I'll see your motion and raise you one BIG aircraft, with Jimmy Stewart thrown in for good measure.
"A second element of a military service is the resources, human and material, which are required to implement its strategic concept. To secure these resources it is necessary for society to forego the alternative uses to which these resources might be put and to acquiesce in their allocation to the military service. Thus, the resources which a service is able to obtain in a democratic society are a function of the public support of that service. The service has the responsibility to develop this necessary support, and it can only do this if it possesses a strategic concept which clearly formulates its relationship to the national security. Hence this second element of public support is, in the long run, dependent upon the strategic concept of the service. If a service does not possess a well-defined strategic concept, the public and the political leaders will be confused as to the role of the service, uncertain as to the necessity of its existence, and apathetic or hostile to the claims made by the service upon the resources of society."Astute readers should already be able to see how this relates to the USAF, but let's get into what the Air Force says it does, starting at the highest level. The USAF Mission: "The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace."
"Air power overhead provides capability to the fight with precision targeting which was used on Tuesday to ensure these individuals could no longer target innocent Iraq citizens."Double gag. For my purposes, here's the relevant part of his commentary:
"Distant from the fight and hated for a controversial acquisitions program, I've always felt that the Air Force is the most disliked service in the Armed Forces. Image is a huge issue with the force right now, and our Public Affairs methodology isn't helping."No, it isn't.
Air and Space Superiority : With it, joint forces can dominate enemy operations in all dimensions -- land, sea, air and space.Slightly better, but not really. All this really begs the question, "why?" Going through them one by one, Superiority should and is self explanatory; it's the second oldest mission of air forces. Global Attack is one that definitely begs that question. So we have all this cool technology that allows us to attack anywhere we want, but why would we want to do that? What's the national security ramifications of this capability? Rapid Global Mobility is even worse. The bullet point statement just explains the keys to rapid global mobility but does nothing to explain why we should be spending money to maintain this capability. Precision Engagement is full of buzzwords. Garbage. Information Superiority is better in that it attempts to explain why IO are important but it doesn't relate this back to the USAF. Finally, I'll be impressed if anyone can explain to me how Agile Combat Support is any different from Rapid Global Mobility.
Global Attack: Because of technological advances, the Air Force can attack anywhere, anytime -- and do so quickly and with greater precision than ever before.
Rapid Global Mobility: Being able to respond quickly and decisively anywhere we're needed is key to maintaining rapid global mobility.
Precision Engagement: The essence lies in the ability to apply selective force against specific targets because the nature and variety of future contingencies demand both precise and reliable use of military power with minimal risk and collateral damage.
Information Superiority: The ability of joint force commanders to keep pace with information and incorporate it into a campaign plan is crucial.
Agile Combat Support: Deployment and sustainment are keys to successful operations and cannot be separated. Agile combat support applies to all forces, from those permanently based to contingency buildups to expeditionary forces.
"We have under-resourced this proud and crucial fighting force. We lack the equipment, Airmen, and money to adequately defend America in the coming 15 years. We are placing our national security at enormous risk if we do not soon act to correct these crucial shortfalls."I agree, but I'm not the one the USAF needs to convince. To go back to the quote at the top of the post, it doesn't matter what we say we need. What matters is what the public, and more importantly, the political leaders think we need. You ask any Congresscritter about what the USAF needs to be funded with and they'll probably say three things: UAVs, gunships, and whatever airframe their local pork ANG/Reserve unit flies or pork aircraft factory builds. That's unacceptable.
Lawmaker chides Air Force for fixation on budget woesWhat he said. I submit that Secretary Wynne and CSAF Moseley were a little confused at Rep. Skelton's disappointment, since the USAF's strategic initiative seems to be its budget.
House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., publicly chided Air Force leaders for failing to give his panel a more thorough assessment of the service's plans and programs during a hearing Wednesday.
Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff Michael Moseley, called by the panel to testify on their force's "strategic initiatives," spent much of the morning expressing concerns about budgetary shortfalls and congressional restrictions preventing the retirement of the service's oldest aircraft.
"I'm sorry to tell you I'm disappointed, but we can have a budget hearing any time," Skelton said. The chairman, who said the panel might have to have a second hearing on the subject, said it "would have been helpful" to have received testimony on the Air Force's strategic vision, as opposed to more limited testimony on current budget constraints.
Right on. Go get 'em, SecDef. It's an old story, but it's rapidly approaching the tipping point. Canada, Britain, the Dutch, and others who have been providing the bulk of the ISAF forces in the south and have been doing the majority of the shooting and the majority of the bleeding are beginning to get tapped out, and they aren't happy at the lack of dedication others are showing to the mission. Yes, someone has to watch the north, but there's no reason it can't be rotated.
