AF chief warns service mustn’t become ‘hollow force’

AF chief warns service mustn’t become ‘hollow force’

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz warned airmen in his yearly guidance Monday that he and they need to take care that global commitments and the prospect of dwindling budgets don’t create “a creeping hollow force” that only gives the “illusion” the service can take its full range of missions.

Wrote Schwartz:

In the coming years, our nation and our our Air Force will face a budget environment unlike anything we have encountered in decades. As elected officials consider what to do about the growing federal debt, pressure will mount to reduce defense spending …

The Air Force will play a role in the solution, but not by retrenching or continuing business as usual on a reduced scale. My pledge for the coming year is to strengthen unit readiness and avoid a creeping hollow force that proves only the illusion of global vigilance, reach and power. Yet, even as we operate aging systems, many Air Force capabilities require modernization to help us shape and respond to a very challenging future. We must make difficult choices to balance near-term operational readiness with longer term needs, and fit all of that into a more affordable package.

Despite Schwartz’s warnings, his yearly “Vector” does not lay down specifics as to what “difficult choices” he believes the Air Force must make in the near term, although he echoes the aerospace industry executives at the Paris Air Show who said the key to survival now is executing the programs already in effect.

Neither Schwartz nor the defense contractors put it this way, but here it is in plain English: Every time a program has a headline-grabbing cost increase or performance problem, it draws attention from a deficit-minded Congress hungry for things to cut. So one of the best ways to survive in Austerity America is just to perform the way you said you would.

Along those lines, Schwartz wrote that in the coming year, the Air Force must make its new bomber its “premier acquisition initiative;” “build its future fighter force with the F-35A;” and move ahead with the KC-46A tanker. It must also keep going with “detailed and consistent monitoring of the F-35 program in all its dimensions, focusing on minimizing operations and support costs;” “working with Congress to refine our space system acquisition program … to provide more affordable, robust and resilient satellite capabilities;” and it must keep “holding the line on KC-46 requirements, maintaining cost and schedule performance.”


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Of course General Schwartz is correct in warning of the pitfalls of a hollow force! Been there, done that. What must shrink along with force structure are the roles and missions that drive these global commitments. That will entail accepting risk, but the USAF, along with the USN, are going to have to accept a reduced force structure as the days of the U.S. acting as the world police force draw to a close.

Reduced forward presence in Europe and Asia is certainly coming. Air wing cutbacks, USAF and Navy, are coming. Before we BRAC another U.S. installation, we should put all overseas installations under the knife for cuts.

What a strange situation. It was General Schwartz who axed the 150 mill/plane F-22 in order to recapitalize the USAF with the affordable 200 Mill/plane F-35. Maybe that’s something Sec Def Panetta should take a look at when evaluating the competence of the USAF leadership.

The key is to watch what gets funded and not what gets said. So who will have the big “offset” birthmark: personnel, the F-35, the new bomber, space, something else?

This is the same air-force that wants to cut capability and spend the money on more housing. Seems like hollow force is the objective not the problem. The airforce would rather lose aircraft then billets.

So how did we get here? This is a pretty good read from the CBO in 1997 predicting the problems we are now facing : http://​www​.cbo​.gov/​f​t​p​d​o​c​s​/​7​5​x​x​/​d​o​c​7​5​3​9​/​9​7​d​o​c​2​9.p

The Problem of the USAF is the need the F35A and the need many of them, more them 1200 to replace is much bigger legacy fleet and they need also the KC-46A to replace there now more them 50 year old tanker fleet and also a Next Gen Bomber to replace is also more than 50 Years old B53 Bomber. The USAF is simple the false place to make Cuts, you can make cuts in the DOD but not in the Force Structure our on the active Force.

The best way to make cuts is to cut Civilian employers and bureaucrats not active Air Units or the Future of our Force. This is not 1992 them the most US Weapons were young and new, today the biggest part of the USAF are older them 25 Years and clear smaller them hi was planned.

The US Military has reduced his active power from more then 2, 5 Million Soldier to a force of 1,4 Million active Soldiers but the bureaucracy and the civilian Sector has become bigger and bigger and the US Military risk now a situation like the Europeans Army’s how have more bureaucrats them bombs.

Then you will cut the DOD you should to cut first bureaucrats, second Civilian employers, third Tricare and fourth the reserves but what you not have to cut are the few remaining weapons programs how can be seen at an invest in the future and this are for the Air force the F35, the KC-46A, and the next gen bomber. For the Navy is the Virginia Class, the R-Ford carrier and the DDG51 the Programs what most be defended at all costs for the Navy, but you can cut the Number of LCS.

What means the USMC and the US Army I think this are not so clear why booth will be not the first line of defense in a realistic war and the USMC have also many dual functions what he not needs. But I think also what every reducing of the USMC and the US Army can have tragic and dangerous consequences like the experience was the US military have made in Korea 1950–51. Simple why the History teaches us what Wars are unpredictable, for example how has predict 1949 the Korea war our 2001 the nine eleven or just for 5 Mounts ago the Libyan War?

I think it is possible to make cuts but to give the Military the command to find 400 Billion our 1000 Billion in cuts before you have any idea what you can cut are simple irresponsible and very stupid.

This are not true, General Schwartz has done is best to defend the F22 but military are powerless against incompetent administrations like the Busch and now the Obama Administration even the defense secretary are powerless against brainless decisions of is president for example Obamas 400 Billion Defence cuts our against brainless decisions how are taken by Congress lawmakers for example the F136 engine.

it surly existing incompetent military but the most incompetent military decisions are taken by politics and no military persons and this are a simple fact.

