by Michael Lowrey
One problem with reforming government are permanently entrenched bureaucracies, seeking ever more dollars to do things the way they’ve always been done. And that’s especially true in the military. With that in mind, Robert Farley of the University of Kentucky offers up a highly provocative opinion piece in Aviation Week and Space Technology titled “Abolish The Air Force.” A highlight:
What we lack is a compelling logic for dividing airpower from the military tasks to which it contributes. The most conventional explanation — that different mediums require different services — falls apart under any scrutiny (see again the five-plus air forces we currently field). And it is no longer necessary (if it ever was) to convince soldiers and sailors that they need to pay attention to airpower.
(“Five-plus air forces” would be the U.S. Air Force and the aviation branches of the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard.)
The borders that divide the services may (or may not) have made sense in 1947, but now they hamper good strategic and tactical thinking and contribute to a utterly broken procurement process. Killing a government bureaucracy is hard, but it can be done.
Even if one isn’t willing to go as far as Farley does, with the Air Force having ever-fewer aircraft, it’s becoming ever-harder to justify the existence of the Air National Guard, though the ANG remains as politically popular as ever.