Between Proverbial Rock and a Hard Place

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz issued a joint statement last week, acknowledging that they had considered the views of Gen. John Corley, who leads Air Combat Command, on the F-22 risk factor (see above and here High Risk). The bottom line, as they have said before, is that other needs trumped continuing F-22 production beyond 187 aircraft when they had to work within a fixed budget. They said: “We assessed the F-22 by taking into account competing strategic priorities and complementary programs within the context of available resources. After carefully considering a full range of views and alternatives, including those expressed by General Corley, we recommended to Secretary Gates that other priority Air Force programs should not be reduced in order to fund additional F-22s beyond the program of record.” That, in our view, is an honest presentation of the situation and in no way denigrates Corley’s military expertise.