Maybe you have access to different sources. In 2009, he stated that no more than 187 Raptors will be needed as China and Russia are decades behind the US as far as Stealth technology is concerned, but guess what: in 2020 1500 plus J-20s will have the few hundred F-35s we ever will field for breakfast. There was an alternative to the F-35: a much larger force of F-22s of about 500 airplanes combined with UCAS and new 4.5 generation fighters. And I suspect that General Schwartz actively suppressed any altenative views to the F-35.

We shouldn’t shrink the force structure at all. Cut excess overseas bases but keep the total number of personnel and aircraft and ensure they aren’t stretched to the limit.

I can be false but as far as I know Mr. Gates was the main enemy of the F22 and Obama has minimum accepted his opinion . Schwartz has call several times for a fleet of 243 F22 before he accepted what this was impossible to do against Gates sake. Them i am wrong you can correct me happy.

I also think what to kill the F22 in favor of the F35 was one of the biggest mistakes of Gates but one the other hand i can also understand Gates plan. Gates wanted to make the F35 without alternative but he has fail with this Plan also with is plan to defend the DOD from irresponsible defence cuts with his efficiency plan and self mad cuts.I think what Gates is a tragic person how was used by Obama to get deep defence cuts without massive opposition and later betrayal by him with his call for 400 Billion more cuts. Now the USA will possible lose is both 5 Generations fighters why Gates plan to prevent deep cuts has failed.

As an AF man, I detest cuts to the most important service branch, but 200mil per plane is abhorent.

ohhh baby! i luv it when you call me big pop — puh
http://​www​.candacepert​.com http://​www​.soundstrue​.com/​a​u​t​h​o​r​s​/​R​i​c​k​_​H​a​n​s​on/

and ‘my’ money on my mind
in a club sippin’ on hennessy

I wonder why they dont buy up to 20 squadrons of F-22s? Isn’t that about 480 planes at 24 planes a squadron? And then have some extras in the production line for replacements when some planes aren’t mission ready. A force of about 500 planes. Then reduce the F-35A purchases by the same amount. Keep both plane production lines open. And then augment the fighter force with armed stealth UAVs that could fly ahead of the manned fighters and fire first with BVR air to air or air to ground missiles.

Correction: Gordon England was the F-22’s chief enemy. He fed his boss (Gates) a line of bull$hit and Gates chugged it down without a thought.

The F-22 is the most tragic inept weapon system ever. Horrible reliability, impossible to modernize, unaffordable sustainment costs, and massive corrosion issues. Unfortunately the Air Force adopted it’s continued failed acquisition practices of looking the other way and ignoring cost, schedule, and performance shortfalls of the F-22 onto the F-35 program thus dooming three services air forces.

Over 20 years to develop and still incapable of combat, the existing F-22 fleet should be put in the boneyard…NOW.

That and an insane obsession with the F-35 Just So Farcical, Brewster Buffalo II means that the USAF will become just a nice tanker/logistics force. Great going sir. Yet wasn’t it this general that stated it is time to move on from the F-22?

Thank you comrade for your opinion. Consider this quote “The F-22 was designed to break stiff enemy air defenses long into the future. F-22 systems have truly no peer in lethality. The F-22 uses extreme altitude, high speed, high quality stealth, and leading edge sensors to kill and survive on its own terms.” Source: http://​www​.​f​-16​.net/​n​e​w​s​_​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​3​3​7​0​.​h​tml and @E_L_P (below)

Good Evening Folks,

While we all share General Schwartz’s concern, the fact is that it all over. Nobody is talking about an operational F-35A before 2020, and that is everything goes right and the total number will not exceed 2000 planes.

The USAF has at least ten years of no new manned aircraft. Meanwhile the UAV will start filling its hangers. The Army has shown that enlisted UAV crews can perform as good as or better then recycled fighter jocks and for a lot less money. The unseen loser here of course will be the airlines industry who has since 1948 used the USAF as it primary training for new airline pilots. Having to train all its pilots from scratch will really increase the cost of doing business for the airline industry

The B-3 isn’t even going to be considered until after 2020, have 20 years for design, prototypes, fly offs, contracts, production problems, no body can reasonability expect an new bomber until 2040.

Meanwhile the problems with the grounded F-22 are growing. Predictions are that the F-22 will be down for at least a couple of years. That is Congress will spend the money to repair the F-22 fleet, the amount as can be expected will be in the Billions of dollars.

Meanwhile the Army is fighting to gain control over its fixed wing fire support and combat logistics for ground troops that in gave up to the Air Force in the 1960’s.

Questions being asked in Congress, air superiority against who? Currently India seems to be closest to building an operational generation 4.5 fighter then any body else and their expected dat is 2020. Russia and China are not far enough along the process to even speculate on a time when they will have a generation 4.5 or 5 aircraft operational.

An analogy might be with the Coast artillery at the ending of WW II. The disappearing 12″-14″ and 16″ costal artillery rifles were the most elegant and technology advanced large bore cannon ever made. The US Army had a huge investment in Costal Artillery but by 1945 it was all gone. The manned combat fixed wing aircraft is on the same path.

What’s the Air Force to do, well that what we pay general Schwartz to determine. Two thing for certain the over all mission statement will radically change and the active personal will decline.

