United States: Disband the Air Force?
“At the moment, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are at war, but the Air Force is not. This is not the fault of the Air Force: it is simply not structured to be in the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Army, Marine and Navy personnel have borne the brunt of deployments, commonly serving multiple tours, the Air Force’s operational tempo remains comparatively comfortable. In 2007, only about 5 percent of the troops in Iraq were airmen.”
With this and other comments Paul KANE justify his idea of “shooting down” the USAF. (See the full article here at The New York Times). The fantastic blog “War Is Boring”, by David Axe, provides also an interesting post as well as links to other related articles, including the link to the letter Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff send to he New York Times in response to Kane’s opinion.
In “Abolish th Air Force”, there are more arguments like this: “… it’s time to revisit the 1947 decision to separate the Air Force from the Army. While everyone agrees that the United States military requires air capability, it’s less obvious that we need a bureaucratic entity called the United States Air Force. The independent Air Force privileges airpower to a degree unsupported by the historical record. This bureaucratic structure has proven to be a continual problem in war fighting, in procurement, and in estimates of the costs of armed conflict. Indeed, it would be wrong to say that the USAF is an idea whose time has passed. Rather, it’s a mistake that never should have been made.”
In spite all these opinions seem to go too far, there is a rational thinking behind all that. Some roles performed by the US Air Force are in jeopardy. Recent announcements by Robert Gates targeted some of the most controversial ones, like the end of the F-22 production and the cancellation of the long-stalled CSAR-X search-and-rescue helicopter program. Gates said he is interested in studying whether this task could be performed trough a joint approach.
Time will tell. But for now, the debate is here.