Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Under SECNAV Bob Work gets an A-

In response a solid post over at SmallWarsJournal by Robert Haddick, Under Secretary of the Navy - and reader of CDRSalamander - Robert Work responded in an exemplary manner in comments.
...The Marine Corps will continue to focus, as it has since the end of World War II, on sea-based forward engagement and crisis response, and supporting joint campaigns of both short and long duration. The primary adversaries in the future will be "hybrid" in nature, with access to the full range of guided weapons--referred to as G-RAMM, Guided Rockets, Artillery, Mortars, and Missiles.

There is widespread agreement that there may be times in the future where access may be hard to come by, and we may have to fight to get it. This comes out strongly in Secretary Gates’ call to improve our ability to defeat anti-access/area denial threats.

In light of these circumstances, Secretary Gates has asked whether or not we should retain an amphibious assault capability--the ability to inject intact, ready-to-fight combat forces ashore from the sea--and if so, for what mission and how much capacity. We have been studying this question for the past year. We will be arguing our case this Fall.

We believe, and will argue, that the joint force should retain a modest amphibious assault capability, focused on the theater entry mission. As Phil Ridderhof explains, the USMC's WWII experience was conducting seizures of defended islands for the purpose of seizing an advanced naval base. We believe that a future amphibious assault, if conducted, would look more like US Army theater entry missions conducted in the ETO, which are designed to facilitate a follow-on joint land campaign. Since these types of missions will be relatively low probability, we think the ability to land 2 MEBs is the minimum capacity necessary, provided there is a rapid reinforcement capability. The inclusion of Army Airborne, MPF squadrons with new Mobile Landing Platforms, and JLOTS capabilities in our thinking will therefore be critical. And any theater entry will be a joint endeavor, relying on Air Force space and air support.

In an anti-access environment where the enemy has a capable battle network capable of firing salvos of guided weapons, the initial phase of any theater entry operation will require achieving air, sea, undersea, and overall battle network superiority. This will mean this type of operation will be deliberate and take some time to develop. This does not mean "damn the G-RAMM, full speed ahead." It means, "take your time, roll the G-RAMM threat back, and then land at a time and place of your own choosing." No 10-day landings in this environment.

Once ashore, the primary threat to the lodgment will come from G-RAMM "counter-attacks" and hybrid warriors who most likely will hide amongst the people. This will require the Marines to concentrate on establishing an inner G-RAMM perimeter designed to keep guided rockets, mortars, and artillery suppressed/out of range. The joint force, especially the defending Navy battle network, will concentrate on defeating the longer range-G-RAMM threat.

Let's posit that if we needed to, and we dedicated the assets to do so, we might be able to inject 2 ready-to-fight airborne BCTs into a joint lodgment over a 2-3 day period. We are recommending we retain a capability to inject just 2 MEBs. In other words, we are recommending we retain the ability to inject just four ready-to-fight BCTS out of a planned force of 86 BCTs equivalents (73 Army BCTs, 12 Marine RCTs, 1 Ranger Regt). The remaining 82 would have to be assembled in theater, once their equipment (generally delivered by sea) and people (generally delivered by air) arrive. Improving the rapid reinforcement/rapid assembly capability will obviously be critical.

We don't think this is a big force, and are not recommending a major increase in amphibious landing forces. However, we think retaining the capability to conduct a modest theater entry mission supported by sea-based forces is critical. We hope OSD and the Joint Staff will agree.

Best, Bob Work
I could nit-pic, but I won't. That is a solid concept to work with. He would have received an A+ if he hadn't used the phrase "hybrid warriors."

If he wasn't nice to me he would have been knocked down a full letter grade ... but today I am feeling happy with life and will be petty and play favorites.


Salty Gator said...

From reading his work back when he was at "center", I knew that Work was a well thought-out man; however, I was scared about some of his thinking.  Now, having watched the man really grow into his office, I am feeling a lot more confident about our UNDERSECNAV.  I think that it is a good thing we have him there holding down the shop and doing the heavy lifting.  I'd feel even better if we had Webb as SECNAV actual, but in this administration I'm just happy to have Work.

