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Old 03-23-2008   #21
Ken White
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Default Well, 'cause it has wings on it...

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Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
Hi Ken, also the Air Force already has Global Hawk for their Strategic Stuff so why do they need to control the predator which has a good old Army missile on it. Hellfire-fire and forget

Link to how the Army figured it out a long time ago..enjoy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpFg9JVvyEE

And you damn right that's a Real Army Sergeant hosting the show!!
All those proponents of 'jointness' always forget that consolidation inevitably increases the bureaucratic quotient and promotes a 'one size fits all' approach which means compromises in mission accomplishment in the name of efficiency. No question that centralization increases efficiency -- there is also little doubt that it adversely impacts effectiveness. I'm inclined to opt for cops and forces that are effective more so than efficient -- not that there's much in the world more inefficient than a war anyway...

God knows what'll happen if the Navy buys Global Hawk for the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Mission System. Nobody on E-ring will speaking to anyone else, I reckon...

I guess with that mustache and all that hair, that young MSG was never in the eighty twice...

Thanks for the link.
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Old 03-23-2008   #22
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Ken,

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Whether it should be is another story because Joint Programs with wings seem to have a tendency to come under USAF control -- to the detriment of guys on the ground
Well, I disagree. The purpose is to ensure commonality so the guys on the ground don't have to carry one set of gear to link with Army assets and another set of gear to link with Navy and a third to link with Air Force. Of course, cost containment is also a reason. I also reject the assertion that USAF "control" automatically results in the detriment to the guys on the ground. I see similar statements all the time - statements that are apparently to be taken as objective fact but are really debatable.

And speaking of "control" we need to establish what that means. Control can be any or all of the following:

1. Control over requirements, development and acquisition
2. Administrative control
3. Operational control

Predator has always been intended as a Joint Force commander asset, not exclusively an air component asset. Predator utilization in theater is not up to the "Air Force" - the priorities are set by the joint force commander and, as is the case with all air assets that operate above a certain altitude block, coordinated through the CFACC.

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but I also strongly believe the Army should own and deploy Warrior as it sees fit and you did not add that caveat.
Using our current doctrine, I'm assuming here that by "Army" you really mean the "land component commander" (LCC). I have no problem with that but the CFACC must still be the agency for deconfliction and coordination. For all the same reasons the LCC needs a measure of unity of command over all ground forces be they Army, Marine or Coalition, the air component needs the same over air assets.

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Having experience with close air support with and without an overarching 'joint' air effort, I am in no doubt that the CAS is better without total consolidation and a Theater ATO. No doubt what so ever...
I wonder how long its been since you've had first-hand experience with CAS? I'm guessing not in the past several years - a lot has changed.

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True statement -- it also, as does your opinion, neatlyelides the fact that all those ROVERs may not need a video of an area 200 km away while the boys in blue search for 'strategic' targets; that is no guarantee of coverage when and where needed, merely access to what ever the ACC or JFACC deems important to them at the time. Which may or may not be the pressing concern of the Theater Commander, much less the Ground Component Commander...
Well, rover (the newer versions at least) can also receive the imagery from a manned fighter's targeting pod - indeed from almost any AF platform with a sensor. Can the same be said for Apache or Kiowa's? Again, this is the kind of integration the AF is way ahead of the Army on and is a big area FCS is supposed to address.

And again, the "boys in blue" (by which I assume you mean the CFACC) are not out there executing their own missions willy-nilly, but implementing the joint force commander's intent and the JFC wants coverage of strategic targets too. If the CFACC is not providing adequate support the the CFLCC, then the CFLCC can take the issue up with the JFC who is the decider. The idea the CFACC can or is executing missions contrary to the JFC's wishes, or is going off and doing its own thing to the detriment of the land component is ludicrious, especially if you're talking about predator which is a JFC-owned asset. The vast majority of predators and, indeed, all tactical aircraft, are used to support the ground forces, but the JFC also uses predators for strategic reconnaissance and the Joint special ops commander has some too for their specific missions.

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No question that centralization increases efficiency -- there is also little doubt that it adversely impacts effectiveness.
Not in all or even most cases. Did Goldwater-Nichols adversely impact effectiveness? Centralization often increases effectiveness. Again, what is more effective, a UAV C2 architecture that's common over the whole force, or one where each service develops its own incompatible system? A common standard architecture means better integration across the whole force.

