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Two Relevant Pieces on the A-10 Controversy

B-1B Lancer
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.

A U.S. Air Force KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft prepares to refuel an A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft from the 124th Operations Support Flight over Utah Feb. 23, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards/Released)

A U.S. Air Force KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft prepares to refuel an A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft from the 124th Operations Support Flight over Utah Feb. 23, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards/Released)

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

Winslow Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight

By: Winslow Wheeler, Director (2002-2014), Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at 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.

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