Would I prefer that he said MEB 3.0?  Yes.  Is that a pipe dream?  Equally yes.  But in response to SAP and Air Force Mike's comments in the JSF thread, you can see that <span>we are IN FACT evolving Amphibious Warfare to address current threats / operational environments.</span>

URR was right, surprise...

Southern Air Pirate said...


I am glad that we are evolving the doctrine to reflect changing times. I only played the devil's advocate with URR and you simply cause I wanted to hear something other then the propganda points and talking points, that seems to have been standard with some of the pundits. I took a large amount of what you all commented on in and am digesting it. I am sorry if I annoyed you, but I totally believe in the need for forceable entry and for the USMC, along with amphib lift.

xbradtc said...

<span>The inclusion of Army Airborne, MPF squadrons with new Mobile Landing Platforms, and JLOTS capabilities in our thinking will therefore be critical. And any theater entry will be a joint endeavor, relying on Air Force space and air support.</span>

As I've argued here before, the Marines decision to seek the F-35B is stupid. I'm NOT arguing that the Marines don't need fixed-wing CAS. They do. They are too light to fight a mid intensity conflict without it. But there are virtually NO scenarios where the Marines will be forced to rely solely on the ACE based on the big deck amphibs. If it is worth fighting for, it's worth fighting with a CSG and other service support, such as AF and Army forces. 

Given that, do they really need a $140mm dollar jet? They would be far better served with a modern-day equivalent to the A-4 Skyhawk. Cheap, light, easy to support, and if you lose a couple, no big deal. 

If the threat is too high to operate my notional 21st century Skyhawk, it is too high to land the Marines. 

As an added benefit, if you have a CAS jet that CAN'T go downtown, the Air Force will spend less time and effort trying to own the Marines sorties.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

O, but to have an airframe that carried the ordnance of an A-6 or even an A-4.  But not sure that the survivability of an airframe determines the suitability of an AOA. 

The MPF, JLOTS, and ABN already DO play a big part in our power projection.  They are the follow-on forces ashore.  Without them, all you have is two-plus divisions of ruggedly handsome sea soldiers.  Downright sexy as we are, that ain't enough for theater entry.

xbradtc said...

I'm certainly not arguing for abandoning the forcible entry option. I think we need it. And I think Mr. Work's model of a theater lodgement is probably the wave of the future. 

My point is, if there is a scenario where the Marines need to do a forcible entry, they won't do it in isolation  from the other services. To attempt to do so would be foolish. 

I'm not about to knock the fine work the Marines have done in Iraq and Afghanistan, either, but Sec. Gates has a very valid point that having them doing essentially the same tasks as the Army is foolish. Some level of involvement, if only to 'blood' the force is fine, but why wear the edge off a strategic force with continuous deployments to a theater that doesn't need their specialized skills?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Methinks we are wearing the edge off of everyone because we cut our Armed Forces far too small in the 1990s "peace dividend" under those two mighty warriors, Bill Clinton and Les Aspin.  

Had we kept the force structure recommended by GHWB and Colin Powell in 1992, we wouldn't be robbing Peter to pay Paul with our military assets.

But hey.  We did get to cut half the Navy.  570 to 285.

ewok40k said...

nice to see a logical, serious approach from the top - by comparison our porch is hotbed of hotheads :P

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Who, us?

Southern Air Pirate said...

Hotheads? Nah! Just like spirited debate and like to hear something other then "cause I said so" or words to similar meaning. Good to hear too that the civilian bosses are behind the folks at places like the five sided wind tunnel and 8th&I coming up with the answers.

USAF Mike said...

Point out where in the last thread I said that I didn't think the Marines needed to have amphibious capability.  To do that is as retarded as saying the Air Force should give up air superiority as a mission; amphibious ops is a core competency for you guys.

What I said was, like Brad said, that the STOVL F-35B is an overweight (that's the kiss of death for a STOVL aircraft) failure, dragging down the already teetering JSF program.  Like Brad said, it'll be a cold day in hell before an ESG attempts a forcible landing (emphasis on the ESG conducting humanitarian operations or coming ashore against no resistance doesn't count here) without support from the Navy and Air Force.  Hell, Bob Work said as much: "And any theater entry will be a joint deveavor, relying on Air Force space and air support."<span></span>

If you've got Air Force air support, and you are in an era of limited budgets, why do you need a STOVL stealth fighter to operate off of the amphibs to perform CAS and maybe (emphasis on the maybe) point air defense?  It's an unnecessary expense that could be better spent elsewhere.  Does the Marine Corps need fixed wing capability for CAS?  Absolutely.  Super Hornets would more than fit the bill, and like I said before, they offer two seat capability to boot, which is something I know you guys like.

