Among the many items AFA members should be alert for as the year continues to unfold, two warrant special note. They are, first, evidence of Air Force cooperation with other US services and allied forces; and, second, cases where the services are at loggerheads.
Regarding allied forces, particularly noteworthy is the closer cooperation under way at Allied Air Forces. Expanded when Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Gabriel was CINC USAFE, these activities make better use of limited resources in maintaining the balance in a critical area. Watch for more and similar activities there and in other parts of the world. Case in point: the combined use by USAF and Republic of Korea air forces of the instrumented maneuvering range off the peninsula’s west coast.
Consider point air defense. The Army has the mission, but has done very little over the past two decades to execute it in a way that would strike fear into penetrating enemy aircraft. Consequently, in the UK the Air Force has made up the deficiency by buying British-made Rapier surface-to-air missiles and having the Royal Air Force Regiment man them. As the Air Force seeks air defense for its bases on the continent of Europe, it runs against the Army contention that it has the role. The fact that it’s not executing the mission gets lost in the verbiage.
What can the Air Force do? Use such standoff weapons as cruise missiles, accelerate development of night and under-weather attack aircraft, and continue development of affordable and maintainable all-weather systems.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news about the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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