Holding the Government Accountable

December 5 Congressional Staff Briefing A-10 Bios

William E. “Smitty” Smith Jr., Lt Col, USAF/ANG (Ret) spent 26 years in the Army, Air Force and Air National Guard (ANG). He flew scout, transport and utility helicopters as a Warrant Officer in the Army for eight years. With the Air Force and ANG he flew the A-10, accumulating more than 3,000 hours, including 128 combat sorties in the Balkans, the second Iraq War and Afghanistan. In Iraq and Afghanistan he served as Squadron Commander.

Pierre Sprey joined Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's "Whiz Kids" in the Pentagon in 1966. There, he joined with the Air Force's brilliant and original tactician, Col. John Boyd and together with Col. Everest Riccioni (U.S. Air Force) they started and carried out the concept design of the F-16 air-to-air fighter, then brought the program to fruition through five years of continuous bureaucratic guerilla warfare. More or less simultaneously, Sprey also headed up the technical side of the Air Force's concept design team for the A-10 close support fighter. Then, against even steeper opposition, he helped implement the A-10's innovative live-fire, prototype fly-off competition and subsequent production. Sprey left the Pentagon in 1971 but continued to consult actively for DOD on the F-16, the A-10, tanks and anti-tank weapons, and realistic operational/live-fire testing of major weapons. During the late 1970s, Colonel Boyd and Sprey, together with a small, group of Pentagon and congressional insiders, started the military reform movement. Attracting considerable attention from young officers, journalists and congressmen, the movement led to establishment of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus and to passage of several military reform bills in the early ’80s. From then until today Sprey has continued to work with reform-minded foundations and journalists—and to write on affordable ways to strengthen the fighting power of American forces.