USAF Mike said...

Meant to highlight this in the last thread, because it's often forgotten when discussing budget and "worn out force" issues, but this seems like as good a place as any to drop it...the Air Force has been at war for 2 decades.  Ever since Desert Shield started back in 1990, there have been Air Force aircraft flying no shit carrying live munitions might get shot at combat missions every single day.  Every.  Single.  Day.  For two decades.  Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Deny Flight, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom...not to mention everyday "normal" missions like air sovereignty/homeland defense and airlift support to various DoD organizations.

You couple that ops tempo with the fact that we got royally hosed with the peace dividend...our fighter, bomber, tanker, and airlift forces were all up for replacement (or at least a complimentary aircraft to allow us to lessen the wear and tear on our current ones) in the '90s.  Of those, we got airlift, with the C-17.  The B-2 was not bought in near the quantities that we wanted, we didn't get near as many Raptors as we wanted (jury is still out on the JSF, but I'll be extremely surprised if we get anything close to what we're projecting now), and I think you know what's going on with KC-X.

I'm not trying to state that we should've gotten all of those things, or that some of the problems aren't of our own making (KC-X, anyone?), or that the other services don't face pressing issues.  But a lot of the time, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that the Army and Marine Corps have been fighting for 9 years and because of that they need to jump to the head of the procurement money line...this point of view is nowhere close to the truth.  We are literally, not figuratively, flying the wings off of some of our aircraft...and figuratively flying the wings off of the rest.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

USAF Mike,

I don't want to use the USAF for FWCAS.  I want you guys deep killing C2 and operational targets well outside the AOA.  Where I set my OWN FSCL, by the way.  (Which is why we want an AOA.) 

I want Marine Air flying in close support of my Marines.  Why?  They're MARINES.  If you don't think that makes a difference, spend six months at Quantico learning to be an infantry officer (as Marine pilots do). 

We don't do deep targeting.  That is why we have you.  And don't want you doing targeting short of the FSCL.  That is why we have US.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

By the way, Super Hornets barely fit the bill.  I would be very happy if someone restarted production of the A-6 Intruder.  That thing carried more stuff than Carters' got liver pills.  Fire supporters like that. 

USAF Mike said...

No argument on the Intruder > Super Hornet thing...the Super Bug has some real issues (range/loiter time chief among them) but I was being realistic with my suggestions...if I wasn't, we'd have OV-10s and A-10s galore.

cdrsalamander said...

A-6F and F-14D were very modern and exceptional aircraft with legs to boot .... but that is an alternative universe.  We traded the A-6F for the A-12 that was killed and begat more F-18s .... and the F-14D was killed for the F-18E/F.

We have the Navy we have.

USAF Mike said...

You'll get no argument from me on the Marines flying CAS for Marines thing...provided there is enough going on in their AOR to make having the MAGTF to keep their air assets permanently (without any sort of interface with the CAOC) not a waste.  For example, the opening kinetic phases of OIF or an amphibious landing where the Marines are going to be the focal point of the entire operation.  My MAGTF/CAOC comment in the other thread was regarding the policy of holding on to air assets with a death grip even when you don't need the support right that second and others in the theater do, just because they're tied to that ground formation...the Army tried this in the early stages of the North Africa campaign in WWII and it failed miserably.

Regardless, none of this changes the fact that a STOVL stealth fighter is a useless capability and a waste of money.  Fixed wing fighters, absolutely.  Super STOVL do everything stealth fighter, not so much.

USAF Mike said...

I wonder what NAVAIR looks like in the alternate universe where your leadership went evolutionary instead of revolutionary in the early '90s and where the A-12 therefore never existed.  Something tells me it's a damn sight better than what things are now.

Of course, this would also be the same alternate universe where the AF can actually program manage, so we not only have had a brand new tanker for the better part of a decade but also have new manufacture F-15Es and Block 60 F-16s to backstop the Raptor instead of broken promises on the JSF and not much else.

