Another round of budget cuts is being pushed forward by the Obama administration and there is a new push to drop the venerable A-10 Thunderbolt. The Air Force has being trying to get rid of the ugly, slow ground attack plane. However, up to now it has survived the fire partly because it is beloved by the Army and Marines who are the actual beneficiaries of the A-10s' effectiveness. it is not glamorous and sleek like the F-22 or B-2, but does anyone want to argue that those planes have played a more important role over the last ten years or are likely to in the next ten years?
It should not be a matter of choosing one over the other; the truth is we need F-22s, A-10s, B-2s, C-17s and C-130s as well as a host of helicopters and UAVs. The Air Force's historical and institutional prejudice toward strategic bombers and strike aircraft is both understandable and unacceptable giving the evidence of the last 50 years that the Air Force has been needed much more as a surveillance, cargo and ground attack component of the military than as either as a bomber force or in air to air combat.
All of the talk of jointness notwithstanding, too much separation been allowed between the Army and Air Force which probably started even before the two were formally separated in 1947. Politicians can pretend the GWOT is going away and that the horrific budget deficit can be balanced on the back of the Pentagon, but even a glance at the Federal budget should be enough to convince one that wiping out the Pentagon would not put much of a bite in the leviathan of debt medicare and the other unsustainable entitlements represent.