Monday, February 24, 2014

Bad News and Good News

Secretary of Defense Hagel is carrying out his Obama administration function of being a Republican cutting defenses. But more to the point, will these cuts mean the Air Force stops whining about Army UAVs?

We're broke and going more broke every day. So I understand the need to cut defense spending. Even at the risk of cutting too much, if it contributes to a balanced budget eventually, it is worth it. In the long run, our defense spending rests on the foundation of a large and growing economy.

(If defense cuts just allow spending elsewhere, it isn't worth it, I'll add.)

I even think the Army can endure a cut to 440,000 to 450,000 active duty troops as the new proposed budget calls for.

This cut is what I'm interested in:

The plans, to be laid out in Hagel's first defense budget Monday, call for the entire fleet of Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to be eliminated, the newspaper said, citing Pentagon officials ahead of Hagel's release of the spending plan.

The twin-engine jet is the only Air Force aircraft designed solely for close air support of ground forces. It was developed in the 1970s to attack Soviet tanks in case of a European invasion -- capabilities the Pentagon deems less relevant today, the Times said.

It's much more than a tank killer today. But it is still a relevant capability as we refocus on conventional warfare training again.

But fine. We're making it obvious that as our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have or are ending, the Air Force is losing its brief period of enthusiasm for providing ground support for Army troops and Marines.

I hope that as the Air Force gets rid of their sole platform expressly designed to support the Army that they stop complaining about Army armed UAVs. Maybe that's the good news in all this.

Very obviously, the Army needs its own air force.