Byron Skinner

Of the four branches the air force is LEAST important, maybe on par with the Coast Guard

An additional way to battle the cuts would be to halt the pork that get packed into defense spending.

NASA has a similar problem with congress telling them to buy a less effective rocket so that they could arrange for contracts to benefit their districts

You old Bastard!!!! Take your Air Force ass and go to work for Lockheed Marting. They have lied to the American People for years just as you have. You are a Bastard!!!!

Schwartz is working for Lockheed Martin.… We do not need a platform that has a Cost of $160,000,000.00 Each times 2600… plus 2 Trillion in sustanment cost. A worthless platform with NO Capabiity. We have enough Stand-Off Weapons, we need a High PK Rate Air-AIr Missile. NOT A WORTHLESS plafrom that has no capability to communicate with any Legacy or even the F-22. Schwartz is SICK and needs to be FIRED.… and sent to Lockheed Martin to shovel Shit for the rest of his Natural Life.

F-22, F-35 and B-2 Need to be Retired and their Programs Terminated!!! Google SA-21. The F-117 has been in the Boneyard for over 4 years now. WHY Because stealth is DEAD. Any Platform that has an Afterbuner and Open Intakes is worthless and CAN BE SEEN and SHOT DOWN!! NO ONE At the Pentagon has the Balls to stop this stupid spending. The reason why bush baby left the chase on UBL was to allow these Integrators to RAPE the DOD. If we would have found and destoryed UBL when this begin most of these platforms and spending would have stopped. The Air Force, bush and wall street wanted the money!!! That is what this is all about.

JSF advocates — The F-35 is unaffordable. It is a technological kluge that will be less effective than aeroplanes it replaces. And it will increase the combat losses etc. The unit cost will ultimately be much higher to maintain. In 2001, the Pentagon had planned to buy 2,866 aircraft for $226.5 billion — $79 million per airplane. It was in 2007 that the expense increased and the quantity went down; resulting in the current — $122 million — unit cost.

JSF advocates — The program will have to admit to another increase. Gates and his Deputy Secretary, William Lynn, have re-convened a “Joint Estimating Team” (JET) to reassess F-35 cost and schedule. In 2008, while a part of the Bush administration, Gates basically, very badly ignored the Team’s recommendations, but the new JET is about to reconfirm them: the F-35 program will cost up to $15 billion more, and it will be delivered about two years late.

Those findings address only the known problems; there’s a huge iceberg floating just under the surface. With F-35 flight testing barely three percent complete, new problems — and new costs — are sure to emerge. Worse, only 17 percent of the aircraft’s characteristics will be validated by flight testing by the time the Pentagon has signed contracts for more than 500 aircraft. Operational squadron pilots will have the thrill of discovering the remaining problems, in training or in combat. No one should be surprised if the final F-35 total program unit cost reaches $200 million per aircraft after all the fixes are paid for.

Really????? LEAST important? Have you lost your mind or are you a civilian who has no clue how wars are fought and WON? The Air Force mans our weapons of mass destruction and is actually the first in and the last to leave in any war. Who do you think clears the opposition troops before ours are sent in on the ground? Who does the majority of the recon for all of our military troops? Navy and Air Force planes are the most important tool in our arcenal. The Coast Guard is the number one tool in protecting our borders at the coast. There is no LEAST important when it comes to our military. Get a clue before you spout off at the mouth numbskull?

You aren’t a mathmetician either bigRick. Of the four branches there are actually five. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

JSF advocates — As a fighter, the F-35 depends on a technological pipe dream. Having failed to develop in the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970s an effective (and reliable) radar-based technology to shoot down enemy (not friendly) aircraft “beyond visual range,” the Air Force is trying yet again with the F-35, like the F-22 before it. Both have the added development of “stealth” (less detectability against some radars at some angles), but that new “high tech” feature and the long range radar have imposed design penalties that compromised the aircraft with not just high cost but also weight, drag, complexity, and vulnerabilities. The few times this technology has been tried in real air combat in the past decade, it has been successful less than half the time, and that has been against incompetent and/or primitively equipped pilots from Iraq and Serbia.

JSF advocates — Again this a very serious problem for the JSF, with an aircraft that has very piitiful limited missile payload, single engine and no long range endurance with huge fuel flow very inefficient and no loiter time, no acceleration (at Mach 1.6, is absolutely very sluggish), low power short to medium range AESA radars and sensors. Only relying on EWSP jammers, BVR and cruise missiles as stand off while flying straight and level of presents of guns or missiles by forcing the aircraft with very gentle manoeuvres. YOU’LL BE A DEAD DUCK. The characteristics of its capabilities will show the JSF will be inferior to the Russians/Chinese fighters, SAMs and AAAs.

JSF advocates — If the latest iteration of “beyond visual range” turns out to be yet another chimera, the F-35 will have to operate as a close-in dogfighter, but in that regime it is a disaster. If one accepts every aerodynamic promise Lockheed currently makes for it, the F-35 will be overweight and underpowered. At 49,500 lb in air-to-air take-off weight with an engine rated at 42,000 lb of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in thrust-to-weight and acceleration for a new fighter. In fact, at that weight and with just 460 square feet of wing area for the Air Force and Marine Corps versions, the F-35’s small wings will be loaded with 108 lb for every square foot, one third worse than the F-16A. (Wings that are large relative to weight are crucial for maneuvering and surviving in combat.) The F-35 is, in fact, considerably less manoeurable than the appallingly vulnerable F-105 “Lead Sled,” a fighter that proved helpless in dogfights against MiGs over North Vietnam. (A chilling note: most of the Air Force’s fleet of F-105s was lost in four years of bombing; one hundred pilots were lost in just six months.)

