Here on these pages we have been discussing the growing problem with our degraded military capability and capacity to conduct full spectrum combat operations. If you do not know what that entails, the short explanation is it’s the ability of our force to be a credible deterrent, able to engage in low intensity to high intensity combat operations. The ability to fight against the global Islamic jihad, up to full scale operations, such as we may face eventually in North Korea.Anyone dismissing the fact that it could occur is deaf, dumb, and blind. Folks ask about mano y mano combat engagements against Russia or China. I do not believe that will ever occur, but engagements via proxies will. The most important means by which we defeat Russia and China — thwarting their strategic goals and objectives — are through economic and energy security.
Now, it pains me to a very deep end to admit this, but history proves it: the means by which a nation extends it military power is through a strong maritime force.If the Spartans and the Athenians had ever truly come together combining their respective strengths, perhaps we would be talking more about Greek civilization than Roman influence. However, when Wilbur and Orville Wright took off at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they opened up a new, revolutionary, dimension to warfare.
Just as the catapult and cannon revolutionized siege warfare and made walled castles obsolete. Just as the introduction of personal firearms rendered swords, shields, and armor obsolete, along with mass formations. The introduction of combat aircraft, first introduced in World War I, brought to the world the concept of air-ground operations. And, along with the tank, broke the backs of trench warfare.
It became known, by the end of World War II, that successful ground combat operations required air superiority and dominance. The operational and strategic necessity to break the logistical support of your enemy required long range bombers, but they had to have capable fighter aircraft escort.And, so it was, with the true advent — and required expansion — of the aerial dimension of warfare we created with the United States Air Force as a separate branch.
Now, I gotta tell ya fly boys something: y’all need to give up the A-10 to the Army, because, just as with the venerable P-51 Mustang, we need control of close air support.
Also, the US Army should look into the acquisition of the A-29 Super Tucano turboprop close air support aircraft.We need to hand over the close air support mission to the Army, just as the Marines have had their AV-8B Harriers enabling them to totally fight as an air-ground task force.
This would leave the Air Force as the major combat dimension of air superiority, along with space, and the growing dimension of cyber, for which we’ve not properly prepared.
But, thanks to the past eight years, we are facing a horrific situation within our air superiority capability in the USAF, as we have been warning.As reported by Breaking Defense:
The Editor begins:
The Air Force already has a big hole in its capabilities for the future: it needs what it is calling Penetrating Counter Air, a very fast, long-range, sensor-loaded and furiously lethal aircraft. But that effort is designed to fill a need in 2030. Dave Deptula, head of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute and a former lieutenant general who orchestrated air operations over Iraq and Afghanistan, argues the US already faces a quantitative gap in America’s all-important efforts to ensure we own the skies in any battle.
Article author LTG Dave Deptula continues:
The United States Air Force is suffering an air superiority crisis after 26 years of combat operations. Today, the service possesses just under 1,000 aircraft capable of air-to-air combat — F-15s, , F-22s, and F-35s. That is down more than 65 percent since the end of the Cold War. Given the global demands of our national security strategy, operational considerations, and force rotation factors, this amounts to fewer than 100 fighter aircraft available in a particular location at any given time.
Fighters are employed in a rotational fashion—with one third of aircraft on station, another third returning to base, and the last third preparing to launch. That means in reality only about 30 fighters are immediately able to engage at any given time in a particular region. Put bluntly, that number does not cut it when it comes to projecting necessary air-to-air capability to meet increasingly lethal threats that are more challenging today than during the Cold War.
The country needs a full spectrum of capabilities and the strongest Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps in the world to meet the demands of our current national security strategy. Empowering that joint team means America needs a robust, properly sized fighter force. The paramount first step toward success in large-scale military operations is air superiority. Without it, all other military missions are at risk.
I must wholeheartedly agree with retired LTG Deptula’s last statement.
If we are to be successful in mid-to-high level intensity combat operations, air superiority is imperative. Where do I see this being critical at this juncture? Any operation relating to North Korea, Eastern Europe — namely Ukraine and the Baltic States — and against Iran.
The implementation of “no fly zones” is reliant upon air superiority, and if there is anything that could have thwarted the advances of ISIS and the creation of “safe zones,” it would have been a strong Air Cap above the designated ground space.
The major shift in our Department of Defense right now must be to end the growth of the defense bureaucracy, and beginning to structure our respective branches based upon missions, tasks, and domains. It has been a rather stupid process to base our defense upon the appropriated dollar, or the whims of the defense industry.
The missions, structure, training, equipping, and funding of our military must be threat-based. If it isn’t, we ail continue to get caught with our pants down around our knees, and bogged down in countless years fighting against an enemy we should vanquish from the battlefield…if not deter them from any aggression to begin with.
The sad reality is that we haven’t had consistency in our defense strategic planning. We have a yo-yo effect going on, because even our defense has become based upon political ideology and election cycles.
The last visionary leader this Country had when it came to our defense was President Reagan. I can say so confidently, as one who benefited from his restructuring and enhancing of our military.
When we went into Operation Desert Storm, we had replaced the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier with the M2 Bradley. We no longer had the M60 tank, but rather the M1 Abrams Main Battle tank. We went from the Cobra to the Apache attack helicopter, and, combined with the venerable A-10 Warthog, it was ‘smoke ’em like a cheap cigar’ time.
We had the new Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), of which I commanded a Battery of nine. And, we had an impeccable training ground in the National Training Center (NTC). We had the perfect force for open desert warfare, and, guess what? When combined with the right strategic goals and rules of engagement, it only took 96 hours. Matter of fact, a rotation to the NTC was more intense than Desert Storm, ask anyone.
Just ask yourself, why are we wasting time in our military on training classes for things like “not gossiping about transgender troops” when we face this degradation of this critical capability: air superiority? Why is this important? Just as LTG Deptula stated, if you want to win on the ground, you gotta own the air. That’s called “freedom of maneuver,” and my concern is the gap is closing, quickly. It gravely concerns me that we have not heard much in the way of a vision from the Trump administration on our strategic national security policy or our strategic defense policy. The clock is ticking.
However, I do know that we have delayed implementation of transgender recruiting until January 2018…oh, joy!
Think about it this way: as we have seen a decimation, a decrease, of our air superiority capability…how much more has the Department of Defense bureaucracy grown?
I know the progressive socialist left wants to erase Civil War history, but Confederate Cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forest said, “War means fightin’ and fightin’ means killin.'” Yes, I believe we should fist seek other ways, via diplomatic and economic means, then once you commit, it is about unleashing hell on your enemy.
Oh, and just a historical aside, Forest was a Democrat who ended up founding the Ku Klux Klan, the original domestic terrorist gang…and now the Democrats have given us Antifa.