NATO allies take notice: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is going to the Alliance's defense ministers' meeting in Noordwijk, the Netherlands this week with an axe to grind.
Speaking in Kiev, Ukraine, today, Gates gave reporters an insight into what he intends to focus on at the NATO meeting.
"I am not satisfied that an alliance whose members have over 2 million soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen cannot find the modest additional resources that have been committed for Afghanistan," he warns.
Top leaders of Britain's Royal Navy are "tearing their hair out' in frustration that they can't "get the message across" that the maritime service is playing a crucial role in ongoing, seemingly land-locked operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Rear Admiral Robert Love, responsible for the RN's CVF aircraft carrier project, told a recent naval conference in Rotterdam about the concerns among the RN leadership regarding its less than favorable public image.
"We're still not very good at getting our message across. The focus of the media and the public is on the here and now, on what they see in TV coverage every day. That is dominated by land counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq," RADM Love told the IQPC-organized OPV Conference.
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 13) - After parachuting into Europe during World War II, battling along a strip of road called Hell's Highway in the Netherlands and surviving the freezing woods of Bastogne surrounded by German troops, William Guarnere and Edward Heffron do not consider themselves heroes.Only 23 left...that's a pretty striking statistic. Good on both of these fine gentlemen for getting their thoughts and memories down on paper.
Guarnere, 84, and Heffron, 84, are among the surviving members of the fabled Easy Company memorialized in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers." To them, the real heroes are the men whose bodies stayed buried in that foreign soil and the mothers who sent their sons off to war, praying for a safe return.
The book, with a foreword by actor Tom Hanks, one of the miniseries' producers, tells the story of how the two young men from South Philly became paratroopers, fought in some of World War II's major battles and survived to form a lifelong friendship.
And the book comes at just the right time, says Berkley's Natalee Rosenstein. "It's a period of time when we're all looking for real heroes," she said. (Some one like this? -Ed)
Guarnere was one of the original members of Easy Company who dropped into Normandy ahead of D-Day in 1944, while Heffron, often called "Babe," was one of the replacements who joined the unit later. Guarnere earned the nickname "Wild Bill" because just before D-Day, he discovered that his brother had been killed in Italy and he became obsessed with getting back at the Germans.
Both authors take part in Operation Market Garden, a massive jump into the Netherlands designed to get Allied troops into northern Germany, and the winter Battle of the Bulge in which they were surrounded and outnumbered in a Belgian city called Bastogne but helped repel Hitler's final effort to push into Belgium.
Buried in foxholes as shells exploded above them, the men were dubbed "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne."
It was at the Battle of the Bulge that Guarnere lost his leg saving a friend. Easy Company and Heffron went on to Germany, liberated a concentration camp at Landsberg and captured Hitler's mountain fortress, The Eagle's Nest.
The book began after the two were interviewed for a magazine article in 2001 when the miniseries aired. They hadn't talked to their families much about the war, but as some of the last remaining members of Easy Company - Guarnere estimates about 23 are still alive - they felt an obligation to tell their story.
But they said it was important to give as an accurate picture as they could about what they experienced, saying that they were simply trying to do their job the best they could and protect their friends.
"Once you start lying and trying to change things, it's no good," Guarnere says. "You tell the truth, and that's it."
After the war, Heffron met up with Guarnere in South Philly; he found him on the street, playing craps. Since then, they've talked almost every day, see each other almost as often, travel together, finish each other's bad jokes or roll their eyes when they know a story they've heard before is coming.
When Guarnere had a heart attack this summer, Heffron was at his bedside daily, said Robyn Post, who collaborated on the book with the two men. "It's one of the most profound friendships I've ever seen. They would lay down their lives for each other - even today."
Since the war's end, Guarnere has organized yearly reunions for the men of Easy Company, and Heffron and Guarnere have traveled back to the places where they fought. They've also visited American soldiers in Germany and the United States who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.
During one trip, Heffron recalls how Guarnere talked to a serviceman who had also lost his leg. "This guy had his leg off. Bill said to him ..., 'Next time I see you, I want to see you dancing."'
Both men constantly wonder how it was that they survived the war and went on to such long prosperous lives, and they say they are left with a sense of war's random luck and of the responsibility to remember the men who were not so lucky.
"They ain't never going to forgive you if you don't," says Heffron, pointing toward the sky.