JSF advocates — Nor is the F-35 a first class bomber for all that cost: in its stealthy mode it carries only a 4,000 pound payload, one third the 12,000 pounds carried by the “Lead Sled.”

F-35 JSF = F-105 Thunderchief

As a “close air support” ground-attack aircraft to help US troops engaged in combat, the F-35 is too fast to identify the targets it is shooting at; too delicate and flammable to withstand ground fire, and too short-legged to loiter usefully over embattled US ground units for sustained periods. It is a giant step backward from the current A-10. It is time to start climbing out of the F-35 hole and cancel the very pittiful program altogether.

JSF advocates — In the almost certain event that the F-35 is found by uncompromised, realistic testing to be an unaffordable loser, there are viable alternatives. If an active consensus develops to reverse the current aging and shrinking of the existing tactical aviation inventory (as opposed to today’s silent conspiracy encouraging those trends to worsen), a short term, affordable fix to restore combat adequacy is needed: Such as open up F-22 to export to our closest allies as well. Keep on producing F-22 at minimum sustaining rates. Sustain and keep production lines open for F-15s and F-16s ( F-16s for smaller European, South American and Middle East nations only, because of the single engine and vast country size). Also extend the life of the A-10 fleet, for the part of the inventory that most urgently needs immediate expansion, the A-10 and the close support mission, hundreds of airframes now still sitting in the “boneyard” can and should be refurbished — at extraordinarily modest cost.

Guest, congrats…think you are spot on. Hope Norty and Panetta get this msg. We repeated the McNamara error with the F111 by taking “multi-role” too far. The F35 buy will sink the AF if it continues w/o adjustment. We should look at reducing the total F35 buy by half, buy a few more F15Es, a few more “upgraded” F22 for the AF, eliminate the redundant USMC fixed wing force structure and accept a smaller AF/Navy force structure and focus on technology for 6 &7 gen aerospace platforms. We will do none of this due to Service politics. When the budget hammer falls, the DOD will likely do the same “salami slicing” as the BUR…and leave our military capability significantly reduced to fighting COIN, nation building and disaster relief.

If Stealth is dead, then why are the Russians and Chinese bothering to spend billions on their own programs???
I see continual references to the F-35 and F-105, generated by Air Power Australia’s sensationalistic journalism. The comparison is ridiculous (have you actually SEEN a F-105?????). The fact is that wing loading is not the be-all end-all of manoeuverability. The F-105, F-35 and F-16 are all pretty similar there. The key is thrust-to-weight. And yes, the F-35 thrust-to-weight isn’t like the F-22 or later F-16 Blocks. Having flown several of our modern fighters, I can honestly say though that I’d rather be in an F-35 over any Legacy aircraft we have, including the Super Hornet, against current and future enemy aircraft or systems. With high off boresight missiles and cueing, the traditional dogfight is pretty much over anyway…I’d rather have the capabilities to avoid that visual merge in the first place, which only the F-35 posesses.
You can beat up the F-35 on cost, schedule, oversight, etc, but the capabilities it possesses make it an excellent all round fighter/ISR asset for the Allied Air Forces in the future.

Thanks to MWA & Guest. They are well informed and offer reasoned, cogent posts. Am very impressed that VF 143 PukingDog01 has managed to eclipse Bywrong as the leading tumbleweed philitine on this site; both are mildly entertaining though overly emotional, poorly briefed and treading near irrationality.

Regarding your statement that the F-22 problems are growing… see below on the F-15s. Maybe we should have gotten rid of them too? Instead of just fixing the problems and getting them back in the air? “It will cost billions to fix” the oxygen systems on the F-22s? Where’s your source?

“In November 2007, the Air Force grounded all F-15 fighters after one of the planes broke apart in flight and crashed.

The planes were not allowed back in the air until March 2008, said Major Chad Steffey.”

US grounds fleet of F-22 fighter jets, indefinitely
(AFP) – Jun 24, 2011 http://​www​.google​.com/​h​o​s​t​e​d​n​e​w​s​/​a​f​p​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​A​Leq

“Guest” your Boeing badge is showing

VF 143 Pucken Dog 01. You’re an idiot and have no clue what you’re talking about regarding stealth technology, the F-35, and pretty much everything else you spouted from your imbecile mouth.

What a joke ~ Gen Schwartz, for your information, the force is all ready hollow. “Do more with less” done did that for the past 20 plus years. We need new leadership phylosopy at all levels.

Kay, methinks his passport is Australian. Listen to Guest’s friend Pierre Sprey on internet interviews and he comes across as intelligent…but dated. He claims, like Guest, that BVR won’t be fought due to concern of hitting friends. It didn’t occur to him that returning F-22/F-35 will be near-invisible on AESA radar while non-stealthy or moderate stealth jets like J-20 and PakFA will stick out like sore thumbs. Early on, the mantra will be if you can see it coming at you, shoot it.

Of course Sprey also touts A-10s that won’t survive long in initial conflict against radar and other air defenses anymore than Russian Su-25s did in Georgia. Yet close support and SEAD remains essential and F-35s will have sufficient stealth, survivability, and targeting capability due to EO/DAS, higher altitude, and EW.