Southern Air Pirate said...


Go and find a book called the "$5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy's A-12 Stealth Bomber Program." by James P. Stevenson. He use to be an UnderSecDef for acquistions during the Carter and early part of the Regan White Houses. Great book, he completely lays out the failings of NavAir acquistion program, how everyone is so secret squirrel in the five sided wind tunnel that people go around redesigning the wheel all the damn time (references how members of USAF stealth office wouldn't let GD/Northrup share materials and lessons learned with in thier office, so the A-12 guys had to relearn everything the B-2 guys learned only a couple of years before hand), and that various people who had thier careers on the line (both civil and Military) that there were law violations all over the place with in that program. Heck, I think it was only a couple of years ago the last court case was resolved for who had to pay the bill for failure to deliever on time.

Redeye80 said...

Your point is well made and accepted.  Part of the issue is the Air Force is very good at what they do. That is not an absolute statement, so don't get big headed on me.

The fact is the Air Force has done it's missions with little to no losses.  That is a good thing but gets lost on the general population because majority of the KIA in the mentioned conflicts are young soldiers and Marines.

Second, the recapitalization of the military shocks the populace.  Aircraft have become extremely complex and thus expensive.  So, people are asking the hard question, how does a multimillion dollar F-22 help the current fight and help the guys on the ground, find, fix and kill the bad guys.

You mention the F-15s falling apart.  Outside the military, I think you would not find many who knew about the problem or how pervasive it has become.

Redeye80 said...

Whoa, there bubba, update your history.  I wouldn't compare the failure of the Army Air Corps & the Brits to provide air support in North Africa to the recent success of Marine CAS over the past couple of recent conflicts.

In Redeye's opinion, the reason we hang on to our air is very simple.  We taken all those lessons learned from the past and applied them to perfect our trade.  More importantly, we use our aircraft to help shape the battlefield.  The AF doesn't do that.  Not for the Marines and certainly not for the Army.  Look at how the Army has developed weapons systems to fill in the gap where air power wouldn't show up.

USAF Mike said...

Thanks for the recommendation...I saw that a while back and was planning on picking it up, never got around to it.

And it was last year that the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of the government that they had terminated the contract properly and ordered General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas (now General Dynamics and Boeing) to pay the government $1.35 billion, as well as an additional $1.45 billion in interest.  The companies appealed (for the fourth time) and the Supreme Court will be determining this fall whether they will hear the case.

This is something that started in 1991 when the program was originally canceled.

Southern Air Pirate said...

If your going to do that, also pick up his earlier book "Pentagon Paradox" there he rips into both USAF and USN aircraft acqusitions over the F-16 and F-18s. Mainly using the F-18 to explain how a simple light weight, low cost, low tech fighter that was designed to supplement the more expensive and complex F-14/F-15 combos on the budget were perverted by members of the various fighter mafias(it needs to have a long range radar to shoot a Sparrow or fight in AW conditions) and members of the "If I don't have my fingers in this rice bowl then I am not worthy of being an a55hat leader." Finally he rips into the members of "It needs to be the Rolls Royce racing car coming off the starting line, but made up of Yugo components, that we will get around to fixing when you give us more $$$."

USAF Mike said...

Yup.  We've managed to work ourselves out of a job (when it comes to a core competencies like air superiority, high intensity strategic bombing and interdiction, etc...there's plenty of stuff we can improve on).  We're good at it and we've remained good at it even as our equipment has gotten older and we've been stressed as a force, to the point where when we say "okay, we seriously need new equpiment or there's going to be a reckoning in the future" no one believes us.  Of course, we haven't done ourselves any favors by publicly advocating for the F-22 without linking it to the requirements we've been given by our civilian superiors...saying that we need 281 F-22s because we've been tasked to maintain a capability to respond to x, y, and z is smart (I understand that this runs the risk of getting into classified OPLANs, but there are unclassified ways to do it); saying that we need 281 F-22s in order to fill out 10 AEFs (a concept half the people in the Air Force don't truly understand, much less the U.S. population at large) and leaving it at that (like the AF leadership did) is a recipe for getting shot down (as we were.) 

