Friday, April 17, 2009

Bring in the Red Queen

The tale of the “Kill the F-22” decision gets curiouser and curiouser. We would like to call your attention to a significant item in today’s edition of’s “Daily Report,” written by the Magazine’s Executive Editor, John Tirpak. Tirpak attended a speech by Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force Chief of Staff, and filed this report.

The Military Requirement Is 243: Despite Defense Secretary Robert Gates' announcement earlier this month that 187 F-22s is a sufficient inventory for the Air Force—and his claim that the service did not make a case for more—Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said yesterday that "243 is the military requirement" for the advanced fifth-generation fighter. Speaking at a National Aeronautic Association luncheon in Washington, D.C., Schwartz acknowledged that 243 Raptors would have been a "moderate-risk" inventory, while 381 F-22s, the long-standing requirement prior to this year, was a low-risk number. (Schwartz and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley articulated these points in an April 13 op-ed in the Washington Post.) During his talk, Schwartz elaborated on the decision to cap production at 187, saying that "nothing is free," and that more F-22s would mean less of something else. "Our conclusion was and remains—Mike Donley and I—that more F-22s are unaffordable in the context of other things we must do," said Schwartz (his emphasis). He declined to say whether the number 187 represents a "high-risk" fleet of F-22s, though, and when pressed, said "I gave you my answer."

At a very minimum, this raises a question about what Defense Secretary Robert Gates meant when he claimed, on April 6, that “the military advice I got” was that there was no “military need” for more than 187 Raptors. Huh? Military advice that was not based on a military requirement? Or a military requirement that was not included in his military advice? Or what? Alice in Wonderland might understand this, but we don’t. Can anyone elucidate?

1 comment:

GB said...

Thanks John-
Did our AF Leadership simply sell out on our Combat Military Requirement on F-22? The truth? CSAF was never able to brief Gates--Gates cancelled the "243 briefing" over 5 times acc. to E-ring friends. So Gates ONLY got advice from the OSD PAE/ATL Anti-Raptor Mafia. He kills F-22/NGB/CSAR-X then threatens the CSAF to sign up to supporting 187 or else? What about the uniformed advice of the CSAF? Why aren't former CSAFs standing up under the AF Memorial and locking arms against this BS!? Why aren't former SecAFs saying this is a breach of faith to our Combat AFs? Where are our retired 3 & 4 star combat leaders? Why is COMACC not screaming for a Hearing!? Their Silence is Deafening. I don't get it.

We teach our AFA & ROTC cadets about the courage of Billy Mitchell and the lessons of airpower, and NOW this? We see our AF Leaders signing Op-Eds like proverbial yes-men? The Mission of the AF is to Fly and Fight, but judging by the last 2 weeks its about surrendering to idiots in OSD who can't claim a single combat aviator amongst them.