being the CO and XO of GEORGE WASHINGTON after a particularly nasty fire that was caused by a number of standards and regulations being violated by the crew.

All I was doing was correcting you on the reasons the SECAF had been canned.

When I joined we were truly 5 separate services. Over my 21 years we became 1 force. Today seeing Airmen,Soldiers. Sailors and Marines side by side is the norm. Turf wars do not serve the men and women on the ground. Interservice rivalry is no longer healthy.
It was never healthy, and we certainly got rid of a lot of pointless bickering that was more about ego than function. In the case cited, IF the argument is truly that the Army believes it can provide itself better cover than the USAF has been providing, then either we need to fix the USAF or else we need to see what the USA is griping about. As I said above, my only concern is that the result be the BEST solution that maximizes our ability to accomplish missions. If that means USAF retains CAS and other missions, then fine by me.

But what if the Army guys have a real point?

I remember the argument in the early 1990's about how we would never fight another large Armor ground war. The overwhelming dominance of airpower used against Saddam's army caused it's total collapse. Well I think GWII and the current crisis in Georgia certainly change the dynamics of that argument.
Same idiots who thought dogfights were obsolete and guns on destroyers a waste. No vision due to blinders of their own making.
 

hornetguy

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I think one of the big problems, regardless of the service, is the requirements to fly a predator. People have to have fighter/bomber training (learned to drop bombs) and have gone through UPT. If they could help revamp the reqirements to allow more people the opportunity to fly them, then the shortage of pilots could be addressed. I like Bullet's idea of bringing back Warrant Officers to the AF for predator pilot in the way Army has them in helos.
 

ds52262

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Warrant Officers would be a good solution. The one thing you don't want is a fastmover flying close to the ground being suddenly surprised by the presence of an unexpected UAV.

ZAP I still believe that the SecAF and CSAF were sacrafices on the alter of SecDef Gates. I am sorry but I have no faith in Gates. His ties to the CIA just do not impress me.

My first AF assignment was at FE Warren and I fully understand Nuclear Assurance, PRP, and Accountability. You can be sure there were significant failures in the handling of these weapons over recent years. I think the real failure is in the National Command Authority and abolishing SAC. SAC became a powerfull goliath and many in the fighter community wanted it taken down a notch (I blame McPeak). By retiring the Command that had controlled those weapons since Curtis Lemay's days we threw the baby out with the bath water.

I should note that I hated my time in SAC. Endless boring exercises. Pointless reviews of documentation. Stupid PRP notifications. In hindsite they all had a purpose.
 
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