And this doesn't mean that each platform has to be the same. If the Army wants a UAV with greater endurance, or different weapons options, or whatever, that's great. The problems and ineffectiveness creep in when the services want to use proprietary datalink, C2, etc. In other words, centralization is not an either-or concept.
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Old 03-23-2008   #23
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The Air Force developed the Predator and turned it into a capable weapons and ISR platform that is integrated with other weapons systems. Yes the Army has UAV's and I'm sure you put them to good use, as you should. But unless I'm mistaken they are essentially just cameras in the sky.
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For example, can your mortar or arty teams use them to correct fire?
Yes, All of them can from Raven and above, I've done it.

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Can they designate for your other weapons systems?
Some can, to different levels. All can spot designate in some method, and some can laser designate. Keeping it vague here.

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Can your apaches get your video feed to develop SA when they're enroute to your tic?
If they have something similar to Rover installed, they could. All our UAV's can be received in Rover as well as Aircraft.

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And I'm genuinely sorry about your bad predator experience, there really is no excuse for that.
No problem, wasn't you. But it happened more than once, and that's the worst case. I came off harder than I should, I do love the USAF, a USAF F-15E drop ended a bad firefight I was in once.

But the notion you can do COIN from the air with ISR, or even effeciently interdict the enemy, is a myth at the present time.

Case in point, the nation threw every surveillance asset it had, from satellites to aircraft to UAV's on a single stretch of road south of Balad to stop IED activity. Some months later, the program was cancelled because of outright failure.

Anyway, I was cranky posting at 2AM last night. Sorry for the harsh tone, I promise to play nice!
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Last edited by Cavguy; 03-23-2008 at 09:03 PM. Reason: correct Taji to Balad
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Old 03-23-2008   #24
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Default But. But. But - that is not the Cavalry way,

how can that be? He spluttered...
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Old 03-23-2008   #25
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Default On the utility of air to stop IED's

Some quotes from Rick Atkinson's article linked above:

Read the whole thing.

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IED Blitz would focus as many forms of surveillance as possible in a "persistent stare" at a bomb-infested 20-kilometer stretch of Route Tampa, just south of Balad on the road to Baghdad. The blitz would enlist satellites, U-2 spy planes, 14 Mako unmanned aerial vehicles, a pair of larger I-Gnat drones, and the Horned Owl, a Beechcraft turboprop airplane equipped with ground-penetrating radar used to assess whether road shoulders had been disturbed by digging.

Attacks had grown increasingly extravagant, with "daisy-chained" munitions that included as many as 22 artillery shells wired together to explode simultaneously in a 300-yard "kill zone." Intelligence analysts assumed that such ambush sites took hours or even days to prepare. On the basis of past attack patterns, they predicted that 60 IEDs would be planted in 75 days on this short segment of Route Tampa.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs would be snapped as part of a technique called "coherent change detection." Two images of the same scene taken at different times would be compared, pixel by pixel, to spot changes in the landscape -- such as the anomalies caused by an insurgent planting a bomb. Ground convoys could be warned, and, if the reconnaissance was nimble, hunter-killer teams could flush emplacers or triggermen.

The operation, estimated to cost at least $3 million, would be directed from Defense Department offices leased in Fairfax County.
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Blitz began on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2004. So brilliant were the digital color images that analysts could read the brand names on plastic water bottles littering the roadside. They could distinguish an apple from a pomegranate at a fruit stand.

What they could not see was a bomb or a bomber.


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The most disheartening day came on Thursday, Nov. 4. By chance, virtually all surveillance assets -- satellites, U-2s, drones -- happened to be focused simultaneously on one small swatch of Route Tampa. Traffic appeared normal. Two hours later, another sequence of images revealed a scorched crater where a bag of artillery shells triggered by a detonation wire had just killed one American soldier in a truck and severed the leg of another. Dozens of photos showed the burning vehicle veer across the median, and rescue vehicles convene at the site. No images revealed the IED being placed, or the triggerman.

Analysts soon surmised that bomber cells around Balad in late summer had shifted "to a just-in-time device-placement method," as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst put it. Instead of requiring hours or days to survey an ambush site and bury a device, "hasty emplacement" took two hours or less.

Blitz ended on Nov. 15. In 10 weeks, 44 IEDs had detonated or were discovered by ground clearance teams. Asked how many had been detected by aerial surveillance, the Air Force officer said, "To be honest with you, I can't say any of them.

