Scrap the Air Force

Finally, some public discussion of an idea that Bruno and I have been talking about for years – get rid of the U.S. Air Force.

… the Air Force should be eliminated, and its personnel and equipment integrated into the Army, Navy and Marine Corps …

At the moment, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are at war, but the Air Force is not. This is not the fault of the Air Force: it is simply not structured to be in the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Army, Marine and Navy personnel have borne the brunt of deployments, commonly serving multiple tours, the Air Force’s operational tempo remains comparatively comfortable. In 2007, only about 5 percent of the troops in Iraq were airmen.

Yes, air power is a critical component of America’s arsenal. But the Army, Navy and Marines already maintain air wings within their expeditionary units. The Air Force is increasingly a redundancy in structure and spending.

War is no longer made up of set-piece battles between huge armies confronting each other with tanks and airplanes. As we move toward a greater emphasis on rapid-response troops, the Army has tightened its physical fitness regime and the Marine Corps has introduced a physically grueling Combat Fitness Test for all members. Yet an Air Force study last year found that more than half of airmen and women were overweight and 12 percent were obese.

The Air Force is a Cold War legacy, the power-lust child of Curtis LeMay. It flies planes we don’t use, and is so poorly integrated with the rest of our military that it is a leading cause of friendly-fire casualties. It’s time to move forward with a more rational – and cost-effective – military that better serves the needs of the present century.