Ground-Centric Shortsightedness

In the opinion of several retired Air Force generals, the decisions announced April 6 by Defense Secretary Robert Gates do not bode well for the future of airpower. Indeed, Gates’ moves, including capping F-22 production at 187, appear aimed at transforming the Air Force into a supporting service, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, former USAF assistant vice chief of staff, told, the media outlet reported April 7. McInerney said he is “appalled” by Gates’ decisions because he sees the DOD leadership pushing a strategy too narrowly focused on ground-centric, irregular warfare operations and forces. And, Retired Brig. Gen. Jim Cash, a former vice commander of 7th Air Force, told Human Events that he sees “some shortsightedness” in Gates’ approach since the latter doesn’t seem to realize that “the major long term threat to this country may well come from Russia and China,” and that to counter this, maintenance of s strong deterrent capability, like the F-22, is necessary.