Skip to comments.Air Force firings reveal culture clash
Posted on 06/06/2008 10:58:17 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
By Bob Deans
Saturday, June 07, 2008
WASHINGTON In April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Maxwell Air Force Base near Montgomery, Ala., to address an elite group of majors and colonels attending the Air War College in preparation for promotions to command positions.
For months, Gates had been at odds with Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, over how to increase the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to spy on insurgents and monitor roadside bomb sites in Iraq.
The Air Force brass, Gates confided, had been dragging its feet.
"I've been wrestling for months to get more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets into the theater," Gates told the war college students. "Because people were stuck in old ways of doing business, it's been like pulling teeth."
On Thursday, Gates fired Wynne and Moseley, saying that inspections after two embarrassing nuclear arms mistakes in the past year revealed systemic weaknesses in how the Air Force takes care of the country's most dangerous weapons.
Behind the firings, however, lay a more fundamental battle over the future of the Air Force, service officers and analysts said, and a broader divide between a service set up to defend the country against a Cold War threat and a White House bent on defeating terror groups.
"There was a deep cultural rift between the U.S. Air Force and the office of the secretary of defense throughout the Bush presidency," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a security policy think tank in Arlington, Va.
"The Bush administration was determined to transform the military into an information-age military, and it defined that goal in terms that didn't have much to do with the goals of the U.S. Air Force," Thompson said. "As a result, year after year there were arguments."
Moseley and Wynne, by some lights, represented an old guard that fought for expensive manned aircraft like the $142 million F-22 fighter jet. Some officials said the two leaders were perceived to be slow to make the transformational changes Gates envisioned to create an Air Force that would rely less on pilots and more on technology to fulfill a mission centered on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
"It wasn't just the nuke issue," said a senior Air Force officer.
Gates is likely to recommend to President Bush that he nominate a former Air Force executive, Michael Donley, to the service's top civilian post, a senior defense official said Friday. Donley, who was acting secretary of the Air Force for seven months in 1993 and served as the service's top financial officer from 1989 to 1993, would replace Wynne.
Additional material from The Associated Press.
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This is news? Like any culture, shit happens when humans are involved.
The Air Force learned its lesson with Wild Bill. Airmen make the difference. Artificial Intelligence is useful when controlled by people.
Are you saying, “Off we go into the wild Blue Yawner”???AF Retiree....
More bang for the buck is good.
I think if someone grew up with the Air Force of the 1970s...and then came to view the Air Force of 2008...they would be totally shocked at the leadership, the vision, the change-the-change-to-the-change mentality, and the business-like management style of today. Companies used to come out to Air Force bases in the 1960s and 1970s...to see how to run a smooth operation. The Air Force gave up and started making tours of civilian operations in the mid-90s and have lost a tremendous amount of creativity...working on creating “centers of excellence” which are mere shadows of what we had twenty years ago.
Across the entire Air Force...they’ve got a broad spectrum of senior NCOs and officers who simply don’t know how their office, division or operation functions. There are senior NCOs out there who haven’t functioned in the shoes of their airman for more than fifteen years. The junior enlisted get daily sessions of “moral direction” rather than train on accomplishing an impossible mission. I can remember exercises in the early 80s that were rigged up for 150 percent of what you’d face...which you couldn’t possibly accomplish everything...yet you learned how to prioritize and set an achievable goal with what you could do. Today...they plan an exercise, which is mostly scripted and like some kind of cake-walk...mainly because so many leaders don’t know that job or the operation.
I spent twenty-two years in the AF...and continual to work in some fashion outside the uniform today for them. The Secretary of the Defense is correct...there is something disconnected and not working right.
Gates is going to eat his words in a few years. Drones are not going to be able to match up with the Chinese PLAF. We'd better hope for lots of USAF Raptors and USN/Marine JSFs. Pilots aren't going away in the 21st century. That's a myth that rivals global warming.
I have seen the briefing where the Army took their own C-12 aircraft and did their own ISR after the Air Force refused to help.
The Army initiated their own ISR program and made it work. The Air Force just isn't listening.