Fool In The Rain
Hear my words and listen to them, so that you and others will know that amongst us are the horsemen of destiny and red death. A single one of us can defeat your whole army. If you do not believe it, you may try, only please order your army to stop shooting with firearms. You have here with you 200,000 soldiers of all races. Remain in your place and array your army in battle order. Only three of us will come out against you...You have patched up an army from all parts of the world: Christians, Greeks and others, and you have brought with you this contrivance artfully devised by the Christians of Europe when they were incapable of meeting the Muslim armies on the battlefield. The contrivance is that musket which, even if a woman were to fire it, would hold up such and such a number of men...And woe to thee! How darest thou shoot with firearms at Muslims!"(emphasis mine)
A coalition is marvelous as long as all interests of all members are the same. In reality, the interests of allies in all coalitions only converge up to a point; as soon as one of the allies has to make sacrifices for the achievement of the great common goal, one can no longer rely on the coalition, for coalitions will not easily understand that the great aims of a war cannot be reached without such partial sacrifices.(emphasis mine)
For this reason a mutual defense pact is at all times the least perfect form of mutual aid; it is worth only what each member on its own can give by way of aid. One thus cannot expect mere coalitions to do what is militarily most desirable, but only what is advantageous for both parts of the coalition. Every strategic agreement of allied armies is thus a compromise which tries to take into account special interests; these can only be ruled out within a single, unified state.
An army can never be a provisional affair, it cannot be improvised in weeks or months, it needs to be educated throughout long years, for the basis of any military organization is continuity and stability.The RN is going to be how small? The Dutch are selling off enough equipment to give any third world dictator a sizable military of his own, to say nothing of the Swedes' conundrum, and then there's that little issue of the helicopters. By these standards the USAF's future looks positively rosy. That's the same USAF that is "going out of business."
The Air Force Reserve may be an unrivaled wingman to the active duty force, but it's also a conflicted one right now, with air reserve technicians angry over a new policy mandating daily uniform wear on the job.Sounds like some sort of mutiny, no? Here's where it gets interesting:
And that's prompted some to increasingly talk like the union members many are.
Bristling at the new regs, some reservists intend to pressure the Air Force into scrubbing the new uniform policy - a demand that could have a ripple effect on Air Force missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Stop volunteering for Air Expeditionary Force rotations" is the call rebel Air Force reservists are making.
"We've got to do something to get their attention," said Master Sgt. Jerry Merrill, a KC-135 crew chief at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and vice president of local 3854 of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Calls to boycott AEFs have been posted in a handful of messages included in an online petition against the policy, and Merrill believes reserve Airmen could begin acting on them."We're obligated to do a certain amount" of deploying, he said, but the reserve techs "may be less cooperative with their free time. I would say everyone is behind the war on terror, but we can't be stomped on and have this thing rammed down our throats."
I've got to question why uniforms are such a big deal. It seems to me that this is the straw that broke the camel's back. And that points to a larger flaw in the system. If we step back and look at the big picture, why is the USAF party to a system that allows, in effect, for there to be unionized reservists? This is reminiscent of the problems (IIRC) the USAF ran into with the farming out of the maintenance of one of its training aircraft in the mid-'90s, where striking workers shut down the ability for one of the training squadrons to fly. (I couldn't actually find any information about the supposed strike, but it stands out in my memory. If someone has some information about the incident, feel free to let me know.)
There are more than 8,000 enlisted Air Force Reserve technicians - civil service employees whose civilian job and reserve job essentially are the same - of which more than 6,600 are union members.
As a condition of employment, they serve as reserve Airmen. But except when they're doing their one-weekend-a-month or two-weeks-a-year of duty, or when they are called up or volunteer for active duty, they are civilians.
But the Reserve Command in April notified the union that a change was coming, that all reserve technicians would be required to wear the Air Force uniform whenever they're on the job. Several references to the need for good order and discipline in the original letter suggested to many reservists that the change was connected to discipline problems - a claim that Reserve Command chief Lt. Gen. John Bradley later denied.
Bradley has said the change reflects the professionalism of the Reserve Command and is in keeping with its continuing and expanding role as a full partner with the active duty Air Force.<...>
Mark Gibson, a labor relations specialist for AFGE, could not agree more about the Reserve's importance to the overall mission, but he maintains the new policy threatens the force and the mission. It hurts the reserve technicians morale, could cause many who have long years of experience to leave, and could mean fewer techs volunteering to flesh out AEFs.
"This thing is blowing up in the Air Force Reserve's face and they're going to seriously damage that program," Gibson said. Boycotting AEFs, he said, is "a subject that a lot of Air Force Reservists don't want to be public about, but I know a lot have talked about it."