"We had only a 20-kilometer stretch," the officer added. "There are thousands of kilometers in Iraq."
This is why I get nervous anytime someone tells me the tech in FCS or Air power will solve my problems through ROVER or any other gimmick. We focused almost national asset and tech available, plus hundreds of personnel on twenty klicks of road and were unable to stop or identify attacks.
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Old 03-23-2008   #26
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Pull back to the Drop Ship and nuke them all from Orbit. Only way to be sure.

I'll try for something sensible tomorrow, possibly.

Tech gobbledigook just doesn't deliver the goods in COIN and insurgencies. That stretch of Tampa would have been better secured if all the money and talent had been diverted from model aeroplanes with cameras to a couple of good HUMINT teams who could have given proper warning of when the devices were laid, and led to strikes to arrest the insurgent cell commanders, who could then be sweated to spill the beans on their pals, and then reconciled to become stakeholders in a future they could contribute to.

Oops. Couldn't help myself.
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Old 03-23-2008   #27
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Originally Posted by Coldstreamer View Post
Pull back to the Drop Ship and nuke them all from Orbit. Only way to be sure.
I spilled some coffe reading that one.
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Old 03-23-2008   #28
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Cavguy,

To be sure there are limits to aerial ISR, just as any capability has inherent limits. There isn't a silver bullet here and the enemy gets a vote too as they learn our various capabilities and exploit their inherent weaknesses.

The good news is that the AF and Army seem to be trying to put aside the mutual distrust and both are making an effort to work together. Hopefully that continues.

Returning to the original point of this thread for a minute, the Air Force willl have to come to grips with how the UAV fleet fits into the service culturally. As long as UAV's are an ancillary job viewed as a distraction from the "real" job of flying manned aircraft, the service is gonna have problems. Most of these issues were identified almost ten years ago - it's sad that so little has been done to address the UAV cultural problems.

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Pull back to the Drop Ship and nuke them all from Orbit. Only way to be sure.
lol
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Old 03-23-2008   #29
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Default We can disagree...

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Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
...
Well, I disagree. The purpose is to ensure commonality so the guys on the ground don't have to carry one set of gear to link with Army assets and another set of gear to link with Navy and a third to link with Air Force. Of course, cost containment is also a reason....
I totally support commonality; control is another issue.
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...I also reject the assertion that USAF "control" automatically results in the detriment to the guys on the ground....
You may do so and I'll acknowledge it was a generalization and thus hyperbolic in sense. However I would ask (from the admitted and biased standpoint of a grunt) if even the occasional lapse is acceptable.
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...I see similar statements all the time - statements that are apparently to be taken as objective fact but are really debatable.
Any statement can be debated; however, the old saw "where there's smoke..." comes to mind. Perhaps rather than debate it, one should question the provenance.
Quote:
And speaking of "control" we need to establish what that means. Control can be any or all of the following:

1. Control over requirements, development and acquisition
2. Administrative control
3. Operational control

Predator has always been intended as a Joint Force commander asset, not exclusively an air component asset. Predator utilization in theater is not up to the "Air Force" - the priorities are set by the joint force commander and, as is the case with all air assets that operate above a certain altitude block, coordinated through the CFACC.
You apparently have more faith in the total grasp of the situation in a theater on the part of joint force Commander than I do and you undoubtedly have more faith in the CFACC than I do. People err; people with the best intentions in the world err. Combat breeds error.
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Using our current doctrine, I'm assuming here that by "Army" you really mean the "land component commander" (LCC). I have no problem with that but the CFACC must still be the agency for deconfliction and coordination. For all the same reasons the LCC needs a measure of unity of command over all ground forces be they Army, Marine or Coalition, the air component needs the same over air assets.
It may surprise you but I do not disagree with that. Where we probably differ is on where that CFACC Boss should place his priorities. As well on who owns some of those air assets he deconflicts...
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I wonder how long its been since you've had first-hand experience with CAS? I'm guessing not in the past several years - a lot has changed.
In my case, about 38 years, so you're correct -- in my sons case with two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, I suspect he's as current and knowledgeable as anyone having been in tactical command in both theaters and having an attached JFAC and getting support from the Dutch, the RAF and the USAF -- and the random Apache (Brit, Dutch and US) or Kiowa..