The Air Force had better reinvent itself. The F-22/F-35 is the last manned fighter. The B3 will go the way of the B70, if it gets that far. Manned long range bombers will be replaced by a mix of conventially armed ICBM and UAV’s. The new treaty will cost 150 ICBMs and a base.

What is it exactly the AF does that Navy aviation and SLBM + cruse can’t do.

Heavy Lift, space and cyber space.

That’s the future.

Sn0w C10ud

In our current economic climate, where we owe so much to China and other creditors, and are cutting the military budget drastically, we are setting ourselves up to to be unable to defend our country from foreign aggressors. When we cut the military budget, cut back on benefits and pay raises (1.6% pay raise in 2012 after two years of NO increase to match inflation), maintaining a strong and able military is much harder. The only thing standing between us and a takeover by a “peaceful” Middle Eastern religion or standing in bread lines as a bankrupt Chinese protectorate is our military. Congress and the White House sure as **** aren’t going to hit the front lines to defend us!!!!!

Wait, so does this mean they will be retiring the B-1B Lancer? *happy dance*

..what? I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking.

All, after reading all your post, most just call for an end to all programs with no possible alternative. That is not an option, something needs to be done. Maybe keeping our F15, F16 and A10 fleet is not a bad Idea. But I would most definitely be pursing new technologies. I would only negotiate for 48 new JSF jets at one time enough to man two squadrons. The contractor that can produce the best product and meet timelines would get the contract with a caveat that if their aircraft is a solidly and meets the specifications then an additional contract would be awarded and so on and so forth until the we reach 20 squadrons 480 aircraft, then I would start investing in newer technologies, this would happen in 10 year intervals. I would contract to build new F15, F16, and A10 until we can stabilize production so we can phase out out oldest aircraft and I don’t mean type but by production year. This same concept should be embraced for our Tankers and Bombers fleets.

This all sounds like the post Vietnam Carter years.We need another Reagan

Bring em all home.

Just an interesting aside, superraptor, then Cadet Fourth Class Schwartz and I [among others] had this exact same discussion in Mitchell Hall at the Academy about the [then outrageous] $15M F-15 being developed going into a fight against the same $ amount [20 airplanes] of $750K F-5 aircraft; it is a classic straw man argument, and as General Kelley [then Commander of AFSC] said, “Quantity has a quality all of its own”. Can a more capable aircraft handle a kill ratio of 15 or 20 to 1? All hypothetical until someone starts lobbing missiles.

First, lets get the facts straight. The problem isn’t with the civilian employees. They are stretched very thin as it is. Who do you think performs all the depot maintenance on the aircraft and engines. Who keeps the logistics trail manageable especially with all these multiple and never ending deployments. look at all the excess waste like canceling the F-22 when the F-135 now costs more the the F-22 due to program bureaucracy at the top of the food chain. Look at all the Czars that the president has that make over 6 figures, look at all the staffers that Mrs president has that no other first lady’s have had. look at all the vacations that the CIC has taken since elected, Who gave all those billions to the banks and the auto industry when the country said “No”. Who did not act on the rising fuel prices that rolled us back into a recession as he should have. Who is failing to control illegal entry into our country that is amassing billions a year that we have to pay out to people that don’t pay taxes and steel american jobs. Look at the real problem before u charge DOD civilians with being a burden to the economy.….

The leadership is one of the big problems that I see in the Air Force today, They always talk about core values but when it comes to the leadership they are the ones breaking all of the rules. I worked for security forces for 7 years and the leadership had a hands of policy for leaders and their spouses for any infractions that occurred on base. to include DUI’s, running stop signs next to schools, speeding, busting through safety cordons and saying ” Do you know who I am”? . I even know of a senior MSgt that sexted a picture of his penis to a junior enlisted person after being asked to stop and got away with it. These are just a few incedences that I saw at one Base. How many other high ranking individuals have been fired or gone to jail or even investigated in the last 10 years for incompetence or illegal acts? I havent even mentioned the problems with the F-22/F-35, the new tanker or bomber. was’nt it the procurement secretary that went to jail over the new tanker? This sure is’nt the same Air Force that I used to love. Ive served for 30 years and its really sad to see what is happening to the Air Force.

We’re already building better and more advanced F-16’s and F-15’s for foreign countries. Imagine that. whats wrong with buying very modern and highly capable new Vipers and
Eagles. Maybe even the new Super Hornet. When it comes down to it, we already build the worlds best fighters that are not obsolete yet and can be “Blocked” up to take on any future task. I’m sure the cost would benefit our country and keep us from becoming hollow. Guess what, we wouldn’t have to wait till 2016 or 2018 for a new F-35 that hasn’t yet showed its colors and may not perform. Close in, I’m betting on the F-16. Long range, the new F-15 in more than a match.

As a former Active Duty and also an Air National Guardsman, each is vital, so cuts should be balanced—when on active we spend much more time planning for major conflicts and in retrospect, that money would have been better spent on boosting the reserves and guard, which are very diverse in their experiences since they wear dual hats. Guard costs much less to maintain a vital Air Force, and bears a large portion of the ops tempo…take it from me—there’s vitually no difference except the age old stereotypes that I quickly discovered were just that—the Guard has some dynamic experienced and highly versatile Airman that can be a huge savings and boost the total force concept. Moral of the story—more Air Guard, less Active Force, more drones, more F-22’s and enhanced refuelers. Also, like others…less political $$ going to contractors.

