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Is It Time to Abolish the U.S. Air Force?

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  • Is It Time to Abolish the U.S. Air Force?

    Interesting article:

    https://www.airspacemag.com/flight-t...iew-180956612/


    Personally, I think independent air forces are here to stay. An independent air force is dedicated to aerial warfare and the task of all air forces is to fight the air war. Airmen are expert in this form of warfare at both strategic and tactical levels in a way which soldiers and sailors could not really be.
    Last edited by Redzen; 05 Sep 18, 02:12.
    在魔鬼和深蓝色的海洋之间. 悪魔と深海の間. Carpe hunc diem.

  • #2
    No. That's a question with no merit and an excess of historic proof against it.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

    Comment


    • #3
      Actually, the USAF should never have been formed. It has no independent role in warfare. It is the equivalent on land to the US Navy's aviation branch. That is, it should properly be part of the Army, the way the US Navy has an aviation branch or the USMC has an aviation branch.
      "Strategic" bombardment is simply very long range artillery fire delivered by airplane or missile. Ground support is simply flying artillery fire. Thus the Army should have control of these.

      We have never had an "air war." We've had naval wars for control of the oceans, and land wars for control of land, but no one has fought for control of the air outside one of those two things.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        Actually, the USAF should never have been formed. It has no independent role in warfare. It is the equivalent on land to the US Navy's aviation branch. That is, it should properly be part of the Army, the way the US Navy has an aviation branch or the USMC has an aviation branch.
        "Strategic" bombardment is simply very long range artillery fire delivered by airplane or missile. Ground support is simply flying artillery fire. Thus the Army should have control of these.

        We have never had an "air war." We've had naval wars for control of the oceans, and land wars for control of land, but no one has fought for control of the air outside one of those two things.
        Actually, they have. Control of the air over Europe was essential both to allow the bombers to do their work and to allow our ground forces to proceed without the problems experienced by Germany both in the West and in the East. Without air superiority, land superiority is difficult to achieve, and we know what happened to the Japanese Navy and the British Navy as a result of air superiority. Perhaps the greatest battleship ever built, the IJN Yamato, was sunk by aircraft.

        However, independent commands are harder to control and coordinate, and the United States Air Corps achieved some of its finest victories as a part of the US Army.

        However, as an independent US Air Force, there is considerable reluctance to drop down from the glamour of air superiority fighters and get down in the dirt for close support of troops, and no desire at all to risk being the pilot of an attack chopper.
        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

          Actually, they have. Control of the air over Europe was essential both to allow the bombers to do their work and to allow our ground forces to proceed without the problems experienced by Germany both in the West and in the East. Without air superiority, land superiority is difficult to achieve, and we know what happened to the Japanese Navy and the British Navy as a result of air superiority. Perhaps the greatest battleship ever built, the IJN Yamato, was sunk by aircraft.
          That was simply a precursor to invasion and a ground offensive. Without the later the former did nothing. That is, "Strategic" bombardment alone would not have won the war. The air offensive was part and parcel of the ground war. This is pointedly discussed in numerous books on strategy. For example, Luttwak in Strategy, The Logic of War and Peace devotes chapter 11 to "Nonstrategies" including nuclear and air power in which he argues neither is a strategy on its own. Both versions of Makers of Modern Strategy (Earle and Paret editors respectively) discuss Mitchell, Douhet, and Seversky at length pointing out that their argument for air power being "strategic" has never come true.

          The sinking of the Yamato, and many other ships by naval air power is simply a projection of naval power. Had the USN had SSM's at the time they could have sunk these ships using those. That doesn't equate to air power being effective as a strategic theory on its own. On the other hand, the emasculation of airpower in the Royal Navy, Kriegsmarine, and RM (Italian Navy), left all three services without a potent weapon system as their respective independent air forces wouldn't allow a diminution of their service's political power or budget.

          The Luftwaffe went above and beyond being just an air force. Göring took over the flak arm from the Heer, then established his own army in what might be seen as a reverse of the US Army and USAAC's relationship.

          However, independent commands are harder to control and coordinate, and the United States Air Corps achieved some of its finest victories as a part of the US Army.