Still, I agree that it has changed and most of that change is for the better. That doesn't address the fact that CAS is still not high up the priority list, is it?
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Well, rover (the newer versions at least) can also receive the imagery from a manned fighter's targeting pod - indeed from almost any AF platform with a sensor. Can the same be said for Apache or Kiowa's? Again, this is the kind of integration the AF is way ahead of the Army on and is a big area FCS is supposed to address.
The answer to your question is yes; the response to your statement is -- partly true. Reluctantly so on the part of many in the USAF heirarchy but partly true. Obviously you missed the fact that a lot of FCS technology has been spun out to the field. I'd also point out that since the USAF insists on having a blue suiter serve as JFAC it then becomes incumbent upon the USAF to provide the required support for that mission (vice the USAF desired level thereof) Before you take umbrage, don't -- they're doing it and deserve an attaboy for that.
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And again, the "boys in blue" (by which I assume you mean the CFACC) are not out there executing their own missions willy-nilly, but implementing the joint force commander's intent and the JFC wants coverage of strategic targets too. If the CFACC is not providing adequate support the the CFLCC, then the CFLCC can take the issue up with the JFC who is the decider...
True; a bureaucratic solution that takes time but true.
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...The idea the CFACC can or is executing missions contrary to the JFC's wishes
You may assume the JFC has detailed ATO knowledge. I'd rather not. I doubt in any event they'd go against his wishes.
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...or is going off and doing its own thing to the detriment of the land component is ludicrious, especially if you're talking about predator which is a JFC-owned asset. The vast majority of predators and, indeed, all tactical aircraft, are used to support the ground forces, but the JFC also uses predators for strategic reconnaissance and the Joint special ops commander has some too for their specific missions.
No intent to imply that the CFACC would be doing their own thing in the sense you state; simply pointing out that some 'strategic' missions are of little or no consequence (that is fact and as an Intel guy I'm sure you've seen dry holes in the quest for info) and if the assets are committed to them and some distance away from a ground action, then said assets are of little use to the GFC.

I do not disagree with you about the USAF predators -- had you included Warriors, I'd disagree.
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Not in all or even most cases. Did Goldwater-Nichols adversely impact effectiveness?
To an extent. Limiting the President's military advisor to the Chairman was not a good thing. There are other minor quibbles and a couple of major issues IMO.
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... Centralization often increases effectiveness...
Obviously your experience and mine differ markedly on that score; I've seen a lot of it over 27 years in uniform and another 18 as a DoD civilian and have never seen it increase effectiveness.
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...Again, what is more effective, a UAV C2 architecture that's common over the whole force, or one where each service develops its own incompatible system? A common standard architecture means better integration across the whole force.

And this doesn't mean that each platform has to be the same. If the Army wants a UAV with greater endurance, or different weapons options, or whatever, that's great. The problems and ineffectiveness creep in when the services want to use proprietary datalink, C2, etc. In other words, centralization is not an either-or concept.
I totally agree with all that. However, that's not the issue. Again, control is the issue, not commonality -- nor is who deconflicts the AO above 3000' AGL as opposed to who controls a specific air asset...

(Acknowledging that such deconfliction can amount to de facto if not de jure control; a technique 7th AF and Momyer applied in Viet Nam to bring the Marines to heel... )
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Old 03-23-2008   #30
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Ken,

First of all, thanks for your extended replies. I'll respond to a few points:

First is control as in who "controls" the specific air asset. Take CAS for example. Typically in theater the CFLCC submits prioritized air support requests which the CFACC matches to available assets. For CAS this usually takes one of two forms - the CAS is either prededicated to a specific unit, mission or operation, or the CAS is on ground or airborne alert for anything that might prop up. For dedicated CAS the asset is, for all intents and purposes, controlled by the ground force commander. The aircraft looks at what the ground commander wants it to look at and engages when and where the ground commander wants it to engage. Alert CAS, by contrast, is available for contingencies. Once tasked, that asset is controlled by the ground element. And this isn't just for USAF aircraft, but every aircraft under CFACC authority including our coalition partners, the Navy and the Marines.

So I'm not sure where the issue of "control" is. How would A-10's with Army pilots, for example, be any different from A-10's with Air Force or Spanish or Marine pilots?

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That doesn't address the fact that CAS is still not high up the priority list, is it?
What, exactly, would make CAS "high up on the priority list?" The USAF in particular has put a lot of effort into improving CAS including rapid development of new and smaller bombs, more precision/accuracy, much improved all-weather and night capabilty, the A-10 SLEP and capability upgrade and even modifying "strategic" aircraft like bombers into capable CAS aircraft. What more should the AF be doing WRT CAS? As of now, I think the AF is doing all the right things. The main problem in my view is that joint CAS doctrine is new and not yet fully implemented by either service and the two services don't do nearly enough training together pre-deployment, nor CAS training individually.