Combine all that with a few tone deaf remarks regarding the sacrifice of AF personnel to the ground pounders (we make sacrifices just like everyone else, but comparing 20 years of deployments to KIAs is...not going to go over well, to say the least), factor in our inability to program manage, add the ground centric headline grabbing wars we're involved in now, and you've got why AF officers are pretty much persona non grata in the Pentagon right now and why no one in the U.S. populace at large gives a rat's ass about the AF's situation.

Oh, and that F-15 falling apart?  That was on an air superiority fighter...not too involved in today's wars, yet grounding the whole fleet for a few weeks still caused a ridiculous amount of asspain to scramble to cover the air sovereignty mission.  Imagine that occurring with our 50 year old tankers...the impact to air ops would be catastrophic, we'd honestly probably have to continue flying them while the investigation took place and just hope it didn't happen again.

USAF Mike said...

While we're on the topic, fun fact...of the 6 military aircraft that have 50+ years of service with their original operator, 4 of those are USAF aircraft.  All four are still in service.

Redeye80 said...

I guess I have to check my history a bit.  I believe the USMC decison to seek the F-35 was made not because, the Corps wanted the F-35B, it was the only choice. 

The real issue is someone made the decision to buy a jet with common parts that would satisfy the majority of the three different services' requirements.  Smoke and mirrors. Didn't work with F-111s, didn't work with F-4s and I am pretty sure it's not going to work with the JSF.

Redeye80 said...

OK, I'll bite.  I know the B-52, please enlighten.

Southern Air Pirate said...

I think he is talking about the B-52, C-135 series (all based on the B707), U-2, C-130.

However if trying to compare USAF vs USN/USMC aviation then your trying to compare apples to oranges with regards to flying styles, operating enviroments, usage, etc.

Old NFO said...

I wonder what percentage of those long lived aircraft are land based and operate off of 12,000 foot runways?  Or have ejection seats and pull more than 3 G's?

Although I was in a different community I got to watch the F/A-18 debacle fairly close up.  My understanding is that it had components built in more congressional districts than any other aircraft in history.  Lots of O5's and O6's ended their careers by being honest about that POS.  I deployed on the Connie at the same time as the first ever deployment of the Hornet.  The word was out, no expense and no effort would be spared to make them look good.  Those of us on the airwing strike planning team were each privately informed that any derogatory comments about payload or range would be quickly and severely dealt with.  "Yessir, that's a mighty fine aircraft you have there."

USAF Mike said...

Ding ding, SAP gets it.  Although to be fair, they are indeed mostly low performance (bomb/gas/trash haulers), except for maybe the U-2...not sure if that's "low performance" but it definitely isn't a g-pullling fighter.  Also, only the BUFF and KC-135 are truly old airframes...the U-2s in service were delivered in the '70s-'80s, same for the majority of the C-130s in service (-H models); the Herk is actually still in production (another record) and the brand spanking new -J models are rolling off the production line.  However, in the case of the BUFF and KC-135...old is old.  They might not be pulling Gs, but we're burning up airframe life a lot quicker than we had originally anticipated, especially in the case of the KC-135 due to their heavy use the past 20 years.  We were originally anticipating to use them until 2040 or so (they'd be ~80 years old at that point), but this is currently in doubt...also, the older they get the more maintenance they require, of course, so more of our budget gets eaten up in O&M.  I have no doubt you guys are familiar with the same spiral.

And the F/A-18 had components built in more congressional districts than any other aircraft in history...until the F-22.  Although I'm pretty sure the F-35 is going to surpass it in terms of spread of the largesse.

You're correct in that the USMC chose the F-35B because it was the only choice, but it was the only choice because they insisted on STOVL.  Which is the whole crux of my argument.  STOVL is an unnecessary requirement that pinned them in to a costly joint fighter that won't be good at anything because it tries to be great at everything.  Additionally, the STOVL requirement has drug down the rest of the program, which was on shaky ground to begin with.  If they hadn't insisted on STOVL, a whole new world opens up (new manufacture Super Hornets, for one), just like if the JSF partner nations don't insist on stealth, a whole new world of Eurocanards and Block 60 F-16s opens up.

USAF Mike said...

