Friday, April 03, 2015

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Summit

"A Sham Air Force Summit Can’t Fix the Close Air Support Gap Created by Dumping the A-10":

“I can’t wait to be relieved of the burdens of close air support,” Major General James Post, the vice commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), allegedly told a collection of officers at a training session in August 2014. As with his now notorious warning that service members would be committing treason if they communicated with Congress about the successes of the A-10, Major General Post seems to speak for the id of Air Force headquarters’ true hostility towards the close air support (CAS) mission. Air Force four-stars are working hard to deny this hostility to the public and Congress, but their abhorrence of the mission has been demonstrated through 70 years of Air Force headquarters’ budget decisions and combat actions that have consistently short-changed close air support.

So a conference with the most sophisticated PowerPoint presentations ever designed by junior Air Force officers doesn't replace the commitment to ground troops sucking mud that the A-10 represents?

Ah, a summit. Meetings. Maybe even PowerPoint presentations. And light refreshments. How splendid. Thanks a bunch. Nice to know they care.

Like I said, jointness talks, but money walks.

And we know what the Air Force leadership prioritizes. A summit is no way to build trust with the Army.

Let's go to Strategypage:

Since late 2014 the U.S. Air Force has sought to retire its A-10 aircraft and this time they tried issuing studies and analyses showing that the A-10 was too specialized and too old to justify the cost of keeping it in service. This generated more opposition, and more effective opposition, than the air forces expected. It also gave unwanted publicity to something the air force denies exists but really does; the air force has never really wanted to devote much resources to CAS (Close Air Support) for ground forces. Officially this is not true but in reality it is and the ground forces (army and marines) and historians provided plenty of evidence. The problem is that the air force does not want to allow the army to handle CAS, as is the case with some countries and the U.S. Marine Corps (which provides CAS for marines and any ground forces the marines are operating with).

Do read it all, as the expression goes.

Perhaps Congress should transfer the A-10 squadrons (including the ground support assets and money to operate the planes--and money to design a replacement) to the Army and just let the Army provide its own ground support.