The UAVs are a different story - the UAV pilots are maxed out, and they are tired. They are sitting there in Nevada chained to that 12 to 16 hours a day, and there are not enough of them.
The ultimate solution is to let enlisted and other "fly" the UAVs. Gen Mosley would have nothing of this, neither would Secretary Wynne.
Well, now they are gone.
The other big issue was the Air Force attitude to cut everything (including its own people) for the sake of the F-22.
Great aircraft, but a Budget killer. It is KILLING the Air Force.
The Air Force is cutting contracts left and right to pay for the precious F-22; and is cutting everything to the bone to pay for it. Secretary Gates himself said it contributes "nothing to war on terror" and he furthermore said the Air Force had to "focus on the two wars we are fighting now."
Is it a great fighter? Yeah. Does the F-15 need to be replaced? Yeah.
Do we need more than 180 of them? Not at the cost of bankrupting the entire Air Force budget if Congress won't give the Air Force anymore money.
The Air Force leaders developed myopic tunnel vision.
It was "THE F-22, OR BUST!"
This has to stop.
The Air Force fighter guys in the E-ring didn't want to hear this.
That was the bigger issue as this article pointed out.
Back in 1984 I took a group of managers from my company out to a large Air Force Supply depot to look at their supply operations.
We came away impressed with the efficiency of how things were going.
I wonder what went wrong between 1984 and 2008.
I believe that the military is relying way to much on civilians to solve problems that used to solved by hard working enlisted men.
I was out at the Navy base today and men in uniform were rare to be seen.
However,civilians were everywhere such as the grounds keeping crew in front of the base commanders home.
Well, 'everybody' hates change - especially when you're in a large bureaucracy.
When a team performs poorly — one usually doesn’t fire the entire team - they fire the coaches.
The Air Force “coaches” have had a bad season and ruffled the wrong feathers.
- Air Force “Old School thinking” in a new world scenario - didn’t win friends in the other services.
- The armed nuclear weapons flown across the country UNKNOWN by the B52 pilots.
- Nuclear fuses shipped by error to a foreign customer.
- Foot dragging on building and deploying intelligence gathering and unmanned attack drones in the combat zones.
- Crash of a B-2 stealth bomber, the most expensive bomber in the fleet on takeoff, due to poor communications regarding the hazard and remedy for moisture contaminated sensors.
- Some believe the cover up and discharge of Major Metzger with PTSS disability benefits to the young woman Air Force officer who claimed she was kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan — when in fact it appears she sought and received an abortion for a pregnancy from an adulterous affair........hints of a larger cover up and poor judgment at the highest levels of Air Force command, drew unwanted attention.
Sooner or later — there is enough reason to fire anyone you want fired...
Most of it will probably never be made public.
***The Air Force is cutting contracts left and right to pay for the precious F-22; and is cutting everything to the bone to pay for it.***
Let’s not forget slashing personnel.
Agreed. This is like watching a redo of the old “we don't need guns any more” because missiles are what the air war is about for the future.
And we got F-4’s with no guns and sparrow's that dove off the rails into the ground.
Air Force Catholic Chaplains in Kuwait are the worst!
“Gates is going to eat his words in a few years. Drones are not going to be able to match up with the Chinese PLAF. “
On the contrary, manned planes won’t be able to match up with drones in a few years. The march of technology, specifically artificial intelligence, will see to that. The era of manned combat flight is in it’s sunset. A UCAV with the necessary AI will fly circles around any human piloted plane. It’ll be able to make decisions faster than any human mind, and it’ll be able to handle stresses and maneuvers that no human piloted plane can.
And when all this comes to pass... when “fighter planes” are nothing but robots serviced by teenaged kids, probably able to take off and land vertically from any dirt strip... what need will their be for a separate Air Force? The Army will simply be able to unpack a squadron from the back of a truck, enter a few computer commands, and send them on their way from anywhere. The Navy will be able to do the same from ships.
The Knights of the Air will very soon be an endangered species.
The solution, I think, to getting more USAF UAV pilots trained and on duty is to implement a new "Warrant Officer" grade just like the Army's for its chopper pilots.
The fighter mafia won't have it though...
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