June 16, 2014
Two Relevant Pieces on the A-10 Controversy
|U.S. Air Force photo of B-1B Lancer by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald|
In the last few days, David Axe’s “War Is Boring” website ran two useful and highly relevant pieces about the A-10 close air support aircraft, Capitol Hill defense-think, and the B-1B bomber—the latter touted by the Air Force as a suitable replacement for the former.
Recent history and a 2007 incident in Afghanistan undermine the Air Force’s case for the B-1B—and against the A-10.
In an impressive piece of reporting, Axe describes a 2007 incident when A-10’s literally saved a large number of ISAF (British) troops from being killed by a B-1B in an unfolding friendly fire incident—which was averted literally at the last second thanks to the operating characteristics of the A-10 and the specialized training of its aircrew. It is an instructive lesson about the continuing need for the A-10.
Find Axe’s insightful article here.
The day before, “War Is Boring” ran a commentary by Pierre Sprey and myself. The piece addresses the recent action by the House Appropriations Committee, conducted in a manner to hold Members unaccountable, to deny funding for retaining the A-10. While adding at least $1.6 billion for preferred hardware programs, the committee could find nothing to support the A-10, and it did so when the morning headlines were revealing the death of five American soldiers in another friendly-fire tragedy—this one carried to fruition by a B-1B bomber. The committee studiously avoided the hypocrisy of its funding numerous big ticket hardware goodies and declaring itself poverty-stricken for the A-10, and it also demonstrated its own purposeful obliviousness to unfolding events directly relevant to the debate at hand—the then-available Washington Post and Fox News revelations that the friendly fire event had occurred and that a B-1B was responsible.
Find this commentary here.
Director, Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at POGO, POGO
At the time of publication Mr. Wheeler's was the director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center For Defense Information at POGO.
The goal of the Straus Military Reform Project is to secure far more effective military forces and much more ethical and professional military and civilian leadership at significantly lower budget levels.
We would like to thank Philip A. Straus Jr. and family for their generous support.