• tags: air_force, airpower, procurement

    • The Air Force may face severe aircraft and personnel shortfalls in the near future that could present significant challenges to its ability to protect domestic airspace, a government watchdog agency has found.

      The little-publicized findings by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will likely stir a tug-of-war between the Air Force and a number of factions in Congress over whether the Air Force should buy cutting-edge — but expensive — fighter jets, such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or continue buying and modernizing older aircraft, such as F-15s or F-16s.

    • The Air Force may face severe aircraft and personnel shortfalls in the near future that could present significant challenges to its ability to protect domestic airspace, a government watchdog agency has found.

      The little-publicized findings by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will likely stir a tug-of-war between the Air Force and a number of factions in Congress over whether the Air Force should buy cutting-edge — but expensive — fighter jets, such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, or continue buying and modernizing older aircraft, such as F-15s or F-16s.

      • It’s amazing to me that these ridiculous arguments persist even in the face of such dire circumstances. We are literally on the verge of not having a viable Air Force, and part of the reason is that the paralysis that comes with these kinds of never-ending, ridiculous arguments keeps us from buying the necesary replacement aircraft. It is only “cheaper” to buy the older aircraft if money had never been spent for a replacement. But that’s not reality. The reality is that if you don’t buy the replacement, you really have wasted all the money you spent on its development, because you didn’t get anything for that money. You also have to spend more development money on a new replacement. That is, if not the F-22 or F-35, then what? F-15s and F-16s won’t last forever. They will be replaced. But by what? By the thing we’ve already paid to develop? Or some other thing that we have yet to pay, but inevitably will pay, to develop? – post by TransTracker
    • The Guard conducts the majority of domestic airspace protection missions, known as air sovereignty alert operations and homeland defense air missions. Fully armed fighter aircraft are on alert 24 hours a day at 18 sites across the country. The Air National Guard operates 16 of the 18 sites. The remaining two are under active-duty Air Force responsibilities.

      The aircraft used in the domestic airspace protection missions — Lockheed’s F-16 and Boeing’s F-15 — are showing signs of aging. The aircraft used by the National Guard traditionally come used from the active-duty Air Force, which means that the equipment already has significant wear and tear.

    • The planes flown by the Air National Guard are the oldest aircraft ever flown in Air Force history. Eleven of the 18 sites could end up without viable aircraft by 2020 if the planes are not replaced over the next few years, according to the GAO. The oldest planes are also more difficult and expensive to maintain.

      Meanwhile, 14 of the 18 sites will have to suspend their operations for a period of time between 2010 and 2020, as their aircraft reach the end of their useful service lives. Twelve sites are currently equipped with F-16 fighters, which will reach the end of their service lives between 2015 and 2020.

  • A Washington Post op-ed, reproduced on the Iraq Updates site.

    tags: iraq

    • In short, Iraq appears to have taken a step toward becoming the moderate Arab democracy that the Bush administration long hoped for.
    • Oddly, the biggest beneficiary of the election other than Mr. Maliki may be President Obama, who has been a skeptic both of progress in Iraq and the value of elections in unstable states. Mr. Obama acknowledged on Monday that “Iraqis just had a very significant election with no significant violence” and called that “good news” — but only in the sense that it could justify withdrawing “a substantial number” of U.S. troops this year. While such a drawdown is certainly a desirable goal, the president would do well to recognize, value and exploit the very real political progress Iraq has made — and to be careful not to undercut it by acting too quickly on his exit strategy.
      • Instead, however, it appears that he will give up just as we are seeing success in Iraq so that he can shift focus to Afghanistan, which most analysts are saying is likely a lost cause at this point. Win-lose isn’t great, but it’s better than lose-lose, which is a very real possibility. – post by TransTracker
  • tags: new_media, oral history

    • Lt. Col. Paul Owen, West Point Class of ’90, came back to the academy to tell his story about Iraq. Sitting before a video camera in his dress uniform, Owen described the oppressive heat, the “moon dust” sand and a string of some 300 night raids in search of insurgents.

      “We were quick,” he said. “If they heard us coming, they’d flee.”

      Owen’s recorded recollections will be transcribed and posted on the Web as part of an ambitious oral history project under way at the U.S. Military Academy’s new Center for Oral History. He is among some 150 Soldiers – most West Point graduates – who have so far taped interviews destined for the Web before year’s end.

  • tags: future war, coin

    • For the past fifty years, the military has sized, trained and equipped its ground forces to battle a conventional, mechanized, tank heavy opponent, organized in companies, battalions and brigades, with supporting artillery and aircraft.
    • A small group of strategic thinkers are flexing their intellectual muscle, and a new opponent model is taking shape against which America’s ground forces will be configured to fight (with the Marines way ahead of the Army). Called “hybrid” enemies, they come equipped with high-end, precision guided weapons, yet fight in distributed networks of small units and cells more akin to guerrillas. One of the leading scholars in this group, Frank Hoffman, who advises the Marines and is a researcher at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, says hybrid wars, “blend the lethality of state conflict with the fanatical and protracted fervor of irregular warfare.” Theory moved to reality when Hezbollah, equipped with loads of advanced missiles and skillfully using urban terrain, fought the Israeli army to a stand still in 2006. Hezbollah, Hoffman says, “is representative of the rising hybrid threat.”

      Defense Secretary Robert Gates has given his imprimatur to the hybrid opponent as the new OpFor, first in his recent Foreign Affairs piece, and then again in his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. In his Senate hearing, speaking about the Army’s FCS program, Gates said that unless new weapons and vehicles can be shown to be effective in complex hybrid wars, they shouldn’t be funded. I’ve also heard that some services, I’m thinking of the Marines here, were loathe to buy into the irregular warfare mission as they couldn’t justify their more expensive new systems to fight counterinsurgencies, but they have a better chance at getting what they want if they play up the hybrid threat.

  • tags: fcs

    • FCS, the Army’s prime modernization effort, appears set for a major restructure if rumors emanating from the Pentagon and Hill are correct.

      Half of the eight FCS vehicles would apparently be axed or moved way to the right. While the lineup appears fluid, this is what I’m hearing now. It looks as if the NLOS-C, C2V, MCS Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle and the Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) would survive, along with the UAVs and SUG-V and the network.

  • tags: cyberwar

    • In January of 2009 the world witnessed the third successful cyber attack against a country. The target was the small country of Kyrgyzstan.
    • a distributed denial of service attack
    • traced back to Russian-based servers
    • most of the DDoS traffic was generated in Russia.
    • The attack seems to be politically motivated and is the latest example of geopolitical disputes being fought with cyber weapons.
    • attacks were launched to disrupt demands that leaders halt plans to prohibit access to an airbase for the US military in its war in Afghanistan. The analysts went on to say the Russian officials want nothing more than the base closed as soon as possible. (This is said to be one of the terms of a $2 billion investment deal that Russia is trying to negotiate with Kyrgyzstan.)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Advertisements