Send More Jets

Uncle Jimbo (in his grown-up persona as Jim Hanson) has a piece in the Washington Examiner highlighting SecDef Gates’ recent comments in which he both pushes for a technologically superior and deep defense structure and says that we should never use it again in Asia or Africa.

Jim is defending the F35 program; I’ve been changing my attitude on that program from critical (we keep building overpriced, less-effective swiss-army-knife defense systems) toward positive (it sure seems to be working – except possibly for the VTOL variant – and we are going to need some better tech pretty darn soon).

More on this in a bit – it’s probably worth trying to think it out in a post.
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4 thoughts on “Send More Jets”

  1. Obligatory note that airpower has never won a war. Sea power, in fact, has- but i’m a concerned that the navy is terribly unfocused and spread too thin, spending resources on options for a wide range questionable missions while struggling to maintain the core mission of protecting the sea lanes and projecting power to far corners. Nobody has outdone the navy for developing hideously expensive toys for specific missions that will likely never be used because of their expense and small numbers. IE- if you spend some obscene amount of money on a couple of littoral combat ships, you aren’t going to send them where people will shoot at them… which is where they are designed to go… which makes their expensive stealthiness even more pointless.

    Anyway, I guess we’re locked into the F-35 at this point but all that really means is their prohibitive cost will extend the life of the last generation aircraft in much the way the B52s have been extended beyond anyone’s prediction. Its a good thing F-15s and F-16s were _really_ smartly build planes that have upgraded nicely.

  2. Oh- one more thing that has really bothered me. We’ve spent about two decades (at least) focusing our airspace control on standoff weaponry, air to air missiles able to strike 60 and 70 miles away with fire and forget technology. So what’s all this talk about our planes flying over Libya? At worst it would be our ‘invisible’ Raptors sneaking in and clubbing baby seals while cruise missiles wiped air fields off the map. In other words our air strategy _already_ is supposed to do what Gates suggests… except that in this case he’s saying that it doesn’t seem to be able to.

  3. Well, It seems like Gates is of the same mind as I have been since the beginning of these blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are both old enough to have McArthur’s doctrine about Ground wars in Asia banged into our heads.

    People had come to the point where embraced the equation:

    *Trouble + Send an Army to fix it = Foreign Policy.*

    I must admit that is a lot better than the Neo-Con”s stunningly Mindless Higher Mathematics:

    *Moral Use of Force + American Empire + a sprinkling of Wilsonian World Order=Foreign Policy*

    But neither equation is correct. The first because fails because it deals with the problem on the most simplistic of levels and the second because it is not based on objective reality.

    I am not sure about the F-35, believing that the age of the Unmanned Combat Vehicle would quickly overtake it. But, if Gates doesn’t believe that will happen, and it appears he doesn’t, then I would follow his lead. He appears to be a very level headed and competent guy.

    Also, I would be very careful before I do anything in Libya, No Fly Zone included and I don’t believe in the nation building, nor the Allow Democracy to Flourish nonsense either as an excuse. The only reason to send troops into North Africa and the gulf is to occupy oil fields and insure the flow of oil. the rest is just the same fairy tale the country has fallen for in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  4. “IE- if you spend some obscene amount of money on a couple of littoral combat ships, you aren’t going to send them where people will shoot at them.”

    You may be correct. I read that these ships are being manufactured and tested to commercial not military standards. The USN justification was that the ships were not expected to operate in the same environment as other USN vessels.

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