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

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  • Redzen
    started a topic Is It Time to Abolish the U.S. Air Force?

    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.

  • Arnold J Rimmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Proconsul View Post

    This is a very interesting argument, but as slick_miester said I fail to understand the logic in it. This is a subject long debated by military experts and historians but my personal take is that the resources spent on the Allied strategic air offensive in Europe were not proportional to the results obtained. Again this is arguable but it seems to me that the greatest results from strategic bombing were achieved when focused against specific targets like oil and fuel facilities, with support from long range fighters. That could probably have been achieved with a smaller force. However I don't see how an independent air force would have done better. If nothing, it seems to me that it would have siphoned even more resources into strategic bombing. Please elaborate.
    Well, that was scores of words where ten would do.

    Simple: bureaucracies, which is what the military is, do the least poorly with a single defined mission. Force a bureaucracy to try to focus upon two different missions (air and land power), and your inefficiency soars.

    Every nation that did not have a separate Air Force in WW2 switched immediately afterward.

    There is an age-old military axiom that sums it up: Keep It Short and Simple.

    Leave a comment:


  • Proconsul
    replied
    Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

    Actually, the exact opposite was determined by the post-war studies. The Long-range bomber programs were a failure; German industry continue rapid growth through 43-44; while US air power managed to massacre hundreds of thousands of non-combatants, it utterly failed in its mission of strategic destruction. Meanwhile, the resources poured into the program prevented the formation of the planned hundred-division army, which meant that the the burnout of existing formations crippled US combat power.
    This is a very interesting argument, but as slick_miester said I fail to understand the logic in it. This is a subject long debated by military experts and historians but my personal take is that the resources spent on the Allied strategic air offensive in Europe were not proportional to the results obtained. Again this is arguable but it seems to me that the greatest results from strategic bombing were achieved when focused against specific targets like oil and fuel facilities, with support from long range fighters. That could probably have been achieved with a smaller force. However I don't see how an independent air force would have done better. If nothing, it seems to me that it would have siphoned even more resources into strategic bombing. Please elaborate.
    Last edited by Proconsul; 20 Jan 19, 14:25.

    Leave a comment:


  • KRJ
    replied
    No, but it's time to let the Army go back to flying small fixed wing aircraft for troop transport and close air support.

    Leave a comment:


  • Redzen
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

    That'd be easy for Britain... Their armed forces are smaller than the NHS...
    I see. I don't doubt it.

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by Redzen View Post
    8 years ago or so, the idea of merging the British army, navy, and air force into a "super-force" was going to be considered as part of a defence-forces review.

    Another interesting article, from The Telegraph, February 3, 2010:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/pol...e-debated.html
    That'd be easy for Britain... Their armed forces are smaller than the NHS...

    Leave a comment:


  • Redzen
    replied
    8 years ago or so, the idea of merging the British army, navy, and air force into a "super-force" was going to be considered as part of a defence-forces review.

    Another interesting article, from The Telegraph, February 3, 2010:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/pol...e-debated.html

    Leave a comment:


  • Samedi
    replied
    I suspect this question is largely mooted by UAVs. This is the current arena where the Army and Air Force are battling over mission and platform ownership. If the Army gets CAS, ISR, and other kinds of UAVs they will essentially have most of mission. There is a logic to the Army having them since this will enable them to be integrated into Army C2 systems.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post


    If we get rid of the airforce as a seperate entity, we may as well get rid of the navy, since that's just the army in boats, right .

    Call the combined unit a Marine Army, they use every asset anyway .
    We really only need two armed forces, a land force - the Marines - and an ocean force - the Navy. They already have a long tradition of working closely together.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by Merkava188 View Post
    Why abolish the U.S.A.F. ? That's about as dumb as getting rid of the Marines.

    If we get rid of the airforce as a seperate entity, we may as well get rid of the navy, since that's just the army in boats, right .

    Call the combined unit a Marine Army, they use every asset anyway .

    Leave a comment:


  • Merkava188
    replied
    Why abolish the U.S.A.F. ? That's about as dumb as getting rid of the Marines.

    Leave a comment:


  • slick_miester
    replied
    Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
    Actually, the exact opposite was determined by the post-war studies. The Long-range bomber programs were a failure; German industry continue rapid growth through 43-44; while US air power managed to massacre hundreds of thousands of non-combatants, it utterly failed in its mission of strategic destruction. Meanwhile, the resources poured into the program prevented the formation of the planned hundred-division army, which meant that the the burnout of existing formations crippled US combat power.

    Had there been a separate air arm focusing solely upon the technology and doctrines unique to their mission, as in subsequent conflicts, US losses would have been lower and combat efficiency would have been higher.
    I'm not following your logic. You're assuming that had the USAF been a separate service 1941-1945, then the AF would not have deprived the Army of resources and it would have developed high tech systems that would have more effectively prosecuted an air war against Germany. Your assumptions ignore three salient facts:

    1) had the USAF been an independent branch of the service, then it would have deprived both the Navy (and by extension the USMC) and the Army of funding, not just the Army alone;

    2) the independence of the RAF and the Luftwaffe did not result in discernibly superior technology during WW2, nor did it result in discernibly war-winning results;

    3) the independence of the USAF and its independence with regards to acquiring fiscal resources and developing technology did not result in discernibly superior results in Viet Nam. I've heard rumors that some of the USAF's hands in Viet Nam were so impressed with the performance of old, low-tech, and USAAF and USN developed A-26 Invaders and A-1 Skyraiders that the USAF brass was compelled to inquire about restarting production of those two "obsolete" prop birds, only to learn that building those tools and dyes from scratch would be considered prohibitively expensive: it would take funding away from the F-111, F-15 and B-1 then under development.

    In fact, without the political will required to employ strategic weapons, air power alone can not be a decisive factor. With that in mind, the role that an independent Air Force plays tactically remains quite uncertain, and makes justifying its funding politically tenuous.
    Last edited by slick_miester; 19 Sep 18, 10:36.

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  • Arnold J Rimmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

    And yet the United States Air Corps, under the US Army, performed admirably during WWII, so that argument doesn't really hold true.
    Actually, the exact opposite was determined by the post-war studies. The Long-range bomber programs were a failure; German industry continue rapid growth through 43-44; while US air power managed to massacre hundreds of thousands of non-combatants, it utterly failed in its mission of strategic destruction. Meanwhile, the resources poured into the program prevented the formation of the planned hundred-division army, which meant that the the burnout of existing formations crippled US combat power.

    Had there been a separate air arm focusing solely upon the technology and doctrines unique to their mission, as in subsequent conflicts, US losses would have been lower and combat efficiency would have been higher.

    To merge those two services would be counter-productive in the extreme.

    Examine the mass of studies that led to the formation of the USAF; it's all public record.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

    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.
    And yet the United States Air Corps, under the US Army, performed admirably during WWII, so that argument doesn't really hold true.

    In fact, the Marines have pretty much demonstrated that the Army needs its own fixed wing air support in the same way that the Navy and Marines have it, to serve their own specific role. The Air Force could therefore be specifically relegated to strategic bombing, strategic air defense and missile defense. Fact is, the Air Force is hugely expensive for the mission it performs and is often reluctant to risk it's costly toys in actual combat.

    Leave a comment:


  • Arnold J Rimmer
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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