Except the failure wasn't on the Army Air Corps or the RAF, it was on the policy of the overall commanders (ground guys) that parceled out airpower to individual ground formations and had them stay there, instead of roaming across the front where they were needed.  Incidentally, they recognized this as a failure back then and quickly changed their procedures.

Marine CAS has been quite successful in the past couple of conflicts...I have absolutely zero problem with how you guys run yourselves tactically; in fact, you all could probably teach us a thing or two (although I believe the A-10 drivers and F-16 Fast FAC guys would take issue with your implication that only the Marines take lessons learned from the past...those guys are pretty hardcore into their business.)  However, what I do have an issue with is the way you interface with everyone else...Marine CAS after the initial invasion was over and we were transitioning to an on demand TIC type CAS was great, but it was unnecessarily inefficient (excepting things like Fallujah where the intensity got ratcheted back up and there was more than enough missions to go around).  Tying fixed wing air assets to ground units is a poor way to run things...doing that negates one of the biggest advantages air power has, which is flexibility and the advantage of speed to be able to transition from one area of fighting on the ground to another, wherever it is needed.

Additionally, I don't understand your "shape the battlefield" comment.  How does the AF not do that?  That's pretty much the definition of what we do.  If we're talking deeper, behind the FEBA type stuff, interdiction is going to shape the battlefield in that his tanks not showing up to fight you because they're out of fuel because we blew up their fuel dump qualifies as "shaping."  If we're talking CAS, we're only as good as what the JTAC on the ground (and they're pretty damn good) tells us to's not like with CAS we roll in and go, well, looks like I'm going to hit there and there and call it a day.  We do what the JTAC tells us to do.  So I guess I don't really understand that comment.

Southern Air Pirate said...

On the NavAir side are are rough on our toys all the way around even on the supposedly "low G" manuverable items. I remember when the E-6A's were hitting the fleet we were ripping portions of (if not the whole) vert stab off while manuvering to get that 2nm LF wire out. I also remember hearing about us really wringing out an EB-47E that was assigned to FESWG (Fleet Electronic Support Wing Group, guys who simulate EW threats for FleetExs) in the early 80's managed to bend up a wing tip that even Boeing Seattle engineers did a "WTF?!?!" So it really isn't a fair comparision four of your platforms who are flown in an almost airliner series of ops in enviroments where corrosion is less, and at locations where hangar time and space can be monoplized, and tender loving care can be done by the maintainers.
As to the older more maintenace, oh I fully understand that one being in the EW community right now. Our detractors in the rest of the TacAir side constantly throw a 1 flight hr:24 Maintenance Man hour figure at us older Prowler guys and then compare it to the Grizzly which is right now at 1:6. Again totally apples to oranges.

ewok40k said...

one thing passed my mind - Harrier has been proven and is generally liked by the Marines AFAIK... why not start producing Harrier III with all the newest avionics and smart weapons? With good radar and AMRAAM it can hold ists own in BVR, and it is also very maneuvrable in close combat...
(braces for incoming salvo)

Salty Gator said...

no annoyance, the great conversation continues.
I'm glad that someone actually gives a $hit.  We have a lot of problems getting amphibious warfare out front despite the heaving lifting our expeditionary forces are doing.

Salty Gator said...

Mike:  how, other than STOVL, is a frickin airplane supposed to take off from the deck of a frickin LHD/LHA?

Salty Gator said...

reminds me of a Little Crappy Ship that can do no wrong.  For example:  LTjg ForgetMeNot put the ship into the C buoy transiting Norfolk and the official writeup had it as "wind pushed the ship into a buoy."  With a voyage management system, auto pilot, and joysticks...really?!  Really?!  Name me another ship that could get away with that...

Redeye80 said...

The fuel dump is a great example.  You say by destroying the dump the tanks won't show up.  Problem is the range of the tank with a full bag of gas can already effect the fight.  So, the real issue is destroying the tank.

In the OIF example, the Army placed FSCL very near thier forward boundry, where the USMC placed the FSCL closer to the Marines in contact.  Marines also placed a HIDACZ over thier AO to control how air was used.  This helped use all fires to shape the battlefield.  There are better examples here but I think we are getting close to protected information.