          However, as an independent US Air Force, there is considerable reluctance to drop down from the glamour of air superiority fighters and get down in the dirt for close support of troops, and no desire at all to risk being the pilot of an attack chopper.
          The Howze Board was the reason the US Army got rotary wing aircraft. That was a compromise the USAF made to get independence as a branch of service. But, it doesn't change that the USAF's mission is supporting the US Army be it to win air superiority over the battlefield, bomb the snot out of targets artillery or rockets can't reach, or in close support of ground troops. Even things like transporting "stuff" is in support of the Army. Their mission is supporting the US Army, nothing more, nothing less.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            [.....]
            the(ir) argument for air power being "strategic" has never come true.
            [.....]
            Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
            "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
            "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

            "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
            — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              Actually, the USAF should never have been formed. It has no independent role in warfare. It is the equivalent on land to the US Navy's aviation branch. That is, it should properly be part of the Army, the way the US Navy has an aviation branch or the USMC has an aviation branch.
              "Strategic" bombardment is simply very long range artillery fire delivered by airplane or missile. Ground support is simply flying artillery fire. Thus the Army should have control of these.

              We have never had an "air war." We've had naval wars for control of the oceans, and land wars for control of land, but no one has fought for control of the air outside one of those two things.
              What we learned in WW2 is that the burden of controlling both the Army and the Air Force in one shop resulted in tremendous inefficiency. As did every other nation had had that set-up.

              Here's a simple fact: since 1939 no one has won a war, on land or sea, without control of the air. The USN hasn't used a sub or fought a multi-ship surface engagement in close to three quarters of a century, but it's aviation assets have seen heavy combat.
              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by At ease View Post

                Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
                Just a more efficient way to flatten a city. We could have done the same with more planes and lots of conventional bombs or had ships sail up and pound it flat. Either way, nuclear weapons are just more efficient. They don't change the equation any other way.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

                  What we learned in WW2 is that the burden of controlling both the Army and the Air Force in one shop resulted in tremendous inefficiency. As did every other nation had had that set-up.

                  Here's a simple fact: since 1939 no one has won a war, on land or sea, without control of the air. The USN hasn't used a sub or fought a multi-ship surface engagement in close to three quarters of a century, but it's aviation assets have seen heavy combat.
                  Actually, I would say the opposite is true. By having the services separated much of the higher command is duplicated. There is much greater inefficiency in terms of coordination. The Luftwaffe for example, often touted as being a great ground support service early in the war did very little actual ground support. The system in place in 1939 and 40 was there was a "Flivo" or Luftwaffe liaison officer, attached to each army corps. Requests for ground support from the Luftwaffe went up the army chain of command to corps then was passed to the Luftwaffe where they decided whether they could or would execute the request. If they agreed to the support request the orders were then passed down to operational units and the planes dispatched, usually the next day for the mission.

                  The Italian Navy completely dependent on the Air Force for air cover and air attack missions at sea had to radio to shore commands and pass the request up to the top of their chain of command, then to the Air Force, who would fill the request. Usually the AF planes showed up hours after the mission was required and did nothing... Except bomb their own ships in some cases as the pilots received ZERO training in ship identification, which wasn't an AF priority.

                  In the US, the USN and USAAF both operated ASW aircraft off the US coasts and in the Caribbean. The USAAF planes operated independently of the USN ones and information from the USAAF was spotty and slow meaning USN ships couldn't respond to many sightings. The USN wanted control of the planes to do the job themselves but the USAAF was loathe to give up the mission. In the end, most of it was given to the USN and the USAAF was forced by the Joint Chiefs at the highest levels of the US military to hand over most of their ASW aircraft to the Navy.

