23 August 2005


Once upon a time, I was a blue-suiter. However, that was already starting a redshift by the time I entered active duty, and I spent time in joint and cross-attachment assignments. By the time I was a mid-level captain, my uniform was still blue… but it had a purple lining. (Note: If you're not military, this translates to "I didn't like interservice rivalries"—a "purple suit" is an officer in a joint assignment that requires loyalty to a particular mission instead of to a particular service.)1 Thus, I'm more than willing to criticize the foibles of my service—like the F–22/JSF/alternatives controversy. Sadly, this kind of competition at the public trough just proves that Eisenhower was right:

"We understand the budgetary challenges that face the country, and we have confidence the process will be thorough and fair," Lockheed Martin spokesman Tom Jurkowsky said. Cuts to the F/A–22 and other aerial platforms "clearly have a huge impact on the nation's defense industrial base," Jurkowsky said. The Raptor cuts, as well as the cancellation of Lockheed's C–130J medium-size airlift program, could result in thousands of jobs lost at the company's Marietta, Ga., facility alone, he added. Lockheed facilities in Pennsylvania, Florida and elsewhere could also be affected.

(fake paragraphing removed for clarity) Of course, this is just the outsider's view. Unfortunately, it appears to be shared inside the Air Force, too:

And how does the Air Force plan to provide "global mobility, persistent surveillance and precision strike?" Through a short range fighter with the ability to carry two 1,000 pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions that was originally designed for air-to-air combat with the Soviets of course.… All services are guilty of letting the platform define the mission rather than vice versa; this is simply the most spectacular example (and no doubt a sign of real concern by the Air Force). You can expect a lot more of this tortured logic as the Quadrennial Defense Review process gets down to the short strokes.

Jonathan Caverley, "The Air Force Doth Protest Too Much," Intel Dump (23 August 2005) (internal quotation omitted).

You other-service pukes can stop smiling. Army guys, who has the fourth-largest air force in the world (hint: it's you), approximately 30% of which directly overlaps missions committed by law to the Air Force? Navy guys, I have only three words for you: Ballistic Missile Submarine. Marines, you've let your procurement decisions be dictated by the Navy for so long that I don't know what to say—why else would you have the utterly mission-inappropriate F/A–18?

  1. I'd make a smartass remark about Purple, but somebody at a certain complex near DC might think I was serious. Of course, if you actually understand this note, you probably work(ed) there…