Friday, July 24, 2009

F-22, Dr Schlesinger and Predators

As everyone may know, this week the Senate voted to strip F-22 funds from the Authorization bill. Following that, both Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees announced they would follow suit and not force additional F-22s on the Administration. AFA, of course, believes the Air Force needs more F-22s. AFA made its case often to anyone who would listen. We did our best to counter the mounds of misinformation on the aircraft. However, we did not prevail. I can only hope that years in the future we won't be forced to say: "We wish we had more of these aircraft."

Recently, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) conducted an excellent interview with former Secretary of Defense, Dr. James R. Schlesinger. The subject was nuclear deterrence – a subject in which Dr. Schlesinger is one of our nation's foremost experts. The start of the article quotes Dr. Schlesinger as saying: "Nuclear weapons are used every day." You can find the link to the piece on our website under education and opinion: (selected Dr. Schlesinger for AFA's Lifetime Achievement Award. He will be honored along with the Tuskegee Airmen and the Doolittle Raiders at this year's Anniversary Dinner which ends the Air & Space Conference in Washington on 16 Sep.)

Finally, last week an intriguing piece in the WSJ covered a tough subject – Predators and Civilians. The editorial attempted shed light on the issue of predator strikes which sometimes cause civilian casualties. I think the article is balanced and weighs a lot of factors. You can find the piece at: As an aside, two weeks ago, I listened to The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen Norton A. Schwartz, address a group of House members and staff. He made the point that the name "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" is really a misnomer. It implied that no humans were involved in its operation – which as the experts know is not the case. I have started using the term: "Remotely Piloted Vehicle" or RPV as a better description of this category of weapon system.

For your consideration,


Michael M. Dunn


Jaws said...

General Dunn,
I too believe failure to continue F-22 production is short sighted but it is what it is...bottom line, we haven't lost the technology and can build more, at a greater cost, if need be.
Thanks for your efforts in the support of the nations defense.
Larry Farris
USAF LtCol (Ret)

Unknown said...

I am very disappointed in the efforts of the leadership of the United State Air Force is this endeavor. I don't think one of them ever went before congress and stated the facts. They pussyfooted around the whole issue. I firmly believe that The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen Norton A. Schwartz, should resign. If he is the type of leaders that the Air Force Academy is turning out then perhaps we should look somewhere else for our leadership.

We have a inventory of aircraft that is so old it is unbelievable. I'll bet General Schwartz doesn't drive a 40 year old car! We need to have the Best equipment for our Country, not just what will get us by. We need to be prepared for the unexpected not just what the recent past has showed us. The cancelation of this program reflects the inability of the leaders of the United States Air Force and yes in some respects the Air Force Association to clearly present the case for necessary programs.

I am sure that General Billy Mitchell, Hap Arnold, Ira Eaker, Curtis LeMay and Jimmy Doolittle are turning over in their graves at the performance of the current Air Force Leadership. They all fought long and hard for the strength of the Air Force and I feel that our current leadership has let them down.

I have been told that the real problem is with Secretary Gates. That may be, but public opinion can be a very strong instrument. Perhaps the Air Force Association should spend less time and money on things like the upcoming Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition and put more attention on swaying public opinion. Perhaps our money would be better spent to hire a good New York City Adverstising Agency. I feel they could do a better job than the result that we are currently getting.

Something must be done or we might as well just hand our planes to the Navy and the Army and shut the door. The early leaders of the United State Air Force fought long and very hard for the formation of an Independent Air Force. Some gave their careers and some clearly laid their life on the line for the country and the service. Do we really think that any of our leaders today would take that stand?

I am very concerned that we are standing at the door of the future and we don't seem to have the will or the intelligence to get the door open.


Unknown said...


Robert A.Schwehr said...

"Bombs away"is the battle cry for this Lethal and effective new technology.If "body count"of terrorists is the prime consideration in a WAR of attrition,then this multiplication of AIR POWER is the best answer;However"number crunching"alone is not correct.Flag and General officers must also include allowances for perceptions whether justified or not.The real results of such perceptions are dealt with on the battlefield.WAR and Politics are bedfellows and it has always been so in the history of warfare.Nonetheless,AIR POWER has been given a rejuvenating energy boost with the emergence of remotely piloted vehicles.(UAVS)and surgical AIR STRIKES have vindicated the AIR FORCE.----LtCol US ARMY Robert A.Schwehr member AFA.

GB said...

The wholesale surrender by the CSAF on the tactical combat forces' need for 60 more F-22 has left an appalling rip in the moral fabric of our Air Force. CSAF should've stood up to Gates and refused to lie about the needs of his combat airmen--all while the SecAF incredulously mouthed off to reporters about reducing the "fighter/bomber pilot culture" of the AF.

Yet the CSAF failed. He failed on numerous occasions to even brief Gates on the F-22 243 Moderate Risk Analysis Briefing. He failed to honor his own uniform when he threatened the AFA with financial retribution. He failed to follow his own "Integrity First" motto when he wrote his "187 F-22s is good enough" letter to Senate members before the 21 July vote. Congrats to SecAF and CSAF as they lead the USAF into a disgraceful period of operational risk.

Meanwhile Gates and the President had no problem accepting more purchases of obsolete F/A-18E/Fs--three more years of a fighter that cannot fly and fight where modern SA-20/21s operate today.

I commend our AFA President and AFA leadership for doing the right thing and backing our need for more F-22s. I wish that I could have said the same for the USAF leadership.