The Army relied on organic assets for shaping because they have learned that airpower was not responsive or not available.  So, they used MLRS and ATACMS.  As well are long range AH-64 attacks. 

So, there is a difference on how air is used to affect the fight.  An AF targeter may say if I hit this fule dump I prevent that fuel from being used by several vehicles.  So, it is more efficient to hit that target rather than targeting each individual vehicle.  However, the killing of each vehicle is the real intent.

Does this matter, it does when Marines moving to contact want those thing killed that can affect them immediately or within the next day.

Redeye80 said...

I sure it is fixed by now, but the loss of the ABCCC had significant impact to air ops.  I think initially there were some gaps that were not discovered until we get into the fight.  So, that change of mission responsiveness was not as much as people wanted.

Southern Air Pirate said...

I would have to dig it up Gator, but Mike mentions the OV-10 as a good airplane. I remember seeing and reading during the deployment to the Gulf in 1991, VMO-1 or VMO-2 acutally flew thier OV-10s off some of the LHA's with their OV-10's. They did it with JATO and a full deck roll off the deck, they did this to save time and effort of trying to tear the plane down for shipment in MAC flights or even in cargo ships. Doing it that way lead to bring the airplanes into action faster and with the early det already on the way there on either a KC-130 or an MAC flight, and the rest of the main maintenance personnel were onboard the ship so once they docked in Saudi Arabia they walked off over to the hangar space and in less then 48 hours were running hard and fast.

The USMC pushes for the STOVL concept because the idea of trying to get enough time to build a nice 8k runway and tarmac just isn't going to be there in some conflicts. So if they can get ahead with using just marston matting, some basic contruction equipment then you have a basic airfield ashore shore to support the drive to maybe the nice field that the Rangers or Airborne had siezed. So you can push off the carriers that much faster to do thier business of securing the seas so the follow on heavy forces can arrive without major losses due to an enemy fleet. Also if we have the USMC back out of the STOVL concept then we have screwed over our friends in the RAF and RN. Along with the RNoAF, IAF, JSDAF, Royal Dutch AF, Beligiums, etc. With the F-35 there are a slew others with Memos of Understand or helping to offset the tech development via payment as part of thier buy, if we back out then we have hosed those countries and the money they spent into for the defense.

Southern Air Pirate said...

Cool. It is hard to tell via comments/forums/debating on the internet the feelings behind the words. Doing it this way is worse then having a good converstation at the kitchen table over coffee or beer. Where even if I don't understand where your coming from at least we can agree the beer is cold and good tasting or the coffee is hot and good tasting.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>It is hard to tell via comments/forums/debating on the internet the feelings behind the words."</span>

Bitterness, mostly.  And anger.   Some sarcasm, and perhaps even a little humor. 

But mostly bitterness.

USAF Mike said...

My argument is that we don't need to be able to operate fixed wing off of a LHD/LHA.  Is it a nice capability to have?  Yes, just like a new CSAR helo would be a nice capability to have for the AF or some of the less essential stuff in FCS would be a nice capability to have for the Army.  But we're in an era of shrinking budgets, and it's too much of a duplication of other capabilities that will be present in an opposed landing situation (USN/USMC fixed wing support off of a carrier, AF support, etc.)

As for the marston matting/basic construction equipment option...who's providing the logistics support to this forward airbase to enable extended operations?  The JSF requires a lot (more than the Harrier, which was quite a bit).  Additionally, have we tested marston matting with the STOVL JSF?  Like I said in the other thread, the -B model is not plug and play with the Harrier...the -B has requirements for a much sturdier runway, among many other things.

But like SAP said, this is a purely academic discussion, because like it or not the JSF train is rolling onward and there's no way we'd back out on the -B model because like you said there are partners depending on that (although those partners are starting to see the man behind the curtain...I will be very surprised if the Dutch actually go through with their full purchase, the massive price increases have got them very skittish.)

USAF Mike said...

Got it.  Like I said above, I have absolutely no problem with the MAGTF holding on to its air assets when we're in a high intensity combat situation and AF air is going to more occupied with hitting targets deeper into enemy territory (like the kinetic opening stages of OIF).  That's the whole reason Marine Air exists in the first place, so you guys aren't absolutely dependent on us.  My issue is that after that's over, and we've moved into a less kinetic stage of operations, where air support mostly consists of flying ISR and providing CAS to a TIC situation, and you guys still refuse to give up your air to the me, that's a foul.  Just look at what we did in Iraq and do in Afghanistan regarding CAS...wherever the JTAC tells us he wants a bomb, that's where he's getting it.  It's hard to be more responsive than that.