                  In every case, having a separate Air Force service resulted in increased, often massively increased, inefficiency in operations because whenever these called for joint service, or even joint branch within a service cooperation it was slowed down by having two chains of command, conflicts of interest in what each saw as a priority mission, and in not having the right planes to do the job in many cases.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    TAG is 1,000% correct: the air force is a branch without a real mission. To whit, the Soviets split up their aviation assets by role: front aviation for close support, long-range aviation for behind-the-lines interdiction, and strategic aviation and rocket forces for the strategic role. The air force as an independent branch robs the army of desperately needed close air support, a role which the air force brass have traditionally loathed, as it takes funding away from their cherished hi-tech fast-movers, which experience in Vietnam proved were wholly inadequate to the tactical needs of the forces on the ground.
                    I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                      That was simply a precursor to invasion and a ground offensive. Without the later the former did nothing. That is, "Strategic" bombardment alone would not have won the war. The air offensive was part and parcel of the ground war. This is pointedly discussed in numerous books on strategy. For example, Luttwak in Strategy, The Logic of War and Peace devotes chapter 11 to "Nonstrategies" including nuclear and air power in which he argues neither is a strategy on its own. Both versions of Makers of Modern Strategy (Earle and Paret editors respectively) discuss Mitchell, Douhet, and Seversky at length pointing out that their argument for air power being "strategic" has never come true.

                      The sinking of the Yamato, and many other ships by naval air power is simply a projection of naval power. Had the USN had SSM's at the time they could have sunk these ships using those. That doesn't equate to air power being effective as a strategic theory on its own. On the other hand, the emasculation of airpower in the Royal Navy, Kriegsmarine, and RM (Italian Navy), left all three services without a potent weapon system as their respective independent air forces wouldn't allow a diminution of their service's political power or budget.

                      The Luftwaffe went above and beyond being just an air force. Göring took over the flak arm from the Heer, then established his own army in what might be seen as a reverse of the US Army and USAAC's relationship.



                      The Howze Board was the reason the US Army got rotary wing aircraft. That was a compromise the USAF made to get independence as a branch of service. But, it doesn't change that the USAF's mission is supporting the US Army be it to win air superiority over the battlefield, bomb the snot out of targets artillery or rockets can't reach, or in close support of ground troops. Even things like transporting "stuff" is in support of the Army. Their mission is supporting the US Army, nothing more, nothing less.
                      Clearly you have no interest in any viewpoint but your own, so I'll leave you to it. Ultimately, according to your position, even the navy is merely an extension of the ground war, which pretty much negates the history of the world.
                      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                        Actually, I would say the opposite is true. By having the services separated much of the higher command is duplicated. There is much greater inefficiency in terms of coordination. The Luftwaffe for example, often touted as being a great ground support service early in the war did very little actual ground support. The system in place in 1939 and 40 was there was a "Flivo" or Luftwaffe liaison officer, attached to each army corps. Requests for ground support from the Luftwaffe went up the army chain of command to corps then was passed to the Luftwaffe where they decided whether they could or would execute the request. If they agreed to the support request the orders were then passed down to operational units and the planes dispatched, usually the next day for the mission.

                        The Italian Navy completely dependent on the Air Force for air cover and air attack missions at sea had to radio to shore commands and pass the request up to the top of their chain of command, then to the Air Force, who would fill the request. Usually the AF planes showed up hours after the mission was required and did nothing... Except bomb their own ships in some cases as the pilots received ZERO training in ship identification, which wasn't an AF priority.

                        In the US, the USN and USAAF both operated ASW aircraft off the US coasts and in the Caribbean. The USAAF planes operated independently of the USN ones and information from the USAAF was spotty and slow meaning USN ships couldn't respond to many sightings. The USN wanted control of the planes to do the job themselves but the USAAF was loathe to give up the mission. In the end, most of it was given to the USN and the USAAF was forced by the Joint Chiefs at the highest levels of the US military to hand over most of their ASW aircraft to the Navy.

                        In every case, having a separate Air Force service resulted in increased, often massively increased, inefficiency in operations because whenever these called for joint service, or even joint branch within a service cooperation it was slowed down by having two chains of command, conflicts of interest in what each saw as a priority mission, and in not having the right planes to do the job in many cases.
                        Absolutely not. There are too many missions and complexities to merge the two services. If it wasn't for the need for escorts, we would be better served by disbanding the Navy and giving the CVNs and air assets to the USAF.

                        You can't task a service with such a broad spectrum of technological development and employment.