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No intent to imply that the CFACC would be doing their own thing in the sense you state; simply pointing out that some 'strategic' missions are of little or no consequence (that is fact and as an Intel guy I'm sure you've seen dry holes in the quest for info) and if the assets are committed to them and some distance away from a ground action, then said assets are of little use to the GFC.
It sounds like you're arguing that tactical needs should always take priority over operational and strategic needs because strategic needs are of "little or no consequence." On what basis do you make the claim that strategic missions are so inconsequential?

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You may assume the JFC has detailed ATO knowledge. I'd rather not.
The knowledge need not be detailed. The various missions are clearly spelled out and geographically annotated on a couple pages or a few powerpoint slides. Maps clearly show the what, where, when and why for each ATO cycle and are available to everyone. The CFLCC has a sizable liaison element within the CAOC as well.
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Old 03-24-2008   #31
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Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
Ken,
First of all, thanks for your extended replies...
Let me start by saying that contrary to the appearance on this thread, I'm not an AF basher. I totally agree with the need for more F22s and a full buy of F35s as well as several other programs, including a bigger buy of Reapers. I regularly knock all the services here for one thing or another. All are necessary, all generally do a good job and all are filled with great people. Unfortunately, none of them are flawless and most of their problems, IMO, can be traced to excessive emphasis on protecting the institution by the folks at the top; parochial protection to the extent of damaging each other. That said...
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First is control as in who "controls" the specific air asset...
I meant control as in 'own.' I don't object to control as in operational control; that makes sense. I do object to parochial attempts by any service to claim sole ownership of a technology or type of weapon. I routinely fault all four services here and elsewhere for undue parochialism and turf protection; the Army and Marines are as bad as the other two.

I'm familiar with how the CAS system works, that has not changed too much since I retired and I try to stay abreast of what's going on.
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... Alert CAS, by contrast, is available for contingencies. Once tasked, that asset is controlled by the ground element. And this isn't just for USAF aircraft, but every aircraft under CFACC authority including our coalition partners, the Navy and the Marines.
All true, all sensible to a great extent and all bearable. My only point on the topic is the 'once tasked' portion; I've seen too many cases of non-release 'just in case.' My son tells me this is rarely a problem nowadays and that's good.
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...As of now, I think the AF is doing all the right things...
I totally agree. As of now. We both know that five years ago that was not the case, ten years ago the AF was trying to shed A-10s and ignore the mission. My fear is that post Iraq it will again fall off the screen. Perhaps not; we'll see.
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...The main problem in my view is that joint CAS doctrine is new and not yet fully implemented by either service and the two services don't do nearly enough training together pre-deployment, nor CAS training individually.
Agreed but in defense of both, they're sort of busy...
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It sounds like you're arguing that tactical needs should always take priority over operational and strategic needs because strategic needs are of "little or no consequence." On what basis do you make the claim that strategic missions are so inconsequential?
No, only over inconsequential strategic missions. Most are not inconsequential but some are and we both know that. There's also the matter of assigning priorities; some people get automatic priority simply because of who they are, not what's needed. Some missions get priorities on the whim of the requestor who just happens to have -- or be accorded -- priority. That's sometimes justified, sometimes not. I'm not advocating priority always to troops in contact or even to any specific mission set, merely saying that the process is, as you said, still being refined and if it tilts at all, it should in this kind of operation (Afghanistan and Iraq) tilt toward the ground tactical and away from the 'strategic.' Other wars and types of operation may -- will -- require different parameters.

Once again, you seem to have far more faith in the upper echelons (Purple, that...) to do the right thing than I do.
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The knowledge need not be detailed. The various missions are clearly spelled out and geographically annotated on a couple pages or a few powerpoint slides. Maps clearly show the what, where, when and why for each ATO cycle and are available to everyone. The CFLCC has a sizable liaison element within the CAOC as well.
I know. We'll have to continue to disagree on the total desirability of the current process in that regard, I'm still skeptical. Possibly fortunately, that makes little difference, take some pleasure in the fact that your version is in charge and will likely remain so...

Then figure how well it will work out in a major and fluid conventional war...
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Old 03-24-2008   #32
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Let me start by saying that contrary to the appearance on this thread, I'm not an AF basher.
Well, I could tell that almost right away! The AF bashers tend not to be shy and make their views apparent rather quickly!

