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Wheeee! This should be fun!

Ooo. Let's toss this grenade into the living room!

Is the Air Force Really Necessary?

I can't wait for the sequel: Is the USMC really necessary?

10 Comments

This is known as "unoriginal thinking"...made even more amuzing by the background of the one proposing it.

Whatever. Go for it. Humans are famous for reinventing wheels, forgetting the lessons of history, and killing a number of their own kind to relearn them. But it would give Army generals a lot better chance of earning their blood patch with someone else's blood. Based on my personal obsrvations, they're quite good at that. 
 
 Yeppers! It's unoriginal for a very good reason. People like Jerry Pournelle, a Red Leg in the Korean War games would simply tell the USAF to STFU and get back from whence it came. He's some very good company, although I'm not one of them.

The Bomber Generals were the ones that had the inspiration to separate the AAF from the Army, HAd they simply taken the Bomber force independent it would have worked out OK, although I thinkj eventually Strategic Transport and what used to be the Air Defense Command would have had to go as well. Leaving the TACs with the Army would have worked out far better than establishing a Tactical Air Command in the USAF.
I think the USAAC is going to come back and for very good reasons.
You whine too much about it Panther. If the Bomber generals hadn't stepped in it repeatedly in Korea and Vietnam, mayhaps we wouldn't be where we are now. But they did, and their fingerprints are still all over USAF.


Salamander had last weeks Midrats on teh issue and hosted the author of "Grounded." He makes very good points.

I don't see a fight over USMC again. I can, however, see a breakup of DOD back into separate Navy and War Departments, however with the AF being rolled back into the Army. I hope that doesn't happen, however.









 
 
 Of course it is, Ms Pelosi sure as heck isn't going to pop for her OWN airfare and Champaign/snaks to shuttle her and her entourage back and forth across America
 
 You know their (liberals') real question is: "Is the US military really necessary?"
 
Of course we need an air force (lowercase). The question, as it was in World War II was how to organize the fighting forces of the United States. For World War II, we were organized as a separate Department of the Navy (Navy and Marine Corps) and a War Department (Army and Army Air Forces). All of the services had their own air arm who did not play all that well together and had difficulty playing with ground and sea based forces.

The debate was really about how to institute and organize a Department of Defense. The original plan eliminated both the Department of the Navy and the War Department with the services organized into land, sea, and air components. This suited the Army Air Force since they would run the air arm. It suited the Army since they would run the ground forces. It did not suit the Navy as they would lose both their air arm and their ground force, the Marine Corps. The Navy fought the idea throughout World War II and the strategic thrust across the Central Pacific was really designed to make the case for an independent Navy with its own air and ground component.

In the end we got a committee designed compromise, a Defense Department with a Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and a Department of the Air Force. These departments had two armies, four air forces, and enough bureaucrats to fill up the biggest office building in the world, the Pentagon. It hasn’t worked out that well in terms of an efficient means of organizing for defense, so after 9/11 we created yet another bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security. Feeling better yet?

 
Quartermaster, you kinda miss my point. Let me explain.

Eisenhower (he was Army) recommended the separate service and drew a significant amount of that position based on the experiences of the TACTICAL air arm. Patton and Quesada worked very well together, principally because Patton did what good Army generals do: they let a different kind of combat power provider know what they needed and then let the subject matter experts of the latter provide the kenetic (or other) leverage to effect a positive outcome based on the they goal they've (hopefully) clearly presented to the air- or sea-based partner. Eisenhower just gave the effort the post-war gravitas it needed to be formalized.

Now, granted, the bomber generals loved the idea of a separate service but you have to couple their natural inclinations with a strategic rethinking of war after the successful demonstration of nuclear weapons. Bomber guys had for years thought that strategic bombardment was the be-all-end-all method for bringing about the collapse of an enemy's will to resist. Nukes (to them) with the huge bang for relatively little bucks made the argument a slam dunk in their eyes...and for a while, policymakers agreed, thinking it marked a sea change in warfare--and devastating destructive potential brought to bear for very little money and a small manpower commitment. That turned out to be pure bollocks--no argument with you there. As you know, the post-war Strategic Bombing Survey didn't do them any favors either (to say the least), but the handwriting on the wall was ignored/covered up for years.

SAC held post-WWII sway over the Air Force for a long time but the tactical guys slowly took over for a number of reasons I won't go into here but a lot of it had to do with the flexibility inherent in a more agile fighter force. Political leaders found that appealing as the balance of terror approached parity as peer competitor nuclear capabilities matched ours in fairly short order, post-war. And I don't mean bomber crews were inflexible.** Not at all...but their principal ordnance was, by definition and necessity, and that brought with it a general mindset that had some rather pernicious effects, but that's not an argument for reabsorbing the Air Force back into the Army.

Frankly, (and I’m not pointing a finger at you here—this is my own personal observation) this amounts to a good deal of mental masturbation driven by an irrational hostility to "The Other" based on a toxic combination of ignorance (self-imposed and pugnacious) and anger over perceived past wrongs (establishing a separate Air Force). It's exacerbated by articles that got this whole discussion rolling in the first place, written by someone who, in my opinion, saw only what he wanted to see in what strikes me as a mere cursory analysis of a much more complicated and interesting conflict (the first Gulf war).

Given, according to Professor Farley, that

The primary responsibility of an Air Force aviator still lies with the … parochial interests of the Air Force and for a soldier with [those] of the Army,” … “And that’s a position that I think inevitably creates friction during wartime, which we’ve seen even in conflicts that come after the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols reform.

He concludes,

The best solution to such problems—and the proverbial “elephant in the room”—is to rejoin the Air Force with the Army…Although not likely in the short term, [he] thinks it might eventually become a reality.

I agree…and thus believe the best solution is—rejoin the Army with the Air Force. We’ll even let them continue to wear green.

** NOTE: Ironically, the bomber force has achieved a remarkable level of flexibility and range of capabilities with the advent of precision-guided munitions.

 
 
 Panther, if you'll check, Quesada wasn't assigned to 3rd Army. XIX TAC was commanded by Otto Weyland. Patton called him the best General in the Air Corps. I have not been able to find anything that mentioned Quesada working with Patton. He may have in North Africa, but none of the articles I've seen on him, or can find quickly mentions any association between Patton and Quesada.
The real point is that Ike was wrong, and USAF proved him wrong. The wrongs were actual and not perceived.

 
 
This type of argument goes back a long way. Reading "Six Frigates", about the origins of the US Navy, there was a big fight in Congress about the need for keeping a Navy after the Revolution since we weren't at war anymore, and that building a Navy would only lead to calls for a Navy department, and then to more appropriation of funds, which we couldn't afford.

They had authorized building 12 frigates near the end of the war, and agreed to cut half of them as a compromise. Those six frigates are what we went into the War of 1812 with, and thank God we had them. (Chesapeake, Constitution, President, United States, Congress, and Constellation)
 
Quatermaster...guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'm sorry this is such a painful subject for you and hope you can get beyond it someday.

Hate is corrosive. Let it go. 
 
 It's not a matter of hate. My opinion is considered. I'm sorry the facts don't much matter to you. OTOH, I can understand why not.