Is the US Air Force “Geriatric?”
The Associated Press penned a piece saying the US Air Force has been saddled by an aging fleet of aircraft thanks to “past inattention” and a “lack of urgency.”
For decades, the U.S. Air Force has grown accustomed to such superlatives as unrivaled and unbeatable. These days, some of its key combat aircraft are being described with terms like geriatric, or decrepit.
The article then details some of the aircraft the Air Force is flying, including the KC-135, B-52, and U-2 (1950s), and F-15, F-16, and A-10 (1970s). Modern era aircraft have been saddled by low quantities (B-2 and F-22), which has a tendency to inflate their unit cost.
One analyst is quoted as noting it is not the Air Force’s fault — it’s the fault of government “policymakers:”
“The reason the fleet is so decrepit is because for the first 10 years after the Cold War ended, policymakers thought the United States was in an era of extended peace,” he said. “Then it spent the next 10 years fighting an enemy with no air force and no air defenses. So air power was neglected for 20 years, and today the Air Force reflects that fact.”
There may be some validity to that sentiment. While the military as a whole makes its needs known, the policymaking portion of the government ultimately determines in what direction the military goes — and with what budget.