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IMO, can be traced to excessive emphasis on protecting the institution by the folks at the top; parochial protection to the extent of damaging each other.
No disagreement there. I would go further and suggest the AF is probably the worst, or at least the most defensive. I think this guy gets it about right.

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I meant control as in 'own.' I don't object to control as in operational control; that makes sense. I do object to parochial attempts by any service to claim sole ownership of a technology or type of weapon. I routinely fault all four services here and elsewhere for undue parochialism and turf protection; the Army and Marines are as bad as the other two.
By "own" I'll assume you mean who gets to spend the O&M money and what uniforms the operators wear. As I alluded to upthread, that's one form of control, but development and procurement is another form. So while I might be convinced the Army needs it's own fixed-wing CAS aircraft, I also think the AF will need a significant say in the development of said aircraft and should probably be the program manager. Why? Well, first one has to ensure interoperability because no weapons system is an island. Secondly, the Army (and the Marines, for that matter) don't have much experience in FW aircraft development. One would not expect the Air Force, for example, to have much success in managing the development of an armored vehicle or air defense missile and the same is true in reverse with aircraft.

There are other options as well. For example, Air Force CSAR aircraft (and their crews) have been given to the CFLCC as medevac birds. While these units are Air Force in every way, they are completely outside the control of the CFACC. The CFACC still has its own CSAR aircraft on alert and has and does allow them to be used for medevac missions if the CFLCC needs additional assistance. The system works really well, actually, because the CSAR aircraft have a lot more capability than the medevac aircraft which provides the CFLCC with better medevac overall. The downside, of course, is that USAF CSAR assets are being used much more than originally intended, but that is the case with almost everything in the military these days.

So I see no reason why arrangements cannot be made to place certain capabilities directly under the Commander who needs them regardless of which service "owns" the assets.

Another example is special operations which is it's own co-equal component next to the CFLCC, CFNCC, and CFACC. While they get priority for their missions on the use of AC-130's for example (which is an AFSOC asset), AC-130's actually spend most of their time supporting the regular forces with CAS.

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All true, all sensible to a great extent and all bearable. My only point on the topic is the 'once tasked' portion; I've seen too many cases of non-release 'just in case.' My son tells me this is rarely a problem nowadays and that's good.
Your son's experience is pretty much what I remember from a couple of years ago. IIRC, when retasking took place it was only when the ASOC asked for it.

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I totally agree. As of now. We both know that five years ago that was not the case, ten years ago the AF was trying to shed A-10s and ignore the mission. My fear is that post Iraq it will again fall off the screen. Perhaps not; we'll see.
That is certainly the big fear and one that I share.

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There's also the matter of assigning priorities; some people get automatic priority simply because of who they are, not what's needed. Some missions get priorities on the whim of the requestor who just happens to have -- or be accorded -- priority....Once again, you seem to have far more faith in the upper echelons (Purple, that...) to do the right thing than I do.
Maybe so, but in my experience the senior purple leadership has done pretty well. Obviously leadership plays an important role here and who is picked as the JFC is critically important.

On priorities, how assets are divided will always be a source of contention since everyone's priority list is different. Your point about people getting priority because of who they are and not what's needed might be a perceptual one. However, it also works both ways. Assets held at upper echelons and prioritized there indeed may not be divided as they should - but pushing the assets down echelon creates problems of its own and can also result in people getting assets because of who they are, not what they need.

Let's look at a hypothetical. Suppose the theater commander has 20 predators available. He could take everyone's priority list, put them together and divide up the assets. Or he could parcel them out, giving the land component 14, and each of the other components 2 and let them fill their individual priorities. ISTM there are advantage and disadvantages to either method depending on the situation.

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Then figure how well it will work out in a major and fluid conventional war...
True dat!
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Old 03-24-2008   #33
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Default Thnaks for the response.

