Monday, March 2, 2009

"Another View" of the Air War

The New York Times carried a recent piece titled, “From a carrier, another view of America’s air war in Afghanistan." You would think that, before the NYT gives “another view” (the Navy’s view) it would enlighten its readers with the first view — that of the Air Force. You might think that, but you would be wrong. All that the NYT has ever written about THAT war is that USAF doesn’t provide enough ISR and the F-22 hasn’t taken part in it.

This was buried in the second half of the story:

“The Navy says the pilots on the Roosevelt fly about 30 percent of combat missions over Afghanistan; the majority of the flights are handled by the Air Force from bases in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. The Navy was called in last summer when attacks on American and NATO supply lines were on the rise and military commanders decided they needed to get the trucks off the roads and use more air transport.”

So, reading between the lines: Navy air wasn't doing much of anything until last summer. Then, because the war heated up, the Navy was asked to lend a hand. Even so, the Air Force is still handling 70 percent of the (expanded) mission.

Moreover, what does the Navy have to do with the move "to get the trucks off the roads and use more air transport?" Has the Navy, unbeknownst to us, decided to build its own airlifter fleet, like the Army? Or is the NYT reporter just a little confused? To get another view of the air war not seen in the New York Times, a new study, “Airpower in Afghanistan” by Rebecca Grant, will appear on the Mitchell Institute website on Thursday.

1 comment:

Airpower Oracle said...

One more point. The Navy can't get from the carrier to Afghanistan and back to the carrier without refueling from Air Force tankers. The Navy depends on the Air Force to get to the war!