…by literally turning the budget that makes that air force fly into a smoking hole in the ground.
ABSOLUTELY READ THIS HISTORIC ANNOUNCEMENT: http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20130408/NEWS/304080035/Reduced-flying-hours-forces-grounding-17-USAF-combat-air-squadrons
We are our own worst enemy. Our fiscal policy will get us long before the big bad Russian Bear, the Chinese Dragon or some AK-47 packing boogeyman living in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere. Literally, sequester will take about 40% of the USAF’s combat punch off operational status and will gut complex training. Our leadership, in Congress, in the White House, and in the Pentagon, is a joke. This is not about partisan politics (Bush got this insanity rolling, I count him as one of the worst executives of all time, so don’t troll this into a R v D sideshow, get over your harmful “sports team” myopic political views they are divisive and not helpful), this is about a very clear reality that those in power only like to make decisions when they are easy and beneficial, when the ones that really matter come to pass they punt and could really care less where the ball lands. Since we PAY these “leaders” to make not just easy decisions but the tough ones, they are total failures in their profession.
Congress hides in plain site as a shrugging collective herd, safety in numbers you know. The DoD acts like they are victims of circumstance, and the President, well this sure is not his priority right now is it? What happened to his ice cold promise that he would not allow sequestration to come to pass? Such tough words, such steely resolve, yet totally empty in execution. Just more political theater needed to be performed with Oscar winning acuity in order to get a second term of business as usual. Reality- there really was not even a damn fight over sequester. When nobody is to blame (oh the great “who came up with this BS sequester idea in the first place” debate) nobody in Washington even cares. Your Government has checked the hell out and as a consequence we are throwing out prized military capabilities that took decades of momentum, billions in treasure and even brave lives to realize. Why? Because nobody, or at least very few in power, are willing to make the hard decisions or come up with actual solutions to very real problems. Maddening. And for those of you who want to comment “get over it man, this is Washington DC, it will never change” I say you are a part of the problem not the solution. We would still be living in caves if everyone had your lax and empty fortitude and total lack of creative vision. In fact your very freedom to be an apathetic and lazy pawn was won by people who did not share such a flaccid outlook on an individual’s ability to make a difference. In more clear terms, I am sick of that cop-out and I don’t want to hear it anymore.
I find it very strange that 17 USAF squadrons are being GROUNDED, including the USAF Thunderbirds Jet Demonstration Team, yet Air Force One showed up at SFO last week, along with a pair of Marine One helicopters, a squadron of Marine force protection and staff transport helicopters, the Presidential Motorcade, assorted heavy transports and hundreds of Secret Service so that President Obama could raise $3.2 million for Nancy Pelosi’s reelection. Air Force One is all about “The One” apparently, the rest of us won’t get to see or interact with the military we pay for this year. Think of it as ending White House Public tours but at 600kts and 7.5Gs… Nice.
With this in mind I ask where is sequester for the Presidential Airlift fleet? So 17 USAF combat squadrons can’t fly, the Thunderbirds have their wings clipped so no public USAF presence and the front line guys that still remain flying get their precious complex training hours slashed, but the money burning tub known as Air Force One gets to cruise around with unlimited mileage? How is a Nancy Pelosi’s fundraiser “essential operations?” It is good to be king I guess, that way none of the rules or “tough decisions” ever apply to you.
I challenge the White House to significantly curtail non-essential VC-25 operations and related executive travel just like the rest of the USAF. Are endless vacations, constant trips to Hollywood and political fund raisers seriously justified expenses right now? Considering the readiness of our prized USAF will be degraded to a degree never imagined before I really doubt that such luxuries are necessary. I mean I would venture to guess that the President’s trip to San Francisco cost more than the money raised at the political fund raiser. One has to ask themselves, why not just have the Government write Pelosi a check instead? I bet it would have been cheaper for the tax payer!
Maybe this news will finally reveal the myth that is the Joint Strike Fighter “program.” That myth being that we can’t afford such a concept in relevant numbers, yet alone that we don’t even need it. Think about, if even with this relatively small cut of sequester our Air Force gets put out to pasture than how on earth do the geniuses at the DoD expect to procure, operate and support 2500+ F-35s which cost between twice and four times that of the aircraft they intend to replace and at least twice as much to sustain and operate? What cancer is living in the halls of our military’s command and Congress that would continue to usher us down this clear path of strategic un-sustainability? How can they even explain such clearly insolvent plans? I mean I see posts about the Super Hornet’s replacement, the F/A-XX, really what the F-35 should have been, and I just laugh sadly. What planet are these guys even living on? We cannot afford the decades old hodgepodge of aircraft we have now yet alone a sea of F-35s, yet alone a sixth generation super-duper fighter! Am I missing something here?
We desperately need a real fighting man or woman with stars on their collar to come out and tell Congress and the nation that the enemy is us, and that things like the LCS, F-35 and so on are a liability militarily at this point. It is so damn clear that we need to procure a diverse set of capabilities that are flexible and will allow commanders to mix and match their individual attributes and weigh their “cost benefit” comparative capabilities to the urgency and needs of the mission at hand. Skip a generation in aircraft design, make the best of what we already have and look toward the next “big thing” (unmanned and/or expendable!) for your ultra-high end first day of war capabilities.
The Air Force could sit down and solve this funding issue themselves right now by doing the unthinkable, and what Congress is unwilling to do, and come up with a rationalized and sustainable force structure and long term budget for the future, featuring a flexible and affordable high-end, low-end capability mix. Cutting readiness and training should be absolutely the last, not first, avenue of action under such circumstances as we all know real the money is saved in procurement. You can have the best gear in the world but if you cannot fight with it proficiently at almost any given time than what the hell is it worth? In other words, buying and sustaining gobs of grossly expensive military hardware that you cannot even afford to use begs the simple question: What the hell is the point in buying it in the first place?
Spinning squadrons up and down as this plan highlights will only cost us more in the long run to reattain the quality of capability we have enjoyed previously and for which our battle tactics are currently reliant upon. Plus, what will this do to our aircrew corps? In fact this whole thing sounds downright dangerous not just strategically, but also physically for those who are assigned to operate these complex weapon systems. In fact that quality and proficiency, built up over so many years, may be impossible to obtain ever again in mass with such a sad and gutted readiness and training plan.
I sit here and think of America’s spastic military procurement habits over the last couple of decades and reflect on the force we have to today. Seriously, could a child have done better considering where we stand presently? A 35 year old ATF program that gave us 184 F-22 Raptors. A tanker that still has not even taken to the skies even though it was needed a at least a decade and a half ago. Hell, we cannot even buy a couple dozen turboprop attack aircraft for another country without years of mismanagement and damaging industry intervention. The whole DoD procurement joke seems more like a jobs program than an actual defense doctrine to me. Lots of folks lining their pockets or gaining politically capital and a customer (us) with pitifully little to show for it. And now we are about to mortgage the readiness and long-term durability of even this increasingly antiquated military force simply because nobody in power can agree to a sensible, even handed restructuring of government spending. Apparently the business of big party politics is more important than our nation’s ability to defend our interests at home and abroad. In the end it is just another ominous sign of a dimming empire, and the fiddles are playing in mass and at full tempo in Washington’s firey halls of power.
Demand change, at the rate things are going our very security may depend on it…