Ralph Peters on the USAF
Peters is a retired Army LTC who is a prolific writer and considered by some, to be an expert in terrorists and the ways to kill them. Usually he shoots at the Army, looks like he has bagged his limit and moving to another hunt stand. also, he was sitting next to Marine LTG Mattis last week when he made comments about killing Talibanis. Peters wrote a piece in support of what Mattis said.
Interesting comments and painfully on the mark for the USAF. I'm not certain and Army or Marine General is right for Air Force Secretary, but maybe a a Special Operations Air Force General or a retired Colonel who can purge the establishment and bring them in line with the transformation of the rest of the military.
SAVING THE U.S. AIR FORCE
By RALPH PETERS
February 11, 2005 -- We need to save the United States Air Force -
from itself. This critical component of our national security has
become corrupt, wasteful and increasingly irrelevant. The problem
doesn't lie with the front-line pilots or ground crews. The cancer is at the top, in the Department of the Air Force and on the Air Force Staff.
Consider just a few recent problems: Former Air Force Secretary James G. Roche, who resigned last month to evade a corruption investigation, has just been cited for ethics violations in dealing with the defense industry. The service's top acquisition official, Darleen Druyun, is in prison for her role in a corrupt tanker-leasing deal. The scam had been a top priority under Roche. The Air Force's top lawyer got the boot for sexual shenanigans with subordinates. The service continues to demand the nearly useless, $300-million-per-copy F/ A-22 fighter, a Cold-War legacy system wildly out of sync with our security needs. The Air Force's "shock and awe" effort that opened Operation Iraqi Freedom was a complete bust. The sound-and-light show over Baghdad was supposed to prove that we no longer needed ground troops to win wars.
The reverse proved true. In our current operations in Iraq, the Air
Force's procurement choices have left it searching for missions to
prove its relevance. Recently, one Army division commander shook his
head and told me, "I had aircraft stacked up, begging for missions so the pilots could get combat credit. But I just couldn't use them."
America needs a strong Air Force, but we have the wrong Air Force. The service's leadership, military and civilian, displays greater loyalty to the defense industry than to our national defense (the contractors who supply the Air Force teem with retired generals). Today's Air Force clings to a fight-the-Soviets (or at least the Chinese) model with greater passion than yesteryear's Army clung to the horse cavalry. And Air Force leaders lie. Last year, in war games with the Indian air force, our blue-suiters suffered embarrassing defeats. Our guys were arrogant and failed to think innovatively. We also had crucial high-tech gear turned off. The Indians used imaginative tactics - and overwhelmed us with numbers.
Our Air Force's response?
To insist the humiliation "proved" the need for the F/ A-22. Yet
purchasing that gold-plated piece of junk means that we could afford
still fewer aircraft in the future - we could be swarmed by other
countries with lower-tech, affordable planes, just as the Indians did it. Numbers matter. The Air Force doesn't need fewer, "more capable" aircraft. It needs more metal. But not the junk the contractors want to foist on the taxpayer and that ethically challenged senior officers want to buy. We need: A revitalized transport fleet: We rely on the workhorse C-130 for tactical lift, but the design is nearly a half-century old. The Army and Marines are told to make tomorrow's combat vehicles fit into the C- 130's tight hold. That's backward.
Next generation combat vehicles will be so systems rich that no amount of miniaturization will let them fit in a C-130. We need to design the fighting systems we need, then build planes to lift them. An affordable replacement for the great, but aging B-52 bomber: Those magnificent craft continue to outperform later, platinum-priced bombers, such as the Rube-Goldberg B-1 and the fragile B-2. We need a new, cost-efficient and robust bomber to replace B-52s nearly twice as old as their crews. A no-nonsense ground-attack aircraft to replace that splendid killing machine, the A-10. Ground-attack operations - especially in urban environments - are the wave of the future. The Air Force needs to stop dreaming of the missions it wants and face the missions we've got. A multi-role-fighter fleet that rejects Cold-War-era designs and starts afresh. Billions already spent are no reason to waste billions more on yesterday's concepts. Don't throw good money after bad. Our Air Force needs fresh thinking, adequate funding and an increase in the numbers of airplanes we can launch.
Instead, we get old thinking, massive waste and a shrinking fleet. The Air Force has been Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's darling. The Army and Marines were supposed to shrivel to free up more funding for Air Force whistles and bells. Rumsfeld was so happy with the state of affairs in our disintegrating Air Force that he actually tried to move arch-scoundrel Roche over to become Secretary of the Army.
Fortunately, Sen. John McCain put a stop to that. Now Rumsfeld is
fighting to prevent desperately needed permanent increases in the size of our ground forces, while struggling to preserve disgraceful Air Force legacy buys. It's time for the Senate to call him on the carpet. The Air Force badly needs reform. Our men and women in uniform deserve it.
For a start, the service needs a secretary chosen from the ranks of
retired Marine or Army four-stars, a man with joint experience who can do what a series of corporate- America secretaries could not: Hold the Air Force's renegade generals to account.
Second, the senior Air Force generals need to be purged. Instead of
intellectual relics with fighter or bomber backgrounds, Air Force
special-operations commanders - men who know what postmodern warfare
means - should be given the service's top jobs. With the mission of making the Air Force relevant to the 21st century.
Ralph Peters is the author of "Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and