Randy Haskin wrote:
While there are certainly aspects of the AF that aren't as healthy as they should/could be, when you look at this branch of the military on the macro level, the fact is that it is *not* "broken".
The AF is not any better or worse off than any other branch of the US military. More importantly, as an overall fighting force compared to its peers in the world, it is undeniably *as* capable as every one on the planet.
If the balloon goes up, they'll perform their mission well, and that is the bottom line for the American taxpayer.
I agree wholeheartedly. However, one of the things that I have come to believe in my recent study of this subject is that the U.S. (service wide) program procurement process is more detrimental to the Air Force and Navy than perhaps the other services. Because the programs (planes ships, whatever) are so much more costly, the political/career ramifications are so great that decisions are made to engage in programs with the greatest WOW factor. Another book I have been reading about the utilization of stealth assets, suggests that the disproportionate cost of "pure stealth only" may be unjustifiable. That as assets become so costly and high tech, that there is a tendency not to deploy them in any scenario due to "career fear" and the question of the capture of such highly classified technology. A great deal of this stems from the F-117 shoot down in Kosovo. Certainly my post is far too simplistic of an explanation, but it is an interesting concept to contemplate.
In "What We Need" there is a description that I found thought provoking. The B2 weighs 150,000lbs with no ordnance, fly away cost was $2 Billion each. That's $870 an ounce acquisition cost. Gold was @ $400 an ounce when they were built.