I agree whoe heartedly with your comments of Gen Swartz. Most important is the coming darkness of finances for ALL military Services, coupled with the commitment of a world-wide nature, as impossible to maintain! Drastic cutbacks must include drastic cutbacks of International commitment as well, or it will become a HALLOW FORCE.…..Inflight refueling, and global capability, of our aircraft allows us to retrench closer to the mainland called USA, rather than throughout the world as it is now.…

We’ve come a lonnnng way from being a lean, mean fighting machine…in most of the services (exception to the Marines). We’ve not been “lean” since the Korean War. We’re so damn PC it’s pathetic, and it’s affected the total cost of the services’ infrastructure, and not only the Air Force’s. We’re totally a mercenary outfit (1976), with mercenary leaders who eventually go to work for the military industrial complex, just as Ike warned. We’re hosed folks!. This can’t be fixed because the system has fought against a warriors ONLY requirement in the services. We’ve bolloxed up the entire force structure, the sustainment of man and materiel, and we’ve made it “corporate”. WTF can become of it now? <— purely rhetorical.

You misunderstand me I had just put priority to defend the core capabilities of the US Military. My opinion is what the DOD cannot afford any cut more but them the DOD must cut why an incompetent leader like Obama call for what they must put priorities to defend the things what he need at must and this are weapons and active personal.

And Bureaucrats is the only kind of employers how have the DOD to much from and it is also true what Private Firms how are the beneficiary of the outsourcing of Services are one of the reasons why the DOD spent so much. For Example many Employers of Food suppliers in Iraq have earned a lot more money them the active US Soldiers in Iraq. An employer of a Private Security Firms had got for example five times more money for is service them a regular soldier of the US Army our USMC in combat. This is the reason why I suspect a lot of wasteful spending in the civilian branch of the DOD.

And it is also true what Tricare costs have grown so rapidly what a fix or an outsourcing (as a separated Budget) of this is needed to maintain the purchasing power of the DOD. The first priority of the DOD must be the maintain of a strong military (and for this are new Weapons necessary) and not the maintain of welfare and jobs as the cost to state because why this is no different to Obamas wasteful progressive acts like the stimulus packed out the saving of the car industries on state cost.

To make it clear I’m against every defense and I’m also agree with your arguments and what you said but cuts are coming and the DOD must put priorities to survive this irresponsible cuts ho are planned by Obama and is Socialism like Barney Frank.

Why buy a FAR less capable aircraft over-budget, over-schedule and underwhelms when you have already flying and deployable F-22 just ready for a new and improved version with more capability?

Commonality amongst services and allies is a worthwhile goal but when you find yourself in a really deep hole, the first step to getting out is to stop digging, i.e. the USAF should get out of the JSF and re-focus on the F-22 and a new and true multi-mission FB-22 for Strike, SEAD/DEAD, Tactical Nuclear Deterrence, etc…

Byron, after “flying” a UAV for 3 years I can tell you that they are not the wave of the future for aerial combat, they will fill a niche role… the UAV is basically the BVR missile of the early 1960’s — over-hyped by the big aerospace companies that it was the end of everything before it… basically the contractors looked at everything we were doing in the first decade of the 2000’s and decided that convincing the DoD that all they would be involved in the future would be protracted 4GW in uncontested airspace was the way to sell a bunch of equipment to them, I can tell you that UAVs in reality are REALLY expensive when you take in account everything (airframe, sensors, weapons, ground control stations, BLOS and LOS link architecture and specialized MX. Also, the main strength of a UAV is it’s loiter time, so your flight operations cost essentially triple with manpower requirements and most of those missions aren’t effective but your compelled to fly them that long because why did you get a UAV in the first place? UAVs also have an inherent weakness of never being truly stealthy as they have an active data link(s) to their ground control station or you’re just going to have to trust HAL to do the mission on his own and shut down the links for EMCON… the links are also highly susceptible to jamming by a sophisticated opponent like, oh say China, Russia, or one of their cronies…

Also, I will take issue with your comment that it doesn’t take a trained pilot to operate an aircraft, you are right but you need to be a trained pilot to fly one WELL and to fly one SAFELY around other aircraft, especially when the airspace gets crowed, still has commercial/civilian traffic, has numerous operational restrictions, etc… enlisted can be GREAT pilots, but first they must be trained as pilots…

Trust no one completely, be skeptical of everything and proceed cautiously as any trying to sell you something is withholding something…

AF chief warns service mustn’t become ‘hollow force’

Go back and look at what happened to the military and its industrial base when Jimmy boy and the DemocRATS cut the budget. We had equipment in all services that were broke because of the shortage of parts caused by the DemocRATS. Remember the movie Red Dawn, well under Jimmy it could have happened since we spent most of our time trying to fix and make do with part shortages. The reason for the part shortages was when he cut the budget, where we had 6 or 7 companies that supplied the parts now went down to 1 or 2 and now you had long lead times because the 1 or 2 could not keep up with the demand where when we had 6 or 7 we had the parts.

If we let them Hallow the budget to decrease the deficit we will be in big trouble. Will they ever learn, guess the old story is true, cannot teach DemocRATS new tricks

MWA and JSF advocates — The traditional dogfight is pretty much not over. With high off boresight missiles and cueing is a great thing too, but how’s the JSF going to survive without manoeuvrability, limited missile payload, single engine and no long range endurance with huge fuel flow very inefficient and no loiter time, no acceleration, low power short to medium range AESA radars and sensors.

