Air Combat Command boss Gen. Michael Hostage repeatedly expressed frustration with the paralysis of post-sequestration force planning during an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast event in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday. “Politics is not letting us make the hard decisions,” Hostage said, specifically mentioning the debate surrounding the retirement of the A-10 fleet and the U-2 high altitude spy plane. The combat air force is stretched thin, and that’s affecting the nation’s strategic reserve. Although Hostage said he is focused on multi-mission aircraft versus single-mission aircraft, he would like to keep about 250 A-10s. However, he acknowledged USAF just doesn’t have the funds. There are 334 Warthogs in the active inventory. Hostage also said that single mission, fourth generation assets would have a hard time in an environment like Syria. He said he would hesitate sending A-10s into a Syrian campaign unless they were preceded by several weeks of counter-air defense strikes. (See also The A-10 and a Rescue Helicopter from the July edition of Air Force Magazine.)
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.