Friday, June 19, 2009

Three Op-Eds well worth reading

Saturday June 20, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, I have three "op-eds" to bring to your attention.

The first, by General (Ret) Gregory S. Martin argues that the lens to measure DOD "rebalancing" of the force should be viewed over 20-30 years. He also argues that DOD's decision to terminate the C-17 and F-22 production lines; cancel the next Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter, the Presidential Helicopter, the multiple kill vehicle, the next generation bomber and the Transformational Satellite communication system; and moving the Airborne Laser program to a research and development effort delivered a potentially destructive blow to America's air and space industrial base. You can find the op-ed here.

The second op-ed, by General (Ret) Lawrence A. Skantze, notes that the Air Force is making a major contribution to the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is not getting the credit it deserves from the media. He also notes the many stories of bravery from our Airmen. You can find the op-ed here.

The last piece, by Tom Brokaw, was written on 6 June of this year. I challenge all you to ask your children/grandchildren/spouse what of significance happened on 6 June … in an earlier year. In the piece Mr. Brokaw cites the bravery and sacrifices of the "greatest generation." If you have not read his book (The Greatest Generation), I highly recommend it to you. The link can also be found here.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn


Unknown said...

June 6, 1944 to paraphrase FDR is a day that will live in our memories forever. While I was not an active participant in the invasion; Our Division, the 13th Airborne was held in reserve to augment the 82nd and 101st Airborne. My unit was the 2nd Bn of the 515th Prcht Inf Regiment.

Jesse Callahan, TSgt, USAF retired

Unknown said...

I have thought from the beginning that the "pilots" for drones should be accommodated by a return to the Warrant Officer program in the USAF. The analogy is the Warrants the Army used in Vietnam and subsequently, which provides a suitable career path without any artificiality in planning career paths for commissioned officers. No one can fault the value of the Army's Warrant program nor the dedication of the participants.

Unknown said...

All good articles.

In the early 80’s I ran into an Army colonel who was military attaché in London during the Falklands war between the UK and Argentina. He had been cornered by members of the British media and badgered to reveal what great strategic lessons had been learned by the U.S. from the great victory of the UK military. He thought for a moment and then responded that we had relearned the lesson that the price of deterrence is much less than the cost of fighting a war. He knew that the UK had made a budget decision a few years earlier to significantly reduce their military presence on the south Atlantic. They paid much more to prosecute the Falklands war.

The Air Force used to be perceived as the premier deterrent force during the period of the Cold War. Then deterrence was always associated with our nuclear posture. What escapes me is why we aren’t still seen as the deterrent force even in our conventional missions. Don’t we recall that Saddam Hussein buried his fighters in 2003 rather than put them up against the USAF? Several months ago retired Army General Barry McCaffrey did a paper highlighting the deterrent posture of the US Air Force, but I seldom hear that argument used in national media or on the hill.

Must we relearn the lesson outlined by that Army colonel from the Falklands conflict once again?

Pete Robinson
Major General, Retired, USAF

Bill T. said...

This comment is on Gen Skantze article on lack of recognition for USAF bravery:

1. I don't think it is just a USAF problem. I think the media generally and purposefully ignores most military bravery. This is done at least partly because the media believes that to recognize bravery is to glorify war (vs. protect our country).

2. Another related problem that bothers me is that the media doesn't realize the effectiveness that Air Power has in counterinsurgency. About the only thing that comes through is UAV effectiveness in the Northwest Territories in Pakistan. For example, the media might say, "A prominent Taliban leader and six others were killed by a UAV strike." There are no similar comments on strikes (manned or UAV) within Afghanistan, unless something goes wrong (or is alleged to go wrong).

3. Would it be possible for the USAF to post a website that listed every USAF strike (manned or unmanned) that killed terrorists or came to the aid of US/Iraqi/Afghani ground forces? I could see a classification problem in some cases, but it would seem that it would be OK for public knowledge in most cases.

4. If such a website could be made, it would illustrate an essential truth which is Air Power can strike terrorists without losing US troops (in the unmanned case) and extremely few troops in the manned case. Essentially, Air Power is the most effective way to kill terrorists (i.e., no significant US losses). Of course, Air Power is not going to possible to use in every case.