The Conflicting Problems of China and Terrorism

The potential future threat posed by China and the existing war against Islamic extremist terror present very different airpower problems, said Air Force Col. Tom Ehrhard, at an American Enterprise Institute forum. Unfortunately, he said, the Air Force has met neither challenge adequately. The Air Force must adopt a “split personality” to meet the different needs. Ehrhard, who serves as the military assistant in Andrew Marshall’s Net Assessment Office at the Pentagon, believes in the case of China USAF faces an access challenge that requires a wide range of cooperative security arrangements. However, he believes for the Global War on Terror, the primary challenge is to develop “manhunting” persistent tracking and strike, and long-endurance intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance platforms. Ehrhard says this area suffered from “endemic neglect” in the past, and today’s efforts are still too reconnaissance-centric.