Friday, February 08, 2008

Cold Warriors and PR

There's a lot to think about watching this video series about a theoretical Soviet first strike on U.S. strategic forces (h/t: Op-For). It's a little on the long side, but less than your average TV drama and it's well worth watching.

I can think of at least a few Cold Warriors who I suspect got warm fuzzies watching the first segment. Also did a bit of a double take to see William Perry make an appearance as an Undersecretary of Defense. Definitely a sign of the times when they're discussing a defense budget of 5% of the GDP and the need to increase from there.

However, what I'd like to discuss isn't the direct impact of the video. Regardless of what side you came down on in the MX debate, I think it's fairly obvious that argument is over. Instead, look at the concept. Identify a problem, make a video depicting a worst case scenario if the problem isn't fixed, and then discuss the necessity of fixing the problem. Look at the big names they got for it; James Schlesinger and Paul Nitze aren't exactly some podunk no name think tank members. Why hasn't the USAF done something similar to demonstrate it's need for the F-22 or KC-X? Granted, tankers and fighters don't lend themselves quite as well to a "wake up!" message as nuclear war followed by capitulation, but it could still be done. Given the progression of technology and computer generated animation, this could easily be done on the cheap and put up on YouTube. The Navy's already done it. Hell, check out what this guy was able to do in just his free time:

Now, I'm not saying that this is what the USAF should shoot for, just that it's what one guy working in his basement can do, so I suspect the world's strongest air and space force can do a little better without spending too much money.

Instead, the USAF has been...well, just go to and take a look around. I can see how between informing us about the recent filming of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at Dover AFB and how driving fast in the rain can result in getting in a nasty accident that USAF PA would be too busy to, you know, DO THEIR JOB and inform the public and advocate with them for the USAF.

Obviously, I sympathize with the USAF and its budget woes and ancient fleet, but it's getting harder and harder for me to do so, as I don't believe in feeling sorry for those that won't help themselves.