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...
No disagreement there. I would go further and suggest the AF is probably the worst, or at least the most defensive. I think this guy gets it about right.
Agreed; that's a good paper and he accurately assesses the Army's problems in integrating CAS. My perception is that is due to a cultural bias and to the fact that it is so expensive to actually train with real birds in peacetime that it gets sluffed. I'd also suggest that the experience of some in the Army with spotty CAS availability causes the Army to often place the integration of air fires in the nice to have category and thus to skimp on the planning. I believe that is changing. My hope is that we will not once again slide into structural decay and non use...
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By "own" I'll assume you mean who gets to spend the O&M money and what uniforms the operators wear...
True.
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...As I alluded to upthread, that's one form of control, but development and procurement is another form. So while I might be convinced the Army needs it's own fixed-wing CAS aircraft, I also think the AF will need a significant say in the development of said aircraft and should probably be the program manager. Why? Well, first one has to ensure interoperability because no weapons system is an island. Secondly, the Army (and the Marines, for that matter) don't have much experience in FW aircraft development. One would not expect the Air Force, for example, to have much success in managing the development of an armored vehicle or air defense missile and the same is true in reverse with aircraft.
In principle, I agree (other than saying you're wrong on the Marines capability and knowledge). In practice, I distrust the parochialism of all the services to do that fairly and well. People are by nature selfish, prone to biases and defensive. The procurement system needs to be designed to negate those traits and force a fair and reasonable series of designs and purchases.

Add to that the fact that your version will inevitably lead to excessive compromises and my service supreme version will lead to parochial standards that are whimsy and we're confronted with the fact that procurement is tough. Still, on balance, I very strongly believe that cooperation (even if forced -- and it will probably have to be ) is vastly preferable to consolidation. DoD's single manager process for procurement is not an unalloyed success...
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So I see no reason why arrangements cannot be made to place certain capabilities directly under the Commander who needs them regardless of which service "owns" the assets.
Again I agree in principle; in practice, my observation has long been that everyone doesn't play fair; simple as that. It has to be forced.
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Another example is special operations which is it's own co-equal component next to the CFLCC, CFNCC, and CFACC. While they get priority for their missions on the use of AC-130's for example (which is an AFSOC asset), AC-130's actually spend most of their time supporting the regular forces with CAS.
True but if the bird is supporting the 82d and it gets a call from the 3d SFG it may very well divert. -- that irrelevant of the on the ground reality.
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That is certainly the big fear and one that I share.
We can both hope not; surely we're smart enough to not have to bury the wheel so it can be reinvented at great cost later by another generation (he said, tentatively...)
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Maybe so, but in my experience the senior purple leadership has done pretty well. Obviously leadership plays an important role here and who is picked as the JFC is critically important.
Yes -- and the system doesn't do that well. It rewards the next in line, not the best qualified. Don't get me started on DOPMA
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On priorities, how assets are divided will always be a source of contention since everyone's priority list is different. Your point about people getting priority because of who they are and not what's needed might be a perceptual one. However, it also works both ways. Assets held at upper echelons and prioritized there indeed may not be divided as they should - but pushing the assets down echelon creates problems of its own and can also result in people getting assets because of who they are, not what they need.
It's situation dependent. Yes, pushing them down does create problems but all that just reinforces the fact that people are the problem. If the right people are in charge, there are few problems in allocation; let one biased or incompetent slip in the wrong job and the processes get skewed. Designing a system that mitigates that to the maximum possible extent (it cannot be totally eliminated) is important.
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Let's look at a hypothetical. Suppose the theater commander has 20 predators available. He could take everyone's priority list, put them together and divide up the assets. Or he could parcel them out, giving the land component 14, and each of the other components 2 and let them fill their individual priorities. ISTM there are advantage and disadvantages to either method depending on the situation.
True -- METT-T ALWAYS has to be applied. To everything...

That, really is all I'm suggesting. My perception is that is not done as often as it could be and human nature is a significant part of the prob. But then, I'm old and cynical...
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Old 03-24-2008   #34
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In principle, I agree (other than saying you're wrong on the Marines capability and knowledge)
AFAIK, the Marines had little input into the fixed-wing aircraft they currently use. Harriers were purchased because that was the only VTOL option and they got the F/A-18 because that's what the Navy bought.

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Add to that the fact that your version will inevitably lead to excessive compromises and my service supreme version will lead to parochial standards that are whimsy and we're confronted with the fact that procurement is tough.
True, but I think it's clear the military as a whole has adopted the compromise approach. You see it in the desire to procure "multi-role" equipment beginning in the late 1980s instead of replacing dedicated equipment. There are very few one-trick ponies left in the military - even a fighter like the F-22 has ground-attack mission it will perform in future conflicts. The Army seems to be embracing this as well with FCS.