USAF Mike said...

Already did it with Harrier II Plus...APG-65 radar, AMRAAM capability, and they're currently in the middle of an upgrade to enable it to carry 1760 bus weapons (i.e., JDAMs/WCMDs).

I think the issue is that with the Night Attack and the Plus models, they pretty much maxed out the capacity of the basic Harrier design.  There wasn't any real room or weight to squeeze in anything else.

ewok40k said...

And I'd like Polish AF added soon to the list - F-35 might not be superfighter they advertise it to be, but beats the old Mig-29/Su-22 and even newest F-16 we just bought.
And even head-on ony stealth is a very strong asset when used right. Modern MBTs use exteremely thick front  armor for a reason...

Salty Gator said...

570 that worked to 285 that don't.

I've heard admirals say that the real magic number is 240 ships that are CASREP free.

C-dore 14 said...

Salty, When I see a ship that's "CASREP free" my first thoughts are that either they're not reporting stuff or they're not looking hard enough.

xbradtc said...

USAF Mike and Redeye 80 are having a discussion below about "shaping the battlefield" via airpower. 

Redeye argues that the Army couldn't get AF to shape the battlefield and thus had to use organic fires from cannon, MLRS and Apache. 

He's got the argument backward. The Army has, organically, a MUCH larger amount of long range fires (compared to the Marines) and can effectively service targets much further out than the ground component of the Marines. 

It is because they can do this that they normally push the AF BAI effort further out from the troops. It is not an distrust or dissatisfaction with the Air Force. It is a conscious choice to capitalize on the inherent strengths of both the Army and the Air Force. That the Marines operate in a different matter doesn't mean they are wrong. It just means they are different, and are operating in a manner that maximizes their strengths. 

Redeye80 said...

I'll argue the reason they have those organic fires is based on the historical data and the potential threat faced by the Army.  It was a delebrate choice to buy those systems. Part of that decision was based on what systems were developed for the Air Force.

The A-10 got jammed down the Air Forces throat and they have been trying to 86 the system for years.  Why, because the AF doesn't think fielded military forces are worthy targets.  Leadership targets, electrical grids will stop the enemy war machine. think Warden and his five rings.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

USAF Mike,

I have seen what the USAF has done with CAS in Iraq, and at times it wasn't pretty.  (Three GBU-12s on three consecutive days failing to explode in southern Fallujah, then likely being scavenged and used against Marines on Route Michigan.)

We will support ourselves with Marine air and provide spare sorties to CFACC.  That way, we know we have it.  Is it a trust issue?  Yep.  You bet it is.

xbradtc said...

The REAL reason the Army has them and the Marines don't is - The Army doesn't have to cram all of its equipment into amphibs. They are the heavy force, because they can afford to be. They can afford to have two or three artillery brigades available at corps level to support the divisions. 

The Marines can't. Indeed, what assets do they have at the tactical corps level? None. 

Salty Gator said...

and when does all this Army goodness arrive on the field of battle?

oh yeah.  After the Marines have carved a beach head, have pushed the enemy back a few miles, and has established logistics bases for the Army to offload.

ewok40k said...

lets sum it up:
possible STOVL solutions -
F-35, as planned
costly, low payload, but capable fighter
upgraded Harrier
low speed, limit of modernisation achieved
OV-10 or comparable light turboprop attack
incapable of air superiority, good in CAS
possible non-STOVL solutions:
Hornet on carriers and fixed airfields
non-STOVL F-35, as above
can be not available when needed

the STOVL machines ae way to go in my book, because the best plane is the one you got on site, not the one that is 2k klicks away, because carriers have to be redirected/have been damaged/sunk and fixed airbases are damaged by say IRBMs...

my solution would be either Harrier force, or mix of air superiority F-35 with CAS light turboprops... maybe even turboprop A-1 resurrected?


Salty Gator said...

Sorry, I exaggerated.  I meant an M-1 ship.