The fact is that surviavability is the most important aspect, this is the reason you need to have manoeuvrability, acceleration, long range endurance, bigger missile payload, as well as AESA radars and sensors to ability to survive. Again if you don’t have them, you’ll be a dead duck. The comparison of the F-35 to F-105 isn’t ridiculous. Well its true what Pierre Sprey, GAO, APA, and other think tanks say the JSF is equivalent to the F-105 etc. In my opinion I’d rather have a large airframe with high capability to do the job much better than just small airframes. I didn’t say stealth is dead, absolutely not ruling stealth out, what I meant is for the USAF to have both 4th and 5th Generation F-22s and F-15s to complement with each other for air superiority and strike missions, as well as F-16s to keep too.

Joe — No, no, nothing’s wrong with buying very modern and highly capable new Vipers and Eagles. They deserve to be kept in production line beyond 2012 for new and existing customers to purchase those aircraft. The JSF’s the one that’s in the wrong. I never liked the F-35, I’m not a fan of it and certainly I’m not a JSF supporter. The design airframe on the JSF looks like a overweight baby seal, which you can’t have an aeroplane that is way too fat with too much cross section, tiny wings, limited payload, no endurance, no acceleration etc. You can compare the JSF to the F-4 Phantom, the Phantom looks really mean, a tough beast and a greatest fighter, the JSF again looks ugly, too overweight, weak and will be vulnerable to Russian/Chinese fighters etc. Sleek designs look really beautiful and they are so much better to have.

MWA and JSF advocates — I very strongly argue that the F-35 is an very expensive mistake for any Air Forces, Navy and Marines. The F-35 is unsuitable for any military operations and marks an unfortunate shift in any foreign policy toward single-mindedly backing the U.S. military. Do you or any of your predecessors or your colleagues from Lockheed Martin call that US$1.3 trillion a cheap price tag?????? Very clear answer is no. The price for that plane won’t reduce, it’ll keep climbing further and further, it’ll be unbelievably expensive to maintain and keep in the air. Its the most super complicated aeroplane.

The capabilities of the F-35 does not posses by making it an excellent all round fighter/ISR asset for the Allied Air Forces in the future.

MWA and JSF advocates — The JSF is truly a useless warplane. It will ruin ANY Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp that is replacing the entire legacy aircraft and degrading the air power further. The pilots will fly worse, they get less training, which is the most important role to train any pilots, they’ll be far less pilots is because the whole force will have to shrink. You just having a show piece air force that they can’t do anything.

MWA and JSF advocates — You’re going to make all the air power ineffective in the coming years. Do you have any idea that you’re not taking seriously enough on safety precautions?????? Single engine is too vulnerable a.k.a not surviavable for land and overwater operations. When it fails it’ll make all the aircrews going to feel horrified, it’ll fly like a glider, the airspeed will drop quick, then it’ll drop like a stone anywhere behind the enemy lines, in the water or anywhere. The airframe is too thinned skinned, which means that the 22mm bullet from the rifle or any gun fire can very easily penetrate the JSF’s fuselage and engine that can cause to catch on fire, with fuel circulating around the turbofan engine. By dropping safety precautions claiming that is not needed, which is fine. “Explain that JSF advocates”. I’m telling you the JSF needs to be CANCELLED right away.

Joe — I strongly agree that you and your team are already build the worlds best fighters that are not obsolete, despite the F-15s and F-16s airframe design being the late 1960s and early 1970s, but they are still truly tough, well designed and best of the best warplanes ever developed. Yet they can be “Blocked” up to take on any future task.

Indeed long range is the most needed aspect. I recommend the F-15, F-16 and F-22 are the top dream machines for all air forces defence needs.

F-15 is the most effective, offers numerous advantages including higher top speed, longer range, firepower with formidable punch, a much greater missile payload and cost effective.

We AF have been hollow for a bit. The people who work on these machines do not stay with the same machines. I have seen c-130 guys working on F-16’s in a combat area. There is no retraining. There is no experence. Will they allow us to bring back a code so our workers can stay with one machine so we can get some experence back instead of sending requests to enginers all the time?

What a lot of Americans and politicians don’t seem to understand, we are in the high tech, bombers are a thing of the past. We need to keep a few, not squadrons. The generals and the people who are in the military , war is their life! That is the reason we have to look at the facts instead of a rerun of Nam. It took a President with guts to stop the war in the past, if it had been left up to the military and the people getting rich from the war we would be in Nam today! We are not protecting America, the countries we attack are not a threat. The sham is removing dictators so the one world order can be ushered in. Henry Kissinger made the statement that America is keeping the new world order from being ushered in because of the constitution and the 2nd admen. That is why President Obama is trying as we speak to put American under the control of the UN and the UN gun Ban! The senate has to ratify the treaty and you will lose your freedom. It is not foreign countries we have to fear, it is the people we elected to protect the constitution and this nation.

It’s probably awesome in the simulator. Not so awesome when they’re grounded collecting dust like all of them are now, having severe computer issues flying between time zones, having the fly-by-wire go nuts and bin the plane, or generally giving you a feeling you can’t rely on them in a time of need.