                        I would never use the Soviets as a good example of anything.

                        We need a separate Air Force.
                        Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                          Clearly you have no interest in any viewpoint but your own, so I'll leave you to it. Ultimately, according to your position, even the navy is merely an extension of the ground war, which pretty much negates the history of the world.
                          No. Sea power has a separate strategy from land power. What there isn't is a separate strategic logic for air power. It is applied to one or the other, or both, but it doesn't act separately of the two.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

                            Absolutely not. There are too many missions and complexities to merge the two services. If it wasn't for the need for escorts, we would be better served by disbanding the Navy and giving the CVNs and air assets to the USAF.
                            The USAF is awful in the sea control / sea power projection role. Carriers are simply an extension of sea power using aircraft as the weapon system. Ships with missiles of various sorts are a variant of that.

                            You can't task a service with such a broad spectrum of technological development and employment.

                            I would never use the Soviets as a good example of anything.

                            We need a separate Air Force.
                            No we don't. The US Army operates a wide range of aircraft for a variety of roles. The only thing they don't do is operate armed fixed wing aircraft. The US Army already operates short and intermediate range ballistic missiles. Giving them the relatively few intercontinental ones the Air Force operates would be a big plus, rather than a minus.
                            Right now, the USAF has serious problems retaining their missile operators, particularly officers. For USAF personnel being in the ICBM branch is a dead end job with little career potential. Given to the Army these missiles would be in the artillery branch and have the opportunity for career advancement paths to higher positions.

                            The USAF operates a mere handful of "strategic" bombers like the B-1, B-2, and B-52. Outside that, they operate a number of fighter and transport groups along with some specialized aircraft, some of which overlap with the US Army like ESM / ECM aircraft. If anything, combining the Army and Air Force creates more opportunity for personnel to advance. It would also get rid of the USAF having to operate a separate security force, and (for reasons I can't comprehend) special forces units. Why the USAF has the equivalent of commandos, rangers, or SEALs is beyond me.



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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                              The USAF is awful in the sea control / sea power projection role. Carriers are simply an extension of sea power using aircraft as the weapon system. Ships with missiles of various sorts are a variant of that.



                              No we don't. The US Army operates a wide range of aircraft for a variety of roles. The only thing they don't do is operate armed fixed wing aircraft. The US Army already operates short and intermediate range ballistic missiles. Giving them the relatively few intercontinental ones the Air Force operates would be a big plus, rather than a minus.
                              Right now, the USAF has serious problems retaining their missile operators, particularly officers. For USAF personnel being in the ICBM branch is a dead end job with little career potential. Given to the Army these missiles would be in the artillery branch and have the opportunity for career advancement paths to higher positions.

                              The USAF operates a mere handful of "strategic" bombers like the B-1, B-2, and B-52. Outside that, they operate a number of fighter and transport groups along with some specialized aircraft, some of which overlap with the US Army like ESM / ECM aircraft. If anything, combining the Army and Air Force creates more opportunity for personnel to advance. It would also get rid of the USAF having to operate a separate security force, and (for reasons I can't comprehend) special forces units. Why the USAF has the equivalent of commandos, rangers, or SEALs is beyond me.
                              The USAF got a separate security force while I was still in; it was because the Army was unable to provide adequate security.

                              Mixing the two services would be a very bad move. WW2 proved that. It would simply spawn yet more bureaucracy and wasted effort, while over-burdening the top brass with a wild variety of doctrinal and technological choices.

                              Every nation that lacked a separate air branch in WW2 added one since. It simply does not mesh.

                              The US Army hasn't operated ballistic missile systems since 1991, when Pershing II was withdrawn. It only operates rotary wing aircraft.

                              There's no basis fore doctrinal interface.

                              Eliminating the USAF would be a retrograde step, and a major disaster.

                              Nor does the Air Force have any unit comparable to the Rangers, SEALs, or whatever 'commandos' are. They have the pararescue jumpers, which are a natural outgrowth of their air rescue mission.

                              Why the Navy has SEALs is a mystery, since that is a role the USMC is designed for and does better.
                              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                              Comment

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