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1/18/07 11:14 AM
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hubris
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Edited: 18-Jan-07
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The Death Of US Air Power

by Loren B. Thompson UPI Outside View Commentator Washington (UPI) Jan 16, 2007 Now that America has an Islamo-centric security posture, any danger that doesn't fit within the counter-fundamentalist framework tends to be ignored. That's sort of ironic, since the biggest military threats to democracy in the last century came from atheists. Five years into the "global war on terror," the evidence suggests that Islamic radicals are real good at blowing each other up, but not so good at projecting power abroad. As long as western nations maintain halfway decent domestic security arrangements, the fundamentalists seem to be hobbled in repeating their one major success of Sept. 11, 2001. Given that fact -- five years and counting without a second big terrorist attack in America -- maybe we ought to be paying more attention to the kinds of state-based challenges that roiled the world so much in the past. But we aren't. No one gives much thought to Russia's vast nuclear arsenal, which could still obliterate America in a few hours, even though that nation is reverting to authoritarian rule. Nobody seems to care about China's buildup of naval forces, its development of long-range missiles, or its new fighter. And nothing decisive has been done to prevent North Korea's march towards an indigenous nuclear arsenal. Each of these countries wields far more destructive power than the handful of nuts scattered across Arabia that we call al-Qaida. But because al-Qaida is a current irritant and other concerns seem less pressing, the capacity of U.S. forces to cope with state-based challenges is allowed to atrophy. The decay is most pronounced in the U.S. Air Force, the service that would have to take the lead in coping with urgent threats posed by Russia, China and other industrialized countries. After 20 years of neglect, the Air Force's fleet of combat aircraft is older than the Navy's fleet of warships. During his four-year stint as defense secretary, current Vice President Dick Cheney killed the service's cold-war fighter programs, terminated the next-generation B-2 bomber at a mere 20 planes, slashed the future C-17 cargo plane program, and decimated every other facet of U.S. air power. Clinton's defense secretaries added back some planes that Cheney had cut, but delayed and decreased the next-generation F-22 fighter that was the centerpiece of plans for future air dominance. Then Preident Bush's long-serving Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld launched the entire U.S. Department of Defense on a leap-ahead trajectory to military transformation that ignored air power for another six years. The end result is that the U.S. Air Force now flies 45-year-old aerial refueling tankers using a plane retired by commercial airlines a quarter-century ago; its F-22 fighter program has been cut 75 percent even though the aging fighters it would replace are so old they operate under flight restriction; its production lines for C-130 and C-17 transport planes are scheduled for closure despite lack of adequate airlift; and the service has canceled its planned family of aircraft for replacing cold-war radar and reconnaissance planes. The only bright spot on the horizon is the tri-service F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but Navy efforts to slash funding for JSF suggest the Air Force can't even count on that program coming to fruition. Air Force pilots have a favorite story they tell that captures the meltdown of American air power over the past 20 years. Brig. Gen. David Deptula was flying his F-15 over northern Iraq in 1999 when cockpit gauges went haywire and the fuel reading plummeted to zero. It turned out insulation on the plane's wiring had rotted away with age, shorting out the electrical system. The punch-line of the story was that Gen. Deptula was flying the same F-15 he had flown 20 years earlier as a young captain. But most of the people who tell the story don't know it has a new punch-line: Gen. Deptula's son, a first lieutenant, is now flying the same plane in the Pacific -- nearly 30 years after it was built. Maybe it's time the Air Force finally gets some new planes, before a real threat comes along.
1/18/07 11:17 AM
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TexArcher
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Edited: 18-Jan-07
Member Since: 12/30/2002
Posts: 22089
Why don't you just strap on a bomb already?
1/18/07 11:20 AM
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hubris
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Edited: 18-Jan-07
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yes for defense spending, no for offense spending
1/18/07 11:26 AM
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kot1k
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Edited: 18-Jan-07
Member Since: 03/15/2002
Posts: 829
lol @ Tex. Hubris, you suck at the internets. The lady that wrote the article is a moron. The F-22 is already in service and is by far the most advanced plane in the world. The F-35 will enter service within the next several years. She mentioned China and Russia. China is incapable of developing a modern plane of its own. It has attampted to make a good fighter bomber for the past 40 years and has failed miserably every time. While Russia makes good planes, the are still inferior to the F-22 and F-35. Even the new Sukoy planes that are coming out are too expensive for the Russian Airforce to buy, so they end up selling the bulk of the production to airpowers such as India. Russia has 1 carrier that is in Drydock 90% of the time, and when it's not, they can't manage to land a plane on it without crashing. Hubris, you need a date. Maybe some man will take you out and make an honest woman out of you some day.
1/19/07 9:52 AM
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fanat
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Edited: 19-Jan-07
Member Since: 06/06/2002
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"Hubris, you need a date. Maybe some man will take you out and make an honest woman out of you some day. " LOL. Now, this is getting OWNED!
2/8/07 11:23 PM
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SOLDAT
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Edited: 08-Feb-07
Member Since: 12/13/2005
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"The decay is most pronounced in the U.S. Air Force, the service that would have to take the lead in coping with urgent threats posed by Russia, China and other industrialized countries." The US has roughly twice as many aircraft as those two nations combined.
2/13/07 3:21 PM
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FlashGordon2002
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Edited: 13-Feb-07
Member Since: 05/23/2002
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There never was a USA "air power". I'm not knocking the USA. The belief in such an entity ("air power") flowed from a flawed theory - that of Douhet and the USAF's own political lobbying post-WWII. Air power alone has never been able to win battles. Air power acting as an ancilliary of naval or ground forces HAS won battles. The problem is that acknowledging this fact moots the reason for having an independent air force so politically, every air force out there has pushed the agenda that air power by itself could prove decisive in fighting wars by themselves.
6/29/07 7:37 PM
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jaseprobst
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Edited: 29-Jun-07
Member Since: 06/06/2003
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Air power is overrated in our current climate of challenges. Kinda hard to root out Al-Q suspects in a house to house search from 10,000 feet.
7/1/07 8:59 PM
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HELWIG
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Edited: 01-Jul-07
Member Since: 05/28/2003
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"yes for defense spending, no for offense spending"

You dont get a vote on the US' military spending.
7/14/07 9:54 PM
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HELWIG
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Edited: 14-Jul-07
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ttt
7/25/07 1:03 AM
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Jason Smith
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Edited: 25-Jul-07
Member Since: 09/14/2001
Posts: 6782
the best defense is a good offense...ttt for people making silly remarks without contextual relevance.
10/23/07 3:13 PM
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sniper1026
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Edited: 23-Oct-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1122
"the best defense is a good offense...ttt for people making silly remarks without contextual relevance." Agreed. It is not by chance that we have not had a terrorist attack with in our country. Though I do question us invading Iraq. Keeping it in Afghanistan was fine with me.
10/29/07 1:20 AM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 29-Oct-07 12:48 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 2941
It's funny that most of the respondents to this thread just declared victory by telling hubris that he's been "owned" without really bothering to rebut him.

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