Apparently, the House Appropriations Committee has decided that the U.S. Air Force has lost it's way, particularly with respect to the proposed Joint Cargo Aircraft. The Joint Cargo Aircraft is supposed to provide logistical support to the troops on the ground utilizing unimproved landing areas around the world.
As our enemies have changed tactics, so must we. We no longer face battles where large armies face one another on a single battle field like Rommel faced Patton in the Second World War in Africa. Instead, we are faced with a combination of urban fighting and ferreting out the enemy from tunnels and camps in the remotest parts of the world.
As an answer to the supply problem Congress authorized the development of a Joint Cargo Aircraft to be utilized by both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. In a recent move congress stated that the Air Force “is neither able to articulate an employment plan for the Joint Cargo Aircraft nor able to explain the roles and missions of the aircraft.”
The program has been enveloped in controversy ever since the Pentagon decided that both the Army and the Air Force should join forces and operate the new aircraft. Initially, both the Army and the Air Force put out concepts for a cargo plane able to deliver support items to troops in unwieldy locations, but the Air Force has seemingly lost it's way on this project. The aircraft is meant to go where mostly helicopters and Humvees go now at great risk to the personnel.
I served in the Air Force a long time ago, and I have a brother-in-law who recently retired as a Captain from the U.S. Navy. He flew many missions off of aircraft carriers, and had significant experience with joint military operations. A number of years ago he told me that the Air Force could not deliver most of what they promised in support of these joint military operations, despite the fact that they promised they would deliver.
It makes me sad to think that a major branch of our military is finding itself without clear direction and purpose, and that it is losing it's role to the father of the Air Force, the Army.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!