With full respect to AF CoS Gen. Shwartz and the dangerously critical issues he is outlining above as reported in this article, the very definition of ‘staying the course’ on USAF’s TACAIR recapitalization plan (albeit on a reduced scale), will almost certainly deliver a hollow force. That is, staying-the-course on the soon to be much reduced scale and delayed F-35 acquisition model will by default actually hollow the force ahead of schedule and indeed ‘accelerate the illusion’, as the Gen. puts it, of Global deterrence and National strategy capabilities. I just can’t see how this official plan therefore can have it both ways. Of course the USAF requires a recapitalization strategy that doesn’t hollow the force… but no, given the near-term austere budget environments the continued plan (note: significantly reduced in scale) is simply unsustainable in maintaining anywhere close to the National strategy.

Perfect Bdumbs.….you and the gate guard can build the 6th Generation weapon systems…genius!
More drones?? for what?? More COIN and never ending, missionless nation building? Spend big bucks on Drones that are only useful in benign conflicts…what happens if we really have to fight?
More ANG?? How about a small high tech, elite active and an even smaller ANG?

If things don’t change it’s going to be like the 70’s when I was at DM in Tucson we had less then two flyable Squadrons out of six at one point. Yes under Carter again.

What only fools and hippies are thinking more likely. The B-1B is a key asset of a bomber force until we get a new bomber in production.

how ’bout using spellcheck before you rant about not having enough weapon “systems”.

Usetobe — Thank you for making the case. Lets hope that Norty, Panetta, bureaucrats and generals get this message. “Fingers crossed”. What we should do is, we must try our very best to stop the production of this very troublesome JSF program. And look at some other alternatives. Such as.

1. Increase the F-15 production line beyond 2012, to provide new and existing customers to purchase additional aircraft. And increase the F-16 production line for smaller European, South American, and Middle East nations to access the aircraft.

2. Re-open the F-22 production line and sell it to US Allies. Keep on producing F-22 at minimum sustaining rates. Uplift the export ban to allow the US Allied nations to access the Raptor.

” My argument is refusing to sell the F-22 Raptor to allies is an insult that will also harm American interests, by scrapping the production and closing American options. Which was a very foolish mistake for the US law, Congress and Pentagon had done back in 1998.

3. Cancel the JSF program altogether.

Agree with you there. It was like that all through the Jimmy Boys administration. Heck he even downsized Air Force 1

Other Guest and JSF Advocates — For you, your predecessors and your colleagues from Lockheed Martin to make a statement about the F-35s will have sufficient stealth, survivability, and targeting capability due to EO/DAS, higher altitude, and EW, its the most laughable thing I ever heard, certainly not true and can never be true. Its absolutely ridiculous to claim the JSF has those features. The JSF is totally incapable and is 50 times worse. If you have a problem with it, I suggest that you take it up to the APA, GAO or other think tanks to ask and explain the features, capabilities and characteristics the JSF doesn’t have. You see if I see the JSF coming at me. I’ll certainly shoot down the ROTTEN thing down, by scrapping the entire JSF project and put in the FIRE and burn the rotten JSF for good, its as simple as that. The design airframe on the JSF looks like a “OVERWEIGHT BABY SEAL”, which “you can’t have an aeroplane that is way TOO FAT with too much cross section, tiny wings, limited payload, no endurance, no acceleration etc”.

Other Guest and JSF advocates — I’m telling YOU right now the JSF is a “terrible turkey”. You’re putting the pilots in the vulnerable position from when they transfer from Legacy Fighter Fleet to the F-35. The aircrews will be horrified when they aspect the engine failure, it’ll drop like a stone anywhere behind the enemy lines or in the water. They are going to find the JSF is NO better than the Legacy Fighters and the F-22 with limited payload, no endurance, no acceleration etc.

Other Guest and JSF Advocates — There Are NO Alternatives to the F-22 Raptor, such as the F-35.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is NOT a Substitute for the F-22 Raptor

The widely held view in Western bureaucratic circles, that the F-22 and F-35 are interchangeable aircraft, is not true and can never be true. The F-22 provides close to three times the capability of the F-35 at a similar unit procurement cost. The F-35 lacks the performance of the F-22, the survivability of the F-22, the firepower of the F-22, and the deployability of the F-22. The limitations of the F-35 are inherent in its basic design and cannot be fixed by design modifications or upgrades. Poorly defined basic specifications for the F-35 and inadequate prototyping have resulted in an expensive aircraft which cannot be used in combat situations other than benign, requires support by a lot of F-22 Raptors and aerial tankers, and requires long concrete runways for overseas deployments.

to make the USAF better, just retain the same of fighter wing, because it is the one will be in the front line! mothball all legacy aircraft its too expensive to maintained old aircraft its airframe been past its operation life! For example for every 30 F-35’s bought, mothball 100 units of all old fighter. For the air force, buy 1700 fighter, for the marine it must have 500 & the navy 500 also! Reduce airlift aircraft to 280 units, retire the old one! Buy 120 new bomber. Most of all. reduce bureaucrats in the air force and reduce oversea base, should think more of VTOL aircraft. Most politician are idiot they dont about in the cockpit than ‘kitchen! Air Force should defend only the united states, let other nation fight their own war, if they CAN’ T, then they have no right to be a nation! Lastly increase the number of F-22 to 600, they say if you want peace prepare for war! POLITICIAN ARE IDIOT!

can you just remove the fats, not the muscle. remove the bureaucracy in the pentagon shut down all bases around the world, don’t give foreign aid to other country. Demobilize old aircraft, they are maintenance nightmare


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