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Still, on balance, I very strongly believe that cooperation (even if forced -- and it will probably have to be ) is vastly preferable to consolidation. DoD's single manager process for procurement is not an unalloyed success...
One might argue that consolidation is a form of forced cooperation. I prefer cooperation as well but until and unless we have a truly joint force one of the services will still be the alpha dog on any project. This actually brings me back full-circle to DARO. This was a joint agency which was intended to be a kind of National Reconnaissance Office for airborne reconnaissance. The Army opposed DARO from the outset, refusing even to man its allocated billets. The other services weren't crazy about the loss of control either and they eventually helped the Army kill it. Ironically, the Army's attitude toward DARO is a big reason its UAV program is playing catch-up - predator might even have been given to the Army if it had embraced the organization - who knows? And I'm dubious of the NRO model anyway - the agency was fantastic in its early years but overtime its become just another Washington bureaucratic organization whose primary interest is the defense, expansion and justification of its budget - all else is secondary. Anyway, add politics and Congress into the mix and ISTM we'll be stuck with our imperfect system for a long time unfortunately.

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Designing a system that mitigates that to the maximum possible extent (it cannot be totally eliminated) is important.
Agreed. Flexibility is important too, imo. A system that works great for one type of conflict will not work for another.

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True -- METT-T ALWAYS has to be applied.
Yep. Ironically, I didn't learn about METT-T until I joined the Air Force! (I spent the first part of my career in the Navy) I also never spent a day in a fighter unit in the AF, but my Navy experience was supporting tacair, so my perspective on the AF is probably not typical.
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Old 03-24-2008   #35
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Default The Marines are deep...

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AFAIK, the Marines had little input into the fixed-wing aircraft they currently use. Harriers were purchased because that was the only VTOL option and they got the F/A-18 because that's what the Navy bought.
The Marines and the Navy conspire on specs and performance. Not to make an issue of a non-issue but both the Marines and the Army do in fact have fixed wing experience over more years than the AF is old. Not as much, obviously and not big thing, IMO.
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True, but I think it's clear the military as a whole has adopted the compromise approach...
True, sensible and not a problem -- actually a plus. So long as someone doesn't try to skew the system.
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One might argue that consolidation is a form of forced cooperation. I prefer cooperation as well but until and unless we have a truly joint force one of the services will still be the alpha dog on any project.
True and it is -- just doesn't need to get out of hand. Long as the rest of the pack keeps the alpha dog honest, life is good.
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Agreed. Flexibility is important too, imo. A system that works great for one type of conflict will not work for another.
True.
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Yep. Ironically, I didn't learn about METT-T until I joined the Air Force! (I spent the first part of my career in the Navy) I also never spent a day in a fighter unit in the AF, but my Navy experience was supporting tacair, so my perspective on the AF is probably not typical.
Ecumenism is good, parochialism is bad. I read that somewhere...
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Old 03-25-2008   #36
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I fear we are fast running out of things to disagree on, which is a sure sign of a dying thread!

So returning a bit to the article that generated this thread, I'll merely suggest that the Air Force will need to make flying UAV's "coequal" with flying manned aircraft. With the huge and rapid increases in the predator fleet, relying on what amounts to a temporary duty assignment - one that is negatively viewed within the pilot community - is unsustainable. I don't have much faith that the needed changes will come quickly but sooner or later the USAF will have to change.
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Old 03-25-2008   #37
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And finally, here's another view that's touches on most of what we've discussed here and whose recommendations are similar to mine.
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Old 03-25-2008   #38
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Default Got sidetracked yesterday.

Thanks for the link and the exchange. Always good to learn someting...
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Old 03-26-2008   #39
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Question Is it just me or

Does the issue with not being to get enough pilots for DRONES seem somewhat unusual considering that there are how many restrictions andrequiremets to be a actual physically flying pilot which would not necessarily be the case for a remote flier.

- Eyesight not nearly as bad your sitting in a chair so not nearly as likely to lose your glasses from a tight turn etc.

- Physical condition not necessarily requirement for full mobility in comparison to physical fliers

- Age: old enough to know what to do, young enough to do it

- Two full generations of seriously over gamed gamers needing a purpose and direction in their lives.

- the only limitations to how hard ad fast to fly is the equipments physical restraints and the drivers mental capacities to do so

ETC.

Not everything can be handled by remote but when it can and if it can be done with a group outside the normal demographic why the heck not
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Old 03-26-2008   #40
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Hi Ron here is a link to Strategy page that talks about that very issue, along with the fact that 2/3 of the Army's request for Predator support goes un filled by the Air Force.